Monday 03 October 2011

Gamba and Reysol move clear after defeats for Marinos and Grampus

Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol each edged out narrow 1-0 wins to establish a slight cushion over their fellow title contenders at the head of J1.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their foundation, the Osaka club were able to maintain their single-point advantage at the top with victory over fallen giants and fierce rivals Urawa Reds. Japan midfielder Yasuhito Endo lofted a perfectly-weighted through ball over the visiting defence from just inside his own half for South Korean striker Lee Keun-Ho to slot the game’s only goal past Nobuhiro Kato on 28 minutes.

Despite a tense second half characterised by two wasted chances by Rafinha when sent clean through, the final whistle allowed Gamba to toast their birthday in style with a 300th J. League win and a fourth clean sheet in six – a remarkable record considering they had only kept their opponents out once in the opening 22 matchdays.

Kashiwa, meanwhile, won away at near-namesakes Kashima Antlers to move into a clear second position even though defender Park Dong-Hyuk saw red for a second bookable offence shortly before half time. Nelsinho Baptista’s side were able to hold on throughout the second period to a lead given to them on the half hour mark by Masato Kudo, following skilful passing work on the breakaway by Leandro Domingues and Junya Tanaka.

Nagoya Grampus fell four points behind Gamba in third position after being comprehensively outplayed in a 2-0 loss at resurgent Shimizu S-Pulse. The hosts outshot the reigning champions 23-4 but only took the lead in the 73rd minute when Toshiyuki Takagi’s cross was headed home from a tight angle by Genki Omae. Alex Brosque finally sealed the points late on after a dazzling solo burst from Fredrik Ljungberg.

Yokohama F Marinos saw their recent loss of form prolonged by a 4-2 defeat at struggling Albirex Niigata, who had been winless in seven. Goals from Cho Young-Cheol, Gotoku Sakai, Michael, and Bruno Lopes completed a much welcome reversal of recent fortunes for the home side, who are now five points clear of danger in 13th place.

Marinos fall six points off the championship pace in fourth.


Third-from-bottom Ventforet Kofu were frustrated to miss out on the opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone as Yu Kobayashi’s 11th goal of the season was enough to secure a 1-0 win for Kawasaki Frontale at the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium on Saturday. The home side controlled much of the game but were unable to break through a stubborn Kawasaki defence and remain two points adrift of Urawa Reds.

Omiya Ardija remain in trouble – just three points better off than their Saitama neighbours – as their disastrous home form continued with a 2-0 reverse against Avispa Fukuoka. Second half strikes from Takuya Matsuura and Hisashi Jogo allowed the division’s bottom side, who remain fully 11 points shy of safety, to celebrate consecutive wins for the first time all year.

Montedio Yamagata are now only three points ahead of Fukuoka despite a creditable 1-1 draw at home to Jubilo Iwata. A 91st-minute header from Koji Nakajima gave Sanfrecce Hiroshima a 1-0 win over Vissel Kobe, while Vegalta Sendai beat Cerezo Osaka 2-1.

- The J. League is once again without an AFC Champions League semi-finalist after its sole remaining representatives, Cerezo Osaka, were thrashed 6-1 away to Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in midweek – going down 9-5 on aggregate.
- Yuto Nagatomo returns to the Japan squad for the upcoming matches with Vietnam and Tajikistan after recovering from a dislocated shoulder, but fellow full back Atsuto Uchida has been forced to pull out with a thigh strain.
- Takayuki Morimoto netted for Novara in a 3-3 draw against former club Catania in the Italian Serie A.

J1 results (matchday 28)
Montedio Yamagata 1-1 Jubilo Iwata
Ventforet Kofu 0-1 Kawasaki Frontale
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 Vissel Kobe
Albirex Niigata 4-2 Yokohama F Marinos
Omiya Ardija 0-2 Avispa Fukuoka
Kashima Antlers 0-1 Kashiwa Reysol
Vegalta Sendai 2-1 Cerezo Osaka
Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0 Nagoya Grampus
Gamba Osaka 1-0 Urawa Reds

AFC Champions League quarter final second leg results
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) 6-1 Cerezo Osaka (JPN) (Jeonbuk win 9-5 on aggregate)
FC Seoul (KOR) 1-0 Al-Ittihad (KSA) (Al-Ittihad win 3-2 on aggregate)
Zob Ahan (IRN) 1-2 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR) (after extra time; Suwon win 3-2 on aggregate)
Al-Sadd (QAT) 1-2 Sepahan (IRN) (Al-Sadd win 4-2 on aggregate*)

* First leg awarded 3-0 to Al-Sadd by default as punishment for Sepahan fielding an ineligible player

Yamazaki Nabisco Cup second round second leg results
Omiya Ardija 1-2 Urawa Reds (Urawa win 4-1 on aggregate)
Jubilo Iwata 3-0 Vegalta Sendai
Albirex Niigata 3-1 Shimizu S-Pulse (Niigata win 4-3 on aggregate)
Kawasaki Frontale 3-2 Yokohama F Marinos (Yokohama FM win 6-3 on aggregate)

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