Monday 30 January 2012

Kagawa brace keeps Dortmund on Bayern's trail

Shinji Kagawa headed up a list of Japanese internationals making a name for themselves in Europe over the weekend with his fifth and sixth goals of the season to help Borussia Dortmund seal a 3-1 home victory over Hoffenheim.

The former Cerezo Osaka attacking midfielder broke through to open the scoring on 16 minutes – slotting past Tom Starke in the visitors’ goal after Sebastian Kehl had pounced on a moment’s hesitation by Sebastian Rudy.

Kagawa then launched the move that led to a second for Kevin Großkreutz on the half hour mark, and the favour was returned early in the second period as the striker cleverly back-heeled the ball beyond Starke for Kagawa to make the score 3-0.

Fabian Johnson netted a consolation goal for Hoffenheim but the win ensures that Dortmund remain in second place in the Bundesliga table, behind Bayern Munich on goal difference.

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Hoffenheim

Elsewhere in Germany, a brilliant assist from Hajime Hosogai set up the equalising goal as Augsburg moved off the bottom with a 2-2 draw against Kaiserslautern.

With the Bavarians trailing 2-1 thanks to goals either side of half time from Florian Dick, Hosogai met Torsten Oehrl’s pass with a spectacular back-heeled volley putting Stephan Hain clean through to level the scores. The point allowed Augsburg to leapfrog over Freiburg on goal difference.

Augsburg 2-2 Kaiserslautern

There was no such good news, however, for Shinji Okazaki – who was a half time substitute as tenth-place Stuttgart lost 3-0 at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday night.

In the Netherlands, Japan forward Mike Havenaar netted his first goal in the colours of Vitesse Arnhem but was unable to prevent his new club from slipping to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of new leaders PSV Eindhoven.

Entering the fray as an 81st-minute substitute, the 194cm hit man found space at the far post to head home a cross from the Ecuadorian Renato Ibarra just three minutes later to briefly restore hope for Vitesse at 2-1 – before Stanislav Manolev made sure of the points for PSV in stoppage time.

Havenaar was quick to play down the significance of his goal, telling Eredivisie Live that “it doesn’t mean a thing as we lost”. Michihiro Yasuda was an unused substitute for a defeat that keeps Vitesse in seventh position.

PSV Eindhoven 3-1 Vitesse Arnhem (Havenaar goal)

Maya Yoshida played 90 minutes for VVV Venlo in a crushing 4-0 defeat at RKC Waalwijk that saw his side fall to second from bottom.

Elsewhere, Tadanari Lee made his debut for English Championship club Southampton as a second half substitute away to Millwall in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Saints led for most of the match through Rickie Lambert but were forced into a replay thanks to Darius Henderson’s equaliser four minutes from time.

In Serie A, there was frustration for Yuto Nagatomo as Internazionale went down to a 1-0 defeat at Lecce.

posted by Ben Mabley at 18:10 | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) | Minutecast | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

Monday 23 January 2012

The winter so far

Just three weeks after FC Tokyo brought the curtain down on the last campaign with a 4-2 victory over Kyoto Sanga in the final of the Emperor’s Cup on New Year’s Day, Japan’s professional footballers are back at work this week as the J. League clubs begin their preparations for the 2012 season.

Having skippered the capital side to a cup and J2 title double – and scored to level things up at 1-1 in the final – Japan defender Yasuyuki Konno completed his long-rumoured move to Gamba Osaka last week, commenting “I felt a change of environment would enable me to step up another level.”

The transfer completed a rush of winter activity for the third best team in Japan last term, with Brazilian forward Paulinho the biggest other arrival from relegated Ventforet Kofu, while experienced names like Satoshi Yamaguchi (JEF United Chiba), Hideo Hashimoto, Kazumichi Takagi (both Vissel Kobe), and Lee Keun-Ho (Ulsan Hyundai) were all allowed to leave. Long-term loanees Daiki Niwa, Shinichi Terada, and Shu Kurata also return to Banpaku – in Niwa’s case, for the first time in an incredible five years.

Kofu also lost their star striker, 194cm Japan international Mike Havenaar, to Vitesse Arnhem of the Netherlands.

Urawa Reds have begun the rebuilding process after narrowly escaping relegation last year with the signing of Konno’s occasional international defensive partner Tomoaki Makino on a year’s loan from 1. FC Köln in Germany, where he has struggled to hold down a first-team place. The 24-year-old will link up with his former coach at Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Mihailo Petrović; and also most likely with Japan teammate Yuki Abe, who reportedly left Leicester City yesterday.

Reigning champions Kashiwa Reysol have been relatively quiet in the transfer market – thus far avoiding a looting of the players that achieved their historic success but with Jubilo Iwata utility man Daisuke Nasu the only established new signing. Nagoya Grampus will look to regain the title with their ranks bolstered by the arrival of defender Yosuke Ishibitsu from Vissel Kobe and a permanent deal for Colombian midfielder Danilson.

Two prolific Brazilian veterans will also line up in new colours this season, as Juninho joins Kashima Antlers following 214 goals in nine seasons with Kawasaki Frontale, while former Kashima man Marquinhos re-signs for Yokohama F. Marinos – with whom he won the championship in 2003 – after an abortive stint at Vegalta Sendai last year.

The domestic season will begin as per tradition with the Fuji Xerox Super Cup between Kashiwa and FC Tokyo on 3 March, before J1 kicks off the following weekend with a number of tasty fixtures – including an early return to Hiroshima for Makino and Petrović with Urawa, a Tokai derby between Nagoya and Shimizu S-Pulse, and a Kansai derby as Gamba host Kobe.

Before then, however, Alberto Zaccheroni will lead the Japan national team into battle twice in late February, with a friendly against Iceland in Osaka on the 24th preceding a World Cup qualifier at home to Uzbekistan in Toyota five days later.

- Hiroshi Kiyotake, Kensuke Nagai, and Hiroki Sakai have all been named in Takashi Sekizuka’s Japan U-23 squad to face Syria in Olympic qualification on 5 February.
- 197cm forward Hiroshi Ibusuki made his debut in the Spanish top flight with Sevilla yesterday, coming off the bench to play the final six minutes of a 1-1 derby draw at Real Betis.

Emperor’s Cup final result
Kyoto Sanga 2-4 FC Tokyo

Yokohama F Marinos 2-4 Kyoto Sanga (after extra time)
FC Tokyo 1-0 Cerezo Osaka

Nagoya Grampus 0-0 Yokohama F Marinos (after extra time; Marinos win 4-3 on penalties)
Kyoto Sanga 1-0 Shonan Bellmare
FC Tokyo 1-0 Urawa Reds
Cerezo Osaka 2-2 Shimizu S-Pulse (after extra time; Cerezo win 6-5 on penalties)

Fourth round
Nagoya Grampus 3-3 Kashiwa Reysol (after extra time; Nagoya win 9-8 on penalties)
Yokohama F Marinos 4-0 Matsumoto Yamaga
Kashima Antlers 0-1 Kyoto Sanga
Kawasaki Frontale 0-1 Shonan Bellmare
Mito HollyHock 0-1 FC Tokyo
Ehime FC 1-3 Urawa Reds
Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Vegalta Sendai (after extra time; Cerezo win 4-2 on penalties)
Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0 JEF United Chiba
posted by Ben Mabley at 18:59 | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) | Minutecast | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする




・マイブログの【設定】 > 【広告設定】 より、「60日間更新が無い場合」 の 「広告を表示しない」にチェックを入れて保存する。