Thursday, 30 April 2009

Man of the Match? The one and only Paulo.

Fuz Fuz writes:

Well, for me, that would very easily be Paulo. What a difference one man can make. I felt at the end of last season that Paulo's presence on the park changed the way the team worked, and it certainly did so today. Marcos "Glue" Paulo - holds the team together and the ball sticks to him! He worked so hard yesterday creating chances and getting the ball forward, it was a pleasure to watch and I found myself thinking, yes, we can win this after all. Before a ball was even kicked it was clear Paulo was up for it, high fiving each and every player and raising spirits - and after half time, he was so keen to be back out he was almost at the half-way line before the rest of our team appeared.

Ok, so he can't shoot - well neither can Johnsen apparently and he's actually a forward. Although, without being too harsh on Johnsen he looked more full of fight than before and is certainly trying harder, so we'll see.

I like the way Nagai looks, and would like to see him on the park a bit more - Johnsen's going to have to do something soon to keep his first team place out of Nagai and Hara's clutches, who both look ready for the fight.

Yesterday was a great day, good weather, good crowd, the S-Pa fans were out in force and the changes in the team proved to be vital. Let's see some more football like this and start winning some games - it's still early days in J1 and we can still finish up top.

Oh and in other news - Nishibe, despite letting in two yesterday, wasn't particularly to blame and appears to have learned how to catch the ball. That was a great big relief to the UK Ultras (minus one, who loves Yohei regardless of how many mistakes he makes, such undying loyalty has to be admired).

So, the season is young, Marcos proved himself yesterday and if he doesn't start / make more appearances now then Kenta either has a personal vendetta or an eye problem. We have a fit bunch of strikers raring to go and the defence was on the ball yesterday - literally. Paulo was my man of the match yesterday, but Iwashita would be a second - he was so quick on it yesterday and more than once got the ball cleared and out past midfield to create opportunities.

The Future's Bright. The Future's Orange.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

S-Pa 2-2 Urawa

Can somebody pinch me? Was that really the same team which was lucky to get away with a point against Reysol? Coming off the back of such recent wretched form, we went into today's game with Urawa ever so slightly wary we might be on the end of a good hiding. Hearing that not only Teru, but also Paulo, had been recalled into the starting eleven however, came as hugely encouraging news.

25000 Glorious Oranges and 5000 Smelly Reds pile into Ecopa

Many people have been wondering over Kenta's logic at not playing at least one of our two most experienced and important midfielders. Today they both got their chance, and we here at UK Ultras Towers feel totally vindicated. We've been calling for greater use of Paulo for weeks, and today he proved why. The guy is a class apart. He was absolutely instrumental in holding our midfield together and instigating many of our attacks. He's must be knackered after playing a full game, but thank you Paulo - you didn't stop running and you put in a great performance.

We took the lead from Hara's penalty after Tulio's clumsy challenge:


Urawa were good and always dangerous. They were attacking and had us on the back foot more than once. On the negative side, Edmilson completely eclipsed Tulio when it came to claiming the award for the most petulant, whining little sod on the pitch.

We looked fast, alert and dangerous on the counter, and we often had the visitors reeling back from another failed attack. Had we not made so many unforced errors, we may well have a) taken the lead b) equalised earlier. Nagai looked good when brought on towards the end, and went achingly close to heading it home shortly after his introduction.

Is that all you take away!?

When Arata slammed the ball home on 86 minutes to draw level, and claim his first pro goal while he was at it, it was nothing more than we deserved. This game, which we could so easily have won at the death, was for that reason frustrating, but having gone into today with confidence at a low, and our form nothing short of horrible, we can take a lot from the draw.

Our fans can also be proud. Hosting a game at Ecopa is asking a lot for our fanbase to traipse all the way over to Fukuroi, but my doubts were blown out the water as over 10000 more than could have fit in 'Daira packed in for a great game of football. Hopefully any first timers will now be heading over to Shimizu in future.
Full time - Both teams knackered

It's all off to Hiroshima on Saturday where three points would really be nice, thanks very much! Too many draws is better than too many defeats, but if we don't start converting draws into wins, we'll end up ruing the dropped points. Jungo was rested today, so we can expect to see him start, and I want to see Teru back in too. Paulo is probably exhausted after racking up a full 90 minutes, bless him! Okazaki and Johnsen to start, with Hara waiting to come on at the hour if the Norweigian still hasn't found the net.

Highlights!



Arata's goal including full build up (personal cam)



Official pics here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

S-Pa v Urawa (preview)

All aboard the S-Pulse express bound for Ecopa! We'll be making brief stops at Nishibedroppeditagain Town, Willjohnseneverscoreville and Nishibefelloveragain City, before reaching our final destination, Bitter Disappointment Central.

Nah, seriously, we're gonna win. :)

With only 15000 tickets remaining as of this evening, the staging of a game at Ecopa for the first time since July 06 appears, on first inspection, to have paid off. The club has been really going for it trying to get as many floating fans through the gate as possible, and if we do end up with upwards of 35000 tomorrow, then S-Pulse will have soundly proved me wrong.

The last time we used Ecopa. We beat Little Jubilo 2-0

When Little Jubilo played Urawa last month less than 19000 turned out, and only the Red travelling army saved them from a crowd smaller than could have fit in The Yamaha. Well it looks like around 30000 S-Pulse maniacs will be descending on Fukuroi tomorrow, so come on boys, don't let us down!

Will Johnsen again be on the bench? Will Nagai be given a start against his old club? Will Teru be back in midfield, or even Paulo, to provide the steady nerves and experience they both possess in spades? And perhaps the biggest Will? of the day is will Calamity Yohei be once again granted an opportunity to fall over / drop the ball / palm it out straight to an advancing attacker?

I don't know the answer to these questions any more than you do, so get yourself down to Ecopa tomorrow and join the immense orange army on tour to the West Side (of Shizuoka) to find out!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Happy Birthday to... Us!

One year ago today I posted our very first article, our 1-0 home victory against FC Tokyo.

Our first home victory of 2008

The game was our eighth of the season, up to which we'd lost four, drawn two and won only once. This year so far we've won fully TWICE as much, drawn three and lost only two. It's not been a great start to 2009, but compared to last year, we've won nearly twice the number of points, despite being way below top form. You have to look on the bright side!

Wednesday sees us face a wholly unconvincing Urawa side whose current 1st place has come off the back of four narrow 1-0 victories. These have come against such J1 power houses as JEF (away), Kyoto and Oita (both home). We have nothing to fear, and with over 30000 tickets sold and warm clear weather forecast, Ecopa will be a world away from the rain and wind of last Saturday.

This match is fitting, as it also happens to come just over five years after my S-Pulse debut. April 14th 2004 I made my lonely way up to Nihondaira to witness a cracking 4-3 affair between us and Urawa. A paltry 8354 were there to watch; light years away from more recent match ups between us, which generally sell out.

Well, here's to many more years of the UK Ultras fanzine. It's grown and taken on a life of it's own in the last 12 months, and as I once promised a friend, I'd stay in Japan and keep this blog going until I see S-Pulse lift the J. League title. We may be here a while!
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

S-Pulse vs Kashiwa - at least we didn't lose....

I didn't get to the game today as there is a potential future S-Pulse player growing inside me and I didn't want to get sick from the weather and therefore endanger any possibility of having a UK Ultra in the team one day, but I did manage to watch it on T.V.

Despite saying only a win would be acceptable I find myself relieved with the draw - yet again we went down a goal early on in the second half - yet again more or less due to Nishibe. Why that man seems to be unable to catch the ball instead of batting it away all the time I will never know. We were very lucky it wasn't two when he did exactly the same thing just a little later on, to my sheer disbelief.

Still not entirely convinced with what Kenta is up to... was surprised to see Nishibe in the starting line up after last week, although happy that Johnsen was dropped. When he did come on he looked a bit more ready to fight than before so perhaps that was the kick up the backside he needed - and he was integral to Oka-Chan's goal. The goal was a massive relief and was a nice piece of work between Okazaki, Johnsen and even Hara getting in on the action.

I really want to see Paulo on the park - he's not getting on even as a sub and I really believe given the chance he could be a fantastic addition to the team.

Let's see how Wednesday goes for now, but there is still a long way to go before Kenta and the boys redeem themselves for Black Sunday.

On a side note - WHAT THE HELL were the mid-game adverts all about? I've never been more pissed off by a commercial in my life - football should not be interrupted by anything, least of all people trying to sell me their junk. That's what half time is for, along with running to the loo and for those able to drink, stocking up on 2nd half booze.

S-Pa 1-1 Kashiwa

In short, it was one of those games you come home from just happy you're still alive to tell the tale.

Well done to everyone who braved the wind and rain today. Over four thousand chose to stay home despite having already bought a ticket. Maybe we'll get a roof behind the goal to get more through the gate on rainy days. We can hope!

I took the camera out only briefly

I'm still dripping, so I'm off for a bath. :)

Click here for an excellent airbourne Okachan pic.

Line up:

GK Nishibe

DF Takaki
DF Aoyama
DF Iwashita
DF Kodama

MF Hyodo
MF Edamura
MF Yamamoto
MF Honda

FW Okazaki
FW Nagai

Subs Used:

Hara on for Nagai (63)
Johnsen on for Honda (75)
Tsujio on for Takaki (83)

Links:

Click here to read from another brave soul at 'Daira yesterday, Mike Tuckerman. For a neutral report, click here for The Rising Sun's view of match.

Highlights:

Friday, 24 April 2009

S-Pulse v Kashiwa (Preview)

Reysol are in town (and staying down the road)

After last Sunday's derby debacle nothing, and I mean nothing, but three points is acceptable against the team which replaced Jubilo at the foot of the table.

In what are promising to be challenging conditions, errors could play a bigger part than normal in the outcome, (Yes, Nishibe, I'm looking at you) but there are two things which must be achieved tomorrow. Number one: Johnsen - score a goal. Number two, three points for the home team.

As for team news, there are no new injuries to worry about at least, but we'll have to wait and see if Kenta fields the same eleven as last Sunday. Nagai is fit and available, Paulo is still warming the bench rather too much. I'm no manager, but for what it's worth, here's my tuppence worth: Kaito is fit, Nishibe is a liability - Kenta, sort it.

Well over 14000 tickets have been sold for tomorrow, but how many will brave the weather remains to be seen. If you're heading up to 'Daira, don't forget your waterproofs, it's going to be wet!

Before I sign off, after a traumatic week for us all, a message to the team from the UK Ultras:

S-Pulse is our religion, Nihondaira is our temple. The Kop is our alter, our faith unwavering and eternal. Despite Sunday, we'll be back giving 100% for our team and our city. Make us proud - bring us three points and send us to the top five.

WE BELIEVE!!!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

David killed Goliath... Simple as That?

Since Black Sunday, I've had a little time to calm down, put things in perspective and generally get over it (mostly). Reading back my post from Sunday evening I was absolutely raging (not without due cause), but in hindsight, it was quite possibly just a little bit much.

Of course, the blame must lay squarely with Kenta for his starting line up / tactics / substitutions and what was an absolutely abject performance. But in my eagerness to dismiss Jubilo as mere relegation fodder I was doing ourselves a disservice. There were bigger factors at play on Sunday.

On paper, Little Jubilo have a team more than capable of survival in J1. The inner turmoil at the Yamaha has provided plenty of laughs around Shizuoka over recent years, but it's masked their true potential: that of a solid lower-bottom half team capable of claiming the occasional big scalp.

The dwindling crowds (less than 9000 for a Saturday game? Ouch!) and general lack of interest at the Yamaha have in turn fostered a spirit of the underdog. The years of winning things are long past. The fans know it and the players know it. Playing to more than half empty stadiums has become a matter of course for Little Jubilo, and so when they face off against their prefectural big brothers in a David / Goliath style showdown, it's inevitable they will raise their game.

Hands up - we were caught with our pants down on Sunday and dealt a sucker punch in a classic tale of the underdog. We swaggered in expecting a walk in the park, and we met a team fired up for the game of their lives. It's no coincidence that Little Jubilo's only two league victories of their last ten games both came against us. The derby is their cup final, and we were had fair and square.

So, what can we take away from all this? Well, don't underestimate the little guy. It's easy to disregard those teams scrapping around at the foot of the table, but we have been given a stern lesson, and it's one we have to learn from. Well done to Iwata for a huge achievement - you're no doubt milking it, and you've every right to given what you achieved.

;-)

Weeeeeell, anyway, onwards and upwards! On Saturday we face perpetually unfashionable Kashiwa Reysol, in what is traditionally our lowest crowd of the season. Given we've already sold three thousand more tickets for this than the same fixture last year, that distinction will probably go to another team this time around. My money's on Yamagata.

In a week it's all off to Ecopa again. This time we're using it as a home ground for the first time in three years, and S-Pulse are eager to get as many there as possible. It's for the visit of Urawa, and let's face it, anything less than 20339 and we're going to be left looking rather stupid. Any more than 18500, however, and we'll have bettered what Little Jubilo could manage for the same game in the same stadium, but with the advantage of it not being an hour journey away.

We're handing out leaflets at stations (which I reckon they should do around Iwata station, but there you go) and inviting primary school kids for free and their parents at a discount, so we'll see. The club are clearly using this game as a conciousness building exercise in the west of the prefecture. The aim being to capture the casual, floating footy fan to the orange side of life, and maybe even convert some of the fans deserting Jubilo in droves.

This is all laudable, but the thing is, despite being on a national holiday (Showa Day) we're all back in work for Thursday. Will more people travel all the way out to Fukuroi than would have to Nihondaira? Fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath. Either way, three points would be nice!

I'm setting out an aim of at least eight points from our next four games. We face Kashiwa, Urawa, Hiroshima and Chiba. If we harbour ACL ambitions (and with just cause, we do) then that has to be our target. If we fail to hit that, then it may well be time to talk some more about our man at the helm.

Come on S-Pulse!!!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Iwata 3-0 S-Pulse SHIMIZU: SHAME ON YOU

I'm tired, sunburnt, hoarse, but most of all I'm absolutely fucking disgusted. Getting turned over by second-rate relegation fodder is one thing, but letting your biggest rivals have the time of their lives at your expense is completely bloody unforgivable.

I forget my exact words, but they weren't very polite

One question, Kenta: what the FUCK was that? We're one of the better teams in this league. We've got talent - you only have to look to Iwashita, Paulo, Jungo, Okazaki, Hara, or Nagai for evidence of that. If you're not able to mould these players into a threatening team, one which doesn't get given the run around by a team which hadn't won in nine league games, then you've got to start asking yourself if you're the right man for the job.

Nishibe was at fault for the first (how many times have we said that?), but even at 1-0 we had nothing. Twelve shots for Iwata in the second half to our three. And that was with four strikers on for a good portion of it. Johnsen was ineffective, so why leave him on? It was instead Jungo who was removed for Hara. Then when 2-0 down a defender was taken off for another striker. Minutes later our now non-existent defence was breached to make it three. Game over.

Kenta, the fans gave you and your team - our team - a hell of a barrage of abuse at the end, and I'm hoping you've been pulled up in front of the board to explain what went wrong. I hope you can, and I hope you can fix it, because nothing less than a win at home against Kashiwa (one of only two teams with less points that Iwata) on Saturday is now acceptable. No three points and those who were calling for your head last season will be back loud and clear.

S-Pulse - hang your heads in shame. The whole of Iwata is having one big party tonight while the ten thousand oranges are back at home kicking the cat, throwing the remote control and generally feeling ASHAMED and EMBARRASSED of their team, and it's YOUR fault.

While I'm ranting, Jubilo, you don't get off scot free. Oh, no. Look at the two pictures below taken at exactly the same time and tell me what you see:

What is it that immediately springs out at you? Is there double, triple?, the number of away fans? Come on Jubilo - we had to travel the best part of an hour for this. You're ten minutes - TEN MINUTES - down the line. We had trouble getting seats in the bottom tier over two hours before kick off. An Iwata friend waltzed in at 12:15 and found swathes of empty seating behind their goal. "Embarrassing" was her precise wording.

We did our part by taking thousands of fans to Fukuroi, but if you can barely muster ten thousand of your own number, it's no wonder we're left with a half empty stadium and a measly crowd of 22152. Yeah, you were bottom of the table, but have some freaking pride in your team.

Yeah, we sucked, blew, were generally a steaming shower of shit on the day, but it's patently obvious who Shizuoka's premier supported, and all round classier and superior outfit are. Jubilo, you knows it! Reysol, watch out next week - someone is due a battering, and Kenta's job security may now depend on it.



Read a rather more measured, but no less scathing, report by Mike Tuckerman here.

Not best pleased...

Sums up my feelings about today. After a promising first half where we looked the stronger side, we fell apart in the second. Losing to your nearest rival is never a pleasant experience, but so much less so when its 3-0, which qualifies as a proper gubbing, in my book.

Despite the sunny weather and the home jack as the S-Pa troops easily outranked Jubilo's mob it just wasn't to be our day.

I'm too depressed to analyze the whole match but in short, I don't really understand what Kenta is doing. For weeks now Johnsen has been starting and doing not very much, he always seems to be just a bit too slow and never in the right place at the right time. Nagai finally got a run on today, but I couldn't understand why we restricted our defence in order to have four forwards on the park - I would have taken Johnsen off for Nagai myself.

I find myself feeling similar to last season when Okazaki was perpetually on the bench and Nishizawa was not doing very much - wondering if Kenta realized the potential talent he has sitting there not getting the chance to do anything. Paulo is a solid player, good at creating chances and while he is useless in the box, if we played him in midfield he could create more opportunities for Okazaki. Seems to me that Yamamoto isn't cutting it, and Oka-chan is spending a lot of his time trying to create and score goals. We have a solid bunch of talented players, so why isn't Kenta making the most of them?

Nishibe.... hrm. While the second and third goals can't be pinned on him the first certainly can. I don't understand why he got his first team place back - he wsa dropped last year for Kaito who consistently put in good performances until he was injured. Why does injury apparently mean losing your first team place? Surely once he recovered, as he apparently has, he should have been reinstated?

And what about Genki? He seems to have vanished from even the bench completely...

I could moan all day and all night really. I've been annoyed by team selection for a while but when it really starts affecting results it seems so much more serious.

Come on, Kenta, sort it out - and I hope there are some bollockings going on at Nihondaira / Miho this week.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Shizuoka Derby: Jubilo v S-Pulse (Preview)

The 2009 away Shizuoka Derby. It's a game which came within a whisker of never being. Had J2 Vegalta Sendai put it in in added time last December, this game would not be taking place. To the heartbreak of S-Pulse fans the world over, the dark side of Shizuoka prevailed in that relegation play off, but it's already turned out that it was all for the best.
Yup
While Jammy Jubilo somehow clung onto their J1 status against J2 opposition, we didn't have to wait long for their first public humiliation of 2009. When it came it didn't disappoint. On match day number one, Iwata were destroyed at home by J1 new boys Montedio Yamagata in that now famous 6-2 demolition job. While still only five games into the season, Jubilo are rock bottom with no wins and thirteen conceded.

hahahahaha

This makes lovely reading for all right thinking S-Pulse supporters, and with the sun set to shine over Ecopa Stadium tomorrow, things are looking perfectly poised for classic derby and with all three points for the S-Pa. Johnsen's height should prove too much for the Jubilo defence (I use the term loosely) to handle, and with Okazaki on fire and Nagai waiting in the wings, things are looking good for a team aiming for a 4th straight win and 4th straight clean sheet.


Did I mention Jubilo's main hope up front, scorer of four of their five goals this year, and all round diving wanker, Gilsinho is out suspended? I didn't? Well he his is. Did I also mention we've sold more tickets than the home team? No? Well, as of yesterday, we have.

Pretty much all that's left is for our eleven orange heroes to go out and assert our self evident superiority over Iwata, send ourselves up into the top three, and at the same time leave the scum even further adrift at the foot of the table. The first Shizuoka Derby of 2009 is here - come on lads, don't let us down!!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Amazing J! A Red Card Record for the J. League

Well, it is one of the most exciting leagues in the world. It therefore wasn't too much of a surprise to see a new professional league record set on Wednesday night (April 15th, 2009).

The dubious honour of the fastest ever red card in professional football history goes to Tokyo Verdy midfielder Tomo Sugawara. The J2 game between Verdy and Sagan Tosu was barely nine seconds old when the referee blew for a deliberate foul on a Tosu striker through on goal.



A paltry 3043 fans were rattling around inside the 50000 seater Ajinomoto Stadium to witness the professional football record of Giuseppe Lorenzo's have a couple of seconds shaved off. Lorenzo had seen red after just ten seconds while playing for Bologna in 1990.

The fastest ever red card (professional or otherwise) came in a 2008 English non-league game when David Pratt got sent off after three seconds in the Southern Football League.

Despite the early bath for Sugawara, Verdy went on to run out 2-0 winners.

Monday, 13 April 2009

UK Ultras T-Shirts On Sale Now!

You've read the fanzine, now own the T-Shirt!

As you may remember, yours truly has been beavering away as and when time permitted trying to come up with a decent design for a UK Ultras t-shirt. I'm now happy to announce the release of something of simple beauty and breathtaking style: the first official apparel of the UK Ultras supporter group!

They are available in black, white and S-Pulse orange. Black and white also come in women's sizes. We use Prinfection to power our online store, so click here to have a look. There is no mark up on any of the shirts, and all prices are the absolute base as set by Printfection.

Black and white (front)
Black and white (back)

I may not have a degree in graphic design, but sometimes simple is best, and I think they look pretty smart. :) We've already produced around twenty which have gone to to eager UKU members, and we have a load more on order. Feel free to join the fun and order yours today!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

S-Pa 1-0 Kawasaki

S-Pa 1-0 Kawasaki Frontale
Okazaki (16)

Att: 17256

Some days are just made for football. Some days, to be anywhere else other than behind the goal at Nihondaira, ice-cold beer in hand, would be a crime. Today was sunny, hot, and the crowds were out in force for an action packed game, and a massive three points for S-Pulse.

Few places I'm happier than under the giant flag at 'Daira

We started the game with Hara partnering Johnsen at the top. Okazaki was in midfield, but he moved back to the familiar territory of up front after Hara was subbed at half time for Jungo. It only took Okazaki 16 minutes to grab the only goal of the day, and ensure his third straight game with a goal. A good picture of a celebrating Okachan can be seen here along with some more official pictures.

The goal was a cracking header and it came off a pinpoint Hara cross. The goal should by rights have never been. Only a totally inexplicable (and for the S-Pulse fans behind the goal who got a front row view, totally hilarious) falling over of Kawasaki's number 26 led to Hara gaining possession and getting his excellent cross in. Okachan, as befits his national team member status, made no mistake in slamming it down low past the keeper. Not long later, another fall from a blue and black defender almost let us in to make it 2-0, but we didn't capitalise.

We had several more chances in the first 45 but they all ultimately came to naught. These included Junpei finding himself through on the keeper much like in the Kyoto cup game, but he could finish it this time around.
First half free kick action for us

Kawasaki are no slouches, and the team that won 5-0 in midweek (albeit against relatively weak opposition) will probably feel hard done by to not have got an equaliser. They are a fast moving, dangerous outfit, and when in full motion they had me hiding behind my flag for fear of what might be coming. Our defence held firm for the most part, but on a couple of occasions we got away with murder when inability to deal with the advancing blues had them swamping our penalty area.

Yajima back at 'Daira - He got booed and didn't score :)

We went close a couple of times in the second half, even hitting the woodwork at one stage, but when the whistle went it was a great deal of relief that swept around the stadium. Today was a big, big three points. Frontale will be there or thereabouts come December, and they gave us a hell of a test today. See how they pushed it right to the wire with this video of the last minute:



We've now won three in a row, with none conceded and in fact have let in the joint least of anyone in J1. We have strength in depth in midfield and attack, and our back line is pretty solid. Next week is the derby, and three points there will put us anywhere up to 2nd - as if destroying Jubilo isn't motivation enough! See you all at Ecopa then!

Line up!

GK Nishibe

DF Takaki
DF Aoyama
DF Iwashita
DF Kodama

MF Hyodo
MF Edamura
MF Yamamoto
MF Okazaki

FW Johnsen
FW Hara

Subs Used:

Fujimoto on for Hara (HT)
Ito on for Edamura (75)
Paulo on for Hyodo (83)

Videos!

Full Highlights:



Okazaki's goal (personal cam). Sadly, the comical fall by their number 26 isn't included.



Loco Loco, joined in for the first time by the players! :)



More of the same, but this one shows just how Palchan managed to convince half the team to join in. :)



Read Mike Tuckerman's report of the game here.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Kobe 0-1 S-Pa

Kobe 0-1 S-Pulse
Okazaki (62)

Att: 10020

Line Up:

GK Nishibe

DF Takaki
DF Aoyama
DF Iwashita
DF Kodama

MF Hyodo
MF Edamura
MF Yamamoto
MF Fujimoto

FW Okazaki
FW Johnsen

Subs Used:

Paulo on for Fujimoto (73)
Ito on for Edamura (77)
Ota on for Hyodo (89)

We didn't head out to Kobe, but we did troop over to Shimizu to watch it on the big screen. Despite 31 shots on goal, my mind kept wandering mid-game to all manner of other things. For some reason it just wasn't the most gripping of games. First three points of the season though, and any win away from home is a good result.

No time to write a real report, so a few bullet points to be going on with:

  • Okazaki's goal came from a corner, expertly headed back across goal by Johnsen
  • Hyodo made too many errors for my liking
  • Paulo again looked a class apart after coming on late on
  • Jungo started his first league game since his injury and played most of it
  • Okazaki did exactly what I was moaning about recently to run the clock down
  • Kobe hit the bar, we hit the post, and Paulo would have scored had Okazaki passed late on
  • The ref was a little card happy IMHO
  • Otsukaresama to each and every one of our fans who made the trip out west today - you did S-Pulse proud!

Here are the official pics (including a cracking one of an airborne, celebrating Okachan). I'm yet to find any proper TV coverage online of this one, but here's a personal video (from a Kobe fan by the looks of it) which has a few highlights, including an OK shot of our goal:



Here's a personal video taken after the final whistle including Loco Loco from around 5 minutes:



:)