Wednesday 13 October 2010

Zaccheroni era kicks off with historic win over Argentina and draw in South Korea

Alberto Zaccheroni’s reign as Japan manager got off to a superb start with a first ever victory for the national team over Argentina in Saitama on Friday evening, followed by a goalless draw away to archrivals South Korea in Seoul last night.

Against a full-strength Argentina XI featuring the likes of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, and Diego Milito, the Italian fielded an attacking-looking 4-2-3-1 system with Yasuhito Endo and Makoto Hasebe restored to the base of midfield. Takayuki Morimoto retained his lone striking berth with Keisuke Honda in the coveted deeper attacking role just behind, flanked by Shinji Kagawa on the left and Shinji Okazaki on the right.

The decision paid off quickly as Japan needed only 19 minutes to score what proved to be the game’s only goal. A low 25-yard shot from Hasebe was only parried by Argentina custodian Sergio Romero, allowing Okazaki - over whom there was a slight suspicion of offside - to pounce and slot the ball into the empty net.

Of perhaps greater significance was the team’s performance as a whole; defending strongly as a unit and confident enough to face their stellar opponents - against whom Japan had never recorded a win in six previous meetings - as equals. 2009 World Player of the Year Messi often cut a lone figure in the Argentina attack, with his determined efforts to find an equaliser consistently thwarted by left-back Yuto Nagatomo, goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, and emergency central defensive pairing Yuzo Kurihara and Yasuyuki Konno.

Zaccheroni made three changes for the trip to Korea, with Daisuke Matsui coming in for Okazaki, Yuichi Komano replacing Atsuto Uchida at right-back, and Shusaku Nishikawa winning his third cap in goal. In a game of few chances, Honda came closest to breaking the stalemate when his swerving 25-yard volley was tipped away by Jung Sung-Ryong, but Japan were at least able to show enough technical skill to cope comfortably with a more physical Korean side that had won well in both of this year’s previous meetings.

The new manager appeared highly positive after the game, stating “we have a very good team, and perhaps some players aren’t even aware just how talented they are”. The only blight on the evening was a broken arm for Komano, who could miss the rest of the J. League season and possibly even the Asian Cup in January.


In domestic news, Komano’s clubmates at Jubilo Iwata caused a real upset on Sunday by overcoming a home leg deficit to clinch a place in the Nabisco Cup final with a 3-1 victory at Kawasaki Frontale. Goals late in the second half from Ryohei Yamazaki and Sho Naruoka ensured that the Shizuoka side will appear in the 3 November showpiece for the first time since 2001. Their opponents will be Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who sealed their first ever final appearance by completing a 3-2 aggregate win over Shimizu S-Pulse.

There were few surprises in the last 32 of the Emperor’s Cup, with third-tier survivors Sony Sendai and Machida Zelvia both going down to J1 opposition in the form of Cerezo Osaka and Albirex Niigata respectively. The only top flight sides to fall to lower league opposition over the weekend were Vissel Kobe, who lost 2-1 to J2 leaders Kashiwa Reysol, and Kyoto Sanga, whose disastrous season was compounded by a crushing 4-0 home defeat to promotion-chasing JEF United Chiba.

The four teams that featured in the Nabisco Cup semi-finals will play their Emperor’s Cup fixtures this evening.

International friendly results
1-0 Argentina
South Korea 0-0 Japan

Nabisco Cup semi-final second leg results

Kawasaki Frontale 1-3 Jubilo Iwata (Iwata win 3-2 on aggregate)
Shimizu S-Pulse 1-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Hiroshima win 3-2 on aggregate)

Emperor’s Cup 3rd round results
Kashima Antlers 2-1 Roasso Kumamoto
Sony Sendai 1-3 Cerezo Osaka
Albirex Niigata 2-1 Machida Zelvia
Nagoya Grampus 2-1 Consadole Sapporo
Sanfrecce Hiroshima P-P Avispa Fukuoka
Omiya Ardija 3-0 Oita Trinita
Giravanz Kitakyushu 0-2 FC Tokyo
Kyoto Sanga 0-4 JEF United Chiba
Kawasaki Frontale P-P Yokohama FC
Montedio Yamagata 3-1 Shonan Bellmare
Shimizu S-Pulse P-P Mito HollyHock
Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 Sagan Tosu
Gamba Osaka 3-2 Tochigi SC
Vissel Kobe 1-2 Kashiwa Reysol
Urawa Reds 2-0 Tokushima Vortis
Jubilo Iwata P-P Ventforet Kofu

posted by Ben Mabley at 19:33 | 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
Comment on this article - この記事へのコメント
Write a comment - コメントを書く
Name - お名前: [Required - 必須入力]

E-mail address - メールアドレス:

Website address - ホームページアドレス:

Comment - コメント: [Required - 必須入力]

Authentication code - 認証コード: [Required - 必須入力]

* Enter the characters displayed here - 画像の中の文字を半角で入力してください。
* Only comments approved by the author will be displayed - ブログオーナーが承認したコメントのみ表示されます。

TrackBack references to this page - この記事へのトラックバック




・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。