Monday 28 May 2012

Tosu hit back to put Gamba in real danger of relegation

2008 Asian champions Gamba Osaka have been cast fully six points adrift of safety ahead of the J. League’s three-week break for the World Cup qualifiers, after Masanobu Matsunami’s men surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to newly-promoted Sagan Tosu on Friday night.

The hosts at Banpaku did get off to the perfect start when, in just the third minute, Paulinho successfully closed down Ryuhei Niwa and sent in a cross for Takahiro Futagawa to open the scoring on his return to the starting XI after five games on the sidelines.

Gamba continued to dominate and created a succession of good chances, Yasuyuki Konno going closest when his header struck the right-hand goalpost. But having been frustrated with the 1-0 half-time scoreline, they finally extended their advantage midway through the second period when Akihiro Sato extended a toe to reach Yasuhito Endo’s cross.

However, as the home fans continued to celebrate what looked like an assured victory, Tosu hit back right from the restart, when Yohei Toyoda managed to flick a long throw from Naoyuki Fujita inside the far post with the back of his head.

Instantly, the momentum of the game flipped completely, and Gamba’s fragile confidence subsided further when Fujita curled the ball home for the equaliser and his own first ever J1 goal with four minutes left on the clock.

The hosts sought in vain for a winner but were again caught on the breakaway, and Fujita slotted calmly past Atsushi Kimura to steal all three points for Sagan with the final kick of the game.

Nagoya Grampus are another big club with a disappointing league position to ponder over the break after they succumbed to a third successive home defeat, losing 1-0 to Gamba’s city rivals Cerezo Osaka.

Brazilian forward Kempes netted the only goal of the game early in the second period following a fine solo run from Kim Bo-Kyung, and a below-par Nagoya were unable to hit back despite Cerezo forward Ryuji Bando seeing red with still half an hour remaining.

The result lifts Cerezo above Grampus on goal difference with 17 points, alongside defending champions Kashiwa Reysol who beat Albirex Niigata 2-0 on Saturday. Niigata, like Gamba, remain stuck on just nine.


At the top, Vegalta Sendai’s lead is down to two points after they came out second best in a five-goal thriller away to Kawasaki Frontale.

The visitors fought back from Yu Kobayashi’s opener to lead 2-1 through sensational strikes from Shingo Tomita and Wilson, but Kyohei Noborizato levelled things up again before Takuro Yajima’s header won it for Kawasaki in the final minute.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima held onto second with a straightforward 3-1 victory away to bottom club Consadole Sapporo, while Jubilo Iwata leapfrogged local rivals Shimizu S-Pulse into third thanks to a 4-0 drubbing of Omiya Ardija. S-Pulse were held to a goalless draw at home to Yokohama F Marinos.

Akira Nishino’s first game in charge of Vissel Kobe did not quite go according to the script, as his side fell two down at home to Kashima Antlers and missed a number of chances before ultimately losing 2-1.

FC Tokyo drew 1-1 with Urawa Reds in Saturday’s late game.

- Japan warmed up for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers with a 2-0 friendly win over Azerbaijan in Shizuoka last Wednesday. Shinji Kagawa gave the Samurai Blue the lead shortly before half time, before an Agil Nabiyev own goal in the second period.
- Alberto Zaccheroni will now lead his side into competitive battle with home games in Saitama against Oman on Sunday 3 June and Jordan on Friday 8 June, before heading to Australia to face the Socceroos on Wednesday 12 June.

J1 results (matchday 13)
Gamba Osaka 2-3 Sagan Tosu
Nagoya Grampus 0-1 Cerezo Osaka
Consadole Sapporo 1-3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Kawasaki Frontale 3-2 Vegalta Sendai
Shimizu S-Pulse 0-0 Yokohama F Marinos
Jubilo Iwata 4-0 Omiya Ardija
Vissel Kobe 1-2 Kashima Antlers
Kashiwa Reysol 2-0 Albirex Niigata
FC Tokyo 1-1 Urawa Reds

J2 results (matchday 16)
Kyoto Sanga 1-0 Giravanz Kitakyushu
Thespa Kusatsu 0-0 Matsumoto Yamaga
Gainare Tottori 2-5 Yokohama FC
Avispa Fukuoka 1-1 Fagiano Okayama
Oita Trinita 0-2 JEF United Chiba
Tochigi SC 3-2 Tokyo Verdy
Machida Zelvia 0-0 Mito HollyHock
Shonan Bellmare 0-0 Tokushima Vortis
Roasso Kumamoto 2-1 Montedio Yamagata
FC Gifu 0-3 Ventforet Kofu
Ehime FC 0-1 Kataller Toyama

International friendly
Japan 2
-0 Azerbaijan

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Monday 21 May 2012

Kurosaki quits after Iwata hit Niigata for six; Sapporo thrashed by seven-up Kashima

Hisashi Kurosaki has resigned as manager of Albirex Niigata in the wake of a 6-1 home drubbing at the hands of Jubilo Iwata which left his team five points adrift of safety.

The visitors raced into an early two-goal lead thanks to close range strikes from Cho Byung-Kuk and Ryoichi Maeda, before a second yellow card for Albirex defender Kim Jin-Su just before half time dealt a fatal blow to any hopes of avoiding a seventh league defeat of the campaign.

Jamaican-born Musashi Shingo was introduced for his debut at the start of the second half and immediately made an impact with series of dazzling solo runs, winning the free kick from which Seiya Fujita pulled one back via the head of an opposing defender.

But by that point, Iwata had already added a third through Yuki Kobayashi, and they continued on in relentless fashion to storm away with further goals from Takuya Matsuura, Maeda, and Hiroki Yamada in the final quarter of the match.

There was an even worse humiliation in store for bottom side Consadole Sapporo, as they went down 7-0 to a Kashima Antlers outfit whose season continues to swing between the sublime and the ridiculous.

Without a goal in three league matches prior to Saturday, Jorginho’s men had two in the opening quarter of an hour after a move brilliantly started and finished by central defender Daiki Iwamasa was followed by a penalty from Yuya Osako.

Sapporo thought that Ryuji Kawai had pulled one back only for the officials to rule that the ball had not crossed the line, and their hopes quickly faded further when Japan under-23 captain Kazuya Yamamura netted his first J. League goal for Kashima shortly before the interval.

Antlers were in rampant mood throughout the second period with four further players finding the scoresheet – Shinzo Koroki, Masashi Motoyama, Juninho, and Yasushi Endo.

Gamba Osaka complete the bottom three after they could only move level on points with Niigata, albeit with one game in hand, following a scoreless draw away to Yokohama F. Marinos.

Yuji Nakazawa looked to have unwittingly bundled the visitors into the lead only for his own goal to be disallowed for a push by his namesake, Gamba defender Sota. Marinos then had the ideal opportunity to seal a fifth straight league win when Manabu Saito was clipped by Daiki Niwa, only for former Japan star Shunsuke Nakamura to strike the crossbar with the resulting penalty kick.

Champions Kashiwa Reysol pulled level with Cerezo Osaka, five points clear of the drop zone, as two assists from Hiroki Sakai laid on a 2-1 away win at the Nagai Stadium.


Despite the slight wobble that had seen them pick up just two points from their previous three matches, Vegalta Sendai laid down another marker of their championship credentials by stretching their lead back out to five with a 4-0 rout of Nagoya Grampus.

In another decisively efficient performance, Sendai took the lead on 38 minutes through a tight-angled finish from Ryang Yong-Gi, who then sent in a corner for Shingo Akamine to head in via the unfortunate Takahiro Masukawa right on half time.

Grampus sent Marcus Tulio Tanaka up front as they looked to hit back in the second half, but when his 86th-minute attempt was superbly cleared off the line by Jiro Kamata, Vegalta broke for Wilson to coolly seal the win seconds thereafter. Naoki Sugai added a fourth in added time.

The chasing pack has become more condensed than ever after Yuki Abe’s solitary goal gave Urawa Reds a 1-0 win over 10-man Shimizu S-Pulse, who fall to third on goal difference. Sanfrecce Hiroshima are up to second after a thrilling late goal rush saw them beat Vissel Kobe 3-2.

Kawasaki Frontale climb to seventh thanks to a 2-0 victory at Omiya Ardija, while a hat-trick from substitute Kazuma Watanabe in the final quarter of an hour allowed FC Tokyo to recover from two down and dramatically edge Sagan Tosu 3-2.

- Impressive wins in midweek for Kashiwa Reysol and Nagoya Grampus, away at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and at home to Central Coast Mariners respectively, saw them clinch their places alongside FC Tokyo in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League.
- Cerezo Osaka have announced that Japan attacking midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake will leave the club for Bundesliga side 1.FC Nürnberg on 1 July.

J1 results (matchday 12)
Yokohama F Marinos 0-0 Gamba Osaka
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2 Vissel Kobe
Albirex Niigata 1-6 Jubilo Iwata
Urawa Reds 1-0 Shimizu S-Pulse
Omiya Ardija 0-2 Kawasaki Frontale
Kashima Antlers 7-0 Consadole Sapporo
Vegalta Sendai 4-0 Nagoya Grampus
Cerezo Osaka 1-2 Kashiwa Reysol
FC Tokyo 3-2 Sagan Tosu

J2 results (matchday 15)
Montedio Yamagata 2-1 FC Gifu
Mito HollyHock 0-2 Ehime FC
Matsumoto Yamaga 0-2 Yokohama FC
Kataller Toyama 0-1 Avispa Fukuoka
Tokushima Vortis 3-0 Gainare Tottori
Giravanz Kitakyushu 1-5 Tokyo Verdy
Ventforet Kofu 2-0 Thespa Kusatsu
Tochigi SC 1-1 Shonan Bellmare
JEF United Chiba 4-0 Roasso Kumamoto
Fagiano Okayama 1-2 Kyoto Sanga
Oita Trinita 2-1 Machida Zelvia

AFC Champions League group stage results (East Asia, matchday 6)
Group E
Gamba Osaka (JPN) 0-2 Adelaide United (AUS)
Bunyodkor (UZB) 1-0 Pohang Steelers (KOR)
Final standings: ADELAIDE UNITED 13, BUNYODKOR 10, Pohang Steelers 9, Gamba Osaka 3

Group F
Brisbane Roar (AUS) 1-1 Beijing Guoan (CHN)
Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) 1-0 FC Tokyo (JPN)
Final standings: ULSAN HYUNDAI 14, FC TOKYO 11, Brisbane Roar 3, Beijing Guoan 3

Group G
Nagoya Grampus (JPN) 3-0 Central Coast Mariners (AUS)
Tianjin Teda (CHN) 0-3 Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma (KOR)
Final standings: SEONGNAM ILHWA CHUNMA 10, NAGOYA GRAMPUS 10, Central Coast Mariners 6, Tianjin Teda 3

Group H
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) 0-2 Kashiwa Reysol (JPN)
Buriram United (THA) 1-2 Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)
Final standings: GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE 10, KASHIWA REYSOL 10, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 9, Buriram United 6

Yamazaki Nabisco Cup group stage results (matchday 4)
Group A
Kawasaki Frontale 0-3 Urawa Reds
Cerezo Osaka 2-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Sagan Tosu 3-2 Jubilo Iwata

Group B
Omiya Ardija 1-1 Consadole Sapporo
Vissel Kobe 1-2 Shimizu S-Pulse
Yokohama F Marinos 3-2 Kashima Antlers

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Monday 14 May 2012

Aoyama goes the whole 69 yards but Marinos hit back to thwart Sanfrecce

Sanfrecce Hiroshima midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama took aim from fully 69 yards to score one of the most astonishing goals in J. League history on Saturday afternoon.

Six minutes into his side’s home match with Yokohama F. Marinos, the 26-year-old spotted the opposing goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura standing on the edge of his penalty area and launched an incredible, unstoppable shot from well inside his own half – behind even the centre circle.

The dramatic opening was as good as it got for Hiroshima, however, as Marinos fought back with three goals of their own to seal a fourth successive league victory. Marquinhos levelled the scores on his first start since returning to the club where he first spent a season back in 2003, while Manabu Saito and Seitaro Tomisawa both netted late in the second half.

Having failed to muster a single win in their first seven matches, the quick resurgence in form has now taken Yasuhiro Higuchi’s side into the top half of the table.

Jubilo Iwata were the weekend’s big movers, with a 3-0 defeat of struggling Kashima Antlers catapulting them up to fourth in the table after all six of the sides that had begun proceedings ahead of the Shizuoka club failed to take three points.

Ryoichi Maeda headed Iwata into a tenth minute lead, before Takuya Matsuura and the impressive Hiroki Yamada added gloss to the scoreline with two well-taken strikes in the final ten minutes.

Second-placed Shimizu S-Pulse needed a dramatic equaliser from Alex Brosque with the final kick of the game to rescue a point at home to Cerezo Osaka, who had led through Yoichiro Kakitani’s first ever J1 goal, but leaders Vegalta Sendai were unable to take advantage as they were also forced to come from behind to draw 1-1 at the other Osaka club, Gamba.

A low, curling shot from Shu Kurata looked set to secure a much-needed three points for the crisis-ridden 2005 champions, but Ryang Yong-Gi and Shingo Akamine combined on their respective returns from injury for the latter to head home an equaliser on 78 minutes.


Elsewhere, title holders Kashiwa Reysol moved clear of the relegation zone with a welcome 2-0 victory away to Kawasaki Frontale. Masato Kudo scrambled the visitors in front midway through the second half, before Jorge Wagner sealed the points with his second in two games late into stoppage time.

Nagoya Grampus are up to eighth after putting their recent losing run to an end with a 1-0 win at Vissel Kobe thanks to a single Keiji Tamada strike shortly before half time. FC Tokyo rise to sixth after a first-minute goal from Yohei Kajiyama proved enough to edge fellow newly-promoted side Consadole Sapporo by the same scoreline.

Urawa Reds could only draw 1-1 at home to third-from-bottom Albirex Niigata despite a sixth league goal of the season for Marcio Richardes, while a last-minute own goal by the unfortunate Yu Hasegawa of Omiya Ardija preserved Sagan Tosu’s unbeaten home record.

The middle order remains typically congested, with just five points separating Sanfrecce in third from Cerezo in 14th.

- It is ‘as you were’ at the top of J2 as both Montedio Yamagata and Shonan Bellmare were held to 1-1 draws; away to Avispa Fukuoka and at home to Oita Trinita, respectively.
- With Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands, Shinji Kagawa scored after just three minutes to set Borussia Dortmund on their way to a German domestic double and a 5-2 thrashing of Bayern Munich in the final of the DFB-Pokal.
- Kashiwa and Japan U-23 right-back Hiroki Sakai is set to become the next Japanese representative in the Bundesliga, with a move to Hannover 96 now close to completion.

J1 results (matchday 11)
Consadole Sapporo 0-1 FC Tokyo
Jubilo Iwata 3-0 Kashima Antlers
Sagan Tosu 1-1 Omiya Ardija
Kawasaki Frontale 0-2 Kashiwa Reysol
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-3 Yokohama F Marinos
Shimizu S-Pulse 1-1 Cerezo Osaka
Urawa Reds 1-1 Albirex Niigata
Vissel Kobe 0-1 Nagoya Grampus
Gamba Osaka 1-1 Vegalta Sendai

J2 results (matchday 14)
Ehime FC 2-2 Giravanz Kitakyushu
Thespa Kusatsu 1-2 Tochigi SC
Tokyo Verdy 0-1 Fagiano Okayama
Machida Zelvia 1-6 JEF United Chiba
Yokohama FC 3-0 Kataller Toyama
Avispa Fukuoka 1-1 Montedio Yamagata
Shonan Bellmare 1-1 Oita Trinita
Kyoto Sanga 2-1 Tokushima Vortis
Gainare Tottori 2-1 Mito HollyHock
Roasso Kumamoto 0-0 Ventforet Kofu
FC Gifu 0-1 Matsumoto Yamaga

posted by Ben Mabley at 14:53 | 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

Tuesday 08 May 2012

Omae God! Hail Genki as S-Pulse reel in Sendai

Shimizu S-Pulse underlined their early championship credentials by inflicting a first league defeat of the season upon J. League leaders Vegalta Sendai at the Yurtec Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

With somewhat temperamental weather sweeping the country on the final day of the Golden Week holiday, a heavy hailstorm caused the top-of-the-table clash to be halted for around 40 minutes midway through the first half.

Following the resumption of play, it was the visitors who found their rhythm and opened the scoring five minutes before the scheduled interval when Toshiyuki Takagi crossed for Genki Omae to head past Sendai goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi.

Shimizu’s hopes of retaining their advantage took a blow midway through the second period when Dutch defender Calvin Jong-a-Pin was dismissed for two bookable offences. But thanks partly to a fine performance between the posts by Akihiro Hayashi, who joined in pre-season from Belgian third-tier side Charleroi-Marchienne, Afshin Ghotbi’s men held on to close the gap at the summit to just two points.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima are two points further back in third after a crazy 5-2 victory away to the struggling title holders, Kashiwa Reysol.

J1 leading scorer Hisato Sato struck his eighth and ninth goals of the season to push the away side into a 2-0 lead early in the second half, but a terrific turn and shot from Junya Tanaka inspired a Kashiwa recovery which brought parity when Jorge Wagner netted his first of the campaign with 13 minutes remaining.

However, a Mihael Mikić cross found Yojiro Takahagi to tap Hiroshima back in front, and as Reysol desperately sought a second equaliser, Naoki Ishihara took advantage with a stoppage time double to give the final scoreline a somewhat cruel gloss. The champions have only eight points from nine games and are separated from the relegation zone on goals scored.


Kawasaki Frontale moved up to sixth position with their second straight victory under new manager Yahiro Kazama, edging Nagoya Grampus by the odd goal in five at the Toyota Stadium.

Takuro Yajima was the hero with two goals and an assist to give Kawasaki a 3-1 lead in a first half that Nagoya boss Dragan Stojković described as “catastrophic”. A major reshuffle at the interval allowed the home side to control the second period, but a single goal in reply from Jungo Fujimoto proved insufficient to prevent first back-to-back defeats since October 2009.

Urawa Reds are fourth after a 2-2 draw at seventh-placed Jubilo Iwata, for whom South Korean U-23 international and former Watford youth player Baek Sung-Dong netted his first ever J. League goals, while the ever-impressive new boys Sagan Tosu are fifth after a goalless draw at Kashima Antlers.

Fortunes remain quite the opposite for Consadole Sapporo, who fell victim to a third consecutive win for the resurgent Yokohama F Marinos to remain rooted to the foot of the table on four points. Gamba Osaka were punished for their profligacy in front of goal with a 1-0 defeat at Omiya Ardija to stay second from bottom.

Elsewhere, Vissel Kobe won 2-1 away to Kansai rivals Cerezo Osaka to make it a maximum six points in two matches under caretaker manager Ryo Adachi, while FC Tokyo were 2-0 victors at Albirex Niigata.

- Vissel Kobe are reportedly set to appoint Akira Nishino, who led Gamba Osaka to six major domestic and Asian honours plus eight top three finishes in the past ten seasons, as their new full-time manager on a contract that will take him up to the end of 2014.
- Shinji Kagawa and Gotoku Sakai both registered assists for their respective clubs on the final weekend of the German Bundesliga season. Kagawa is set to announce a decision on his future following this Saturday’s DFB-Pokal final against Bayern Munich.
- Montedio Yamagata beat Thespa Kusatsu 1-0 to leapfrog Shonan Bellmare, who were held 1-1 by Matsumoto Yamaga, to the head of the J2 table.

J1 results (matchday 10)
Vegalta Sendai 0-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 Consadole Sapporo
Cerezo Osaka 1-2 Vissel Kobe
Kashiwa Reysol 2-5 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Omiya Ardija 1-0 Gamba Osaka
Jubilo Iwata 2-2 Urawa Reds
Nagoya Grampus 2-3 Kawasaki Frontale
Kashima Antlers 0-0 Sagan Tosu
Albirex Niigata 0-2 FC Tokyo

J2 results (matchday 13)
Tochigi SC 1-0 Avispa Fukuoka (match abandoned)
Ventforet Kofu 0-3 Kyoto Sanga
Kataller Toyama 1-1 Machida Zelvia
Tokushima Vortis 1-1 Roasso Kumamoto
Oita Trinita 3-0 Gainare Tottori
JEF United Chiba 1-0 Ehime FC
Matsumoto Yamaga 1-1 Shonan Bellmare
Fagiano Okayama 0-1 FC Gifu
Montedio Yamagata 1-0 Thespa Kusatsu
Mito HollyHock 0-2 Tokyo Verdy
Giravanz Kitakyushu 1-2 Yokohama FC

AFC Champions League group stage results (East Asia, matchday 5)
Group E
Adelaide United (AUS) 0-0 Bunyodkor (UZB)
Pohang Steelers (KOR) 2-0 Gamba Osaka (JPN)

Group F
FC Tokyo (JPN) 4-2 Brisbane Roar (AUS)
Beijing Guoan (CHN) 2-3 Ulsan Hyundai (KOR)

Group G
Central Coast Mariners (AUS) 5-1 Tianjin Teda (CHN)
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma (KOR) 1-1 Nagoya Grampus (JPN)

Group H
Kashiwa Reysol (JPN) 1-0 Buriram United (THA)
Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR)

posted by Ben Mabley at 18:20 | 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 07 May 2012

CATCH UP – Golden Week 2012

Football Japan’s Ben Mabley presents a quick catch-up of two rounds of J1 action during the Japanese Golden Week holiday before this week’s main Minutecast, which will focus on a full programme of Sunday fixtures.

J1 results (matchday 8 – Saturday 28 April 2012)
FC Tokyo 0-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Nagoya Grampus 1-2 Urawa Reds
Kashiwa Reysol 1-1 Sagan Tosu
Kawasaki Frontale 1-4 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Kashima Antlers 5-0 Gamba Osaka
Omiya Ardija 2-1 Consadole Sapporo
Yokohama F Marinos 3-1 Vissel Kobe
Albirex Niigata 0-1 Vegalta Sendai
Cerezo Osaka 3-2 Jubilo Iwata

J1 results (matchday 9 – Thursday 3 May 2012)
Consadole Sapporo 1-0 Cerezo Osaka
Vissel Kobe 3-0 Omiya Ardija
Kawasaki Frontale 4-3 Jubilo Iwata
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-1 Albirex Niigata
Sagan Tosu 1-1 Vegalta Sendai
Urawa Reds 1-2 Yokohama F Marinos
Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 Kashima Antlers
FC Tokyo P-P Kashiwa Reysol
Gamba Osaka P-P Nagoya Grampus

posted by Ben Mabley at 11:16 | 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




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