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.

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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.


TALKING POINTS
- 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)

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