Monday 01 August 2011

Frustrating farewell for Inui as Kashima ease the pressure

Takashi Inui scored a fine solo goal to open the scoring but was ultimately unable to prevent Cerezo Osaka going down 3-1 at home to Kashima Antlers on his final appearance before signing for 2. Bundesliga side VfL Bochum.

Kashima had been hammered 4-1 in their game in hand at home to Cerezo’s city rivals Gamba on Wednesday, and looked on course to be thrown into even deeper relegation danger when Inui burst through the defence to fire home from outside the area on 22 minutes.

But the hosts surrendered their advantage in bizarre fashion soon afterwards. Goalkeeper Kim Jin-Hyun calmly dropped the ball at his feet to prepare a clearance – entirely unaware that Antlers forward Yuzo Tashiro was waiting just behind him to steal in for a humiliating equaliser.

Tashiro struck again in first-half stoppage time when Kim Jin-Hyun hesitated to come for a high ball, leaving the 29-year-old with a simple headed finish.

Cerezo earned a golden chance to equalise in the second period when midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung – who has been linked with Stoke City – was pulled down in the penalty area by Toru Araiba. Despite the angry claims of Inui, the Korean stepped up himself but could only hit a tame shot into the grateful arms of Hitoshi Sogahata.

A nightmare evening for the Kims was completed in the final seconds, as Mitsuo Ogasawara spotted Jin-Hyun well off his line and calmly scored Kashima’s third from just inside the centre circle.

The result takes Oswaldo de Oliveira’s side up to 12th on goal difference, with Cerezo a point worse off but now just one place above the drop zone after Vissel Kobe overcame Ventforet Kofu 4-2 in another relegation clash 24 hours earlier.

Kobe stormed into a 3-0 lead in 49 minutes thanks to Yosuke Ishibitsu’s first goal in two years and Takayuki Yoshida’s first and second of the season, but were made to sweat when Kofu quickly hit back through Paulinho and Kim Jin-Kyu.

Hideo Tanaka finally sealed the win from close range late on, leaving his side one goal behind Kashima while Kofu are now four points adrift of safety.


Yokohama F Marinos extended their advantage at the top to two points with a 2-1 home win over Omiya Ardija, as Kashiwa Reysol drew a blank away to Vegalta Sendai.

Kota Ueda crossed for Rafael to give Ardija a first-half lead at a rainy Nissan Stadium, but two headed goals from Masashi Oguro within 20 minutes of the restart secured a vital 12th league victory of the season for Kazushi Kimura’s men.

Nagoya Grampus remain third, four points off the top with a game in hand, after a comfortable 3-0 victory at bottom side Avispa Fukuoka extended their winning streak to five and their unbeaten run to 13 league matches.

Following last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Banpaku, Gamba Osaka finally held onto a one-goal lead over Jubilo Iwata at the fourth attempt in a 2-1 away victory on Saturday. Having registered one goal and two assists in an explosive midweek debut as substitute in Kashima, new signing Rafinha again came off the bench to head home the winner from Hayato Sasaki’s cross.

The top four now have a six-point cushion over the rest after Kawasaki Frontale fell to their second defeat against Urawa Reds within the space of 17 days. An own goal by the unfortunate Takanobu Komiyama was enough to relieve some of the pressure on Urawa boss Željko Petrović, whose side move to tenth – heading a congested bottom half of the table.

Albirex Niigata eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win at second-from-bottom Montedio Yamagata, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima crushed 10-man Shimizu S-Pulse 4-0.

- Japan have been given a tough draw in the third round of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Alberto Zaccheroni’s side will face North Korea, Uzbekistan, and Syria in Group C with the top two nations progressing to the final round-robin stage.
- Ahead of their league encounter last night, Vegalta Sendai edged Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 on Wednesday to secure progression to the second round of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup. Urawa Reds, Kawasaki Frontale, Shimizu S-Pulse, Yokohama F Marinos, and Jubilo Iwata also successfully negotiated their respective ties.
- Tokushima Vortis are the new leaders of J2 after FC Tokyo missed a penalty and slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Giravanz Kitakyushu.

J1 results (matchday 19)
Montedio Yamagata 0-1 Albirex Niigata
Kawasaki Frontale 0-1 Urawa Reds
Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 Omiya Ardija
Jubilo Iwata 1-2 Gamba Osaka
Vissel Kobe 4-2 Ventforet Kofu
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4-0 Shimizu S-Pulse
Cerezo Osaka 1-3 Kashima Antlers
Vegalta Sendai 0-0 Kashiwa Reysol
Avispa Fukuoka 0-3 Nagoya Grampus

J1 results (matchday 10 – Wednesday 27 July)
Kashima Antlers 1-4 Gamba Osaka

Yamazaki Nabisco Cup first round second leg results
Vegalta Sendai 2-1 Kashiwa Reysol (Sendai win 3-1 on aggregate)
Montedio Yamagata 1-2 Urawa Reds (Urawa win 4-1 on aggregate)
Kawasaki Frontale 3-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Kawasaki win 5-3 on aggregate)
Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0 Ventforet Kofu (Shimizu win 2-1 on aggregate)
Vissel Kobe 1-2 Yokohama F Marinos (Yokohama win 3-2 on aggregate)
Avispa Fukuoka 0-3 Jubilo Iwata (Iwata win 5-0 on aggregate)

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