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.

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