Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hiroshima 2-1 S-Pulse (Nab Cup 1/2 Final 1st Leg)

BarryBarry writes:

Hiroshima 2-1 S-Pulse
Lee 55 ------------------------------Edamura 76
Takahagi 68

Att. 5034

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Tsujio (yellow 36)
DF Hiraoka
DF Bosnar
DF Ota

MF M. Yamamoto
MF Ito
MF Hyodo

FW Omae
FW Hara
FW Edamura

Subs Used

Honda on for Hyodo (60)
Okazaki on for Omae (64)
Nagasawa on for Hara (81)

Report

Had it ended 2-0, that would have been that, but Edamura's latish strike ensures we can go into the second leg with every chance of progression. Not that you'd have known it the way the home team were dancing around at full time. Perhaps no one told them it's a two-legged affair.

Anyway, for what was a pretty mediocre performance all round, 2-1 was probably more than we deserved, so I'll grab it with both hands. Omae showed flashes of his high school days brilliance, in particular early in the game he ran at, and beat, three back-peddling defenders, but was finally crowded out when he went for the shot. So he wasn't able to get on the score sheet, but this wasn't all down to him - a large percentage of our forward movement broke down before it got anywhere near the top three due to lazy, sloppy unforced errors.

I'm yet to understand Kenta's fascination with Nagasawa. Johnsen wasn't even on the bench in favour of the two youngsters Nagasawa Shun and Ito Sho. Shun was on for the last 14 minutes of play and managed to get caught off side twice and, seemingly hoping the ref was temporarily blind, control a cross with his arm. If we are insistent on using second string players in games of this import (yes, I know we have Antlers on Saturday, but no Ono even on the bench?), can we try Ito Sho (who has several years experience in Europe to his name) next time?

So not vintage S-Pulse by any means, and if we're to get to Tokyo we have to win at home in ten days. Any win to nil will do. 2-1 will mean extra time. Any other win must be by two clear goals, or we're out on away goals. In short, we're in exactly the same position we found ourselves last year against Urawa. The result? 3-0 to us.

The big match is October 10th, kick off 3pm. It's my birthday the next day (feel free to buy me a beer at the ground), so come on S-Pulse, let's have a another cup final Big Day Out!

WE BELIEVE!!!


Videos

Highlights of S-Pulse (none of those nasty Hiroshima goals). You can skip the first three and a half minutes.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Fans United Japan? Verdy in Need!

BarryBarry writes:

Who were the winners of the first two J. League seasons and runners up in the third? Who made off with the first three Nabisco Cups and the 1996 Emperor's Cup? Kashima? Gamba? Marinos? No, no and no.

You won't find the answer in J1, as they're currently in J2 playing in front of (if they're lucky) 4000 fans, 21000 less than they were used to in the 90s. Arise Tokyo Verdy. The well documented problems at the Ajonomoto Stadium go back several years, but things are coming to a head. The club needs a buyer, or may go to the wall.

November 14th has been selected at the culmination of the Save Our Verdy campaign with the aim of demonstrating to potential buyers that there is a future for the greens. Central to this is getting more than 4000 people into the cavernous Ajinomoto Stadium.

Nerdy over on his namesake website is spreading the word, and for me, as someone who has nearly seen his own local club wound up, this is something pretty close to home. Part of the campaign to help save Brighton was a Fans United day in 1997 where supporters from all other teams were invited to The Goldstone to show their support. The result was a packed stadium, a huge amount of publicity, and renewed momentum to the campaign which ultimately saw the Albion under new owners and (after a few years) even winning things.

I'd love to see something like this happen for Verdy in November. Yes, we're all rivals, but where would you be in a league by yourself? And no supporters should be deprived of their team. Maybe the locals need to be reminded of what they stand to lose, and some would-be buyer companies certainly need to be shown how positive a thing a well run football team can be - as a business and as a corner stone of the local community.

The destruction of Yokohama Flügels was nothing short of a disgrace, being dissolved from under the fans' feet before they were given a chance of securing a new future. As Yokohama FC proved, there's no reason they couldn't have done so, and Verdy are no different. They have a future given the chance.

So if you're in Tokyo on November 14th, or even if you're not, get yourself down the Ajinomoto - swell the gate and sing up for Verdy! Sod's law being what it is, S-Pulse have a game that day, but I'm tempted to make the trip to the capital to show my support. Even if I don't make it, I'm 100% behind any campaign to make sure Japan doesn't lose another team.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

S-Pulse 1-5 Nagoya

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 1-5 Nagoya
Edamura 47 -------------- Tamada 50, 62, 71
----------------------------------Kennedy 58, 83

Att. 19496

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Hiraoka
DF Iwashita (red 69)
DF Bosnar
DF Ota (yellow 8)

MF Hyodo
MF Honda
MF Ono

FW Okazaki
FW Johnsen
FW Fujimoto

Subs Used

Edamura on for Fujimoto (25)
M. Yamamoto on for Ono (68)
Tsujio on for Hiraoka (68)

Report

Faith: You know you're gonna live thru the rain
Lord you got to keep the faith
Faith: Don't let your love turn to hate
Right now we got to keep the faith!

Not my words, the words of John Francis Bongiovi. And who are we to argue with the multi-million selling god of mild rock? The fact is, our chances of a first J. League title are now pretty slim, and barring an apocalyptic collapse aka Urawa in 2007, Nagoya should be champions come December.

Any Nagoya disaster would of course have to come in tandem with an S-Pulse winning streak akin to what Kashima put together in '07 in pipping Urawa to the title, and who can honestly see that happening? So while a league title is pretty unlikely, an ACL spot is still a very real possibility and has to be the goal. But hey, this is the J. League where crazy stuff happens, so we're teaming up with Bon Jovi and are keeping the faith!

The league apart, we've got a league cup semi final to think about, and given the Nabisco is currently our best chance of silverware, we should be putting EVERYTHING into Wednesday's game with Hiroshima. No Nagasawa up front, please. No Ono on the bench, please. No half measures, for goodness sake.

Your guess is as good as mine

So what about Saturday? The difference was finishing. Much like our game earlier in the year with Sendai, there actually wasn't a great deal to choose between the teams, either in the first half or in the second up to Iwashita's sending off. Up until Keisuke's red for pulling down a red on his route to goal, the then 3-1 scoreline was still a mountain not impossible to climb. (EDIT - having finally brought myself to watch the replay, it's clear contact was minimal, the striker went down - dived - like a sack of shit, and Bosanr was still available to attempt a final tackle meaning he wasn't clear through on goal. A red card was not the right decision. The referee clearly made a bad call.) But not only were we then down to ten men, they went and scored from the freekick. 4-1 behind and a man down? Yep, there are better situations to be in.
The reds roll into Shimizu

It was all about Nagoya's prowess in front of goal. Our handful of chances went agonizingly wide, including one at 2-1 which preluded the visitor's third goal by just a few minutes. We took the lead through substitute Edamura who had replaced Fujimoto early in the game, but Nagoya replied almost straight away, and then wasted not much time in taking the lead. After that it was all a bit of blur, with Iwashita's red (and the following goal) the end of the game as a contest. But despite the horrendous scoreline, at 11 v 11 we were at no point completely overrun. We obviously have to be better against Kashima on Saturday, but I don't expect another baseball score.
Word

So in summery, a bloody nightmare. But, bollocks, what's done is done, and now it's all about Wednesday. Forget about playing the defending champs until Thursday.

Videos


Friday, 24 September 2010

S-Pulse v Nagoya - SOLD OUT

BarryBarry writes:

Tomorrow's game with Nagoya is now completely sold out.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Emp Cup 3rd Rnd Date Change

BarryBarry writes:

Something I forgot to mention recently was that because of our appearance in the semi final of the Nabisco Cup, our Emperor's Cup 3rd round clash with Mito Hollyhock has been pushed back to Wednesday, October 13th, kick off 7pm.

And while I'm here, let me state the level of importance in which I hold this cup semi final. 2008 we had the BDO to end all BDOs. Up early, trooping off to Tokyo, beers in the sunshine, laughs with friends, painting the national stadium orange. It was the best away day bar none, but it ended in tears.



Last year we were one game away from getting another pop at it, but stumbled. This year, let's not fall at the second to last hurdle. Let's beat Hiroshima, and reward our travelling thousands with another cup final BDO. And this time let's WIN THE THING!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Urawa 1-1 S-Pulse

BarryBarry writes:

Urawa 1-1 S-Pulse
Edmilson 19 ----------Okazaki 38

Att. 38909

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Bosnar (yellow 41)
DF Ota

MF Ono
MF Honda
MF Hyodo

FW Okazaki
FW Johnsen
FW Fujimoto

Subs Used

M. Yamamoto on for Fujimoto (68)
Edamura on for Ono (74)
Hara on for Okazaki (85)

Report

None, because I'm busy!

Not a fantastic result against 10th placed also-rans Urawa, but it's certainly good to stop the rot after last weekend. The home team will no doubt be more happy with a point against high flying opposition, but despite us missing the chance to close the gap on Nagoya (who stumbled at home to a draw) any away point is valuable. Draw away and win at home and you win the league. Next at home? Nagoya. If you're going to go, then get your ticket now - there are only 2000 left.

-----------------------------------------------------

Sunday update:

I have a few minutes, so just to put on record that Nishibe, while he's prone to the odd howler every now and again, has been solid as a rock in the last couple of games, and has been pretty good all year. With Kaito out of first team contention for the foreseeable, Nishibe has stepped (back) up to the plate and has 1) kept us in the Nabisco Cup, and 2) stopped a couple of cracking shots in this game.

Okazaki's control and finish on his equaliser are top drawer. Check the highlights below. It's worth watching a couple of times in slow motion to appreciate how good his touch was from Jungo's cross to set it up for his volley home.

Videos

Full highlights


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Omiya 3-0 S-Pulse

BarryBarry writes:

Omiya 3-0 S-Pulse
Rafael 45
Mato 62
Lee 73
Tsubouchi sent off 84

Att. 12888

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata

MF Ono
MF Honda
MF Hyodo

FW Okazaki
FW Nagasawa
FW Fujimoto

Subs Used

M. Yamamoto on for Ono (HT)
Johnsen on for Nagasawa (56)
Ota on for Arata (72)

Report

Don't ask me, I'm just a fan, but no Bosnar to counter the huge Rafael? What? Ono being pulled off at half time? Why? Nagasawa taking Johnsen's place at the spearhead of our attack? Errr, seriously?

We lost and fully deserved to. Omiya's third I could see coming a mile off, as we were caught back peddling allowing Lee to latch on to piercing through ball. Their second came from the lanky Croatian Mato, whereas the first was courtesy of Rafael.

We should have had one after a clean-through Okazaki was kicked to the ground. A red card followed for Tsubouchi and it was the least he deserved. Not that one goal would have really made much difference, but it did leave a slightly bitter taste in the mouth.

Nothing's over yet, and there's a long way to go. On the 15th we're back in Saitama for Urawa. I suppose if anything, playing a bunch of mid-table also-rans should probably be easier than a team fighting for J1 survival. And today should serve as a kick up the backside, so expect better things next week.

Fair play to Omiya, though. I'd prefer to see them stay up, and if they can knock out a few more performances like today, they should manage it. Frontale lost 3-1 at home, and C. Osaka failed to pick up three points. Fingers crossed Kashima also stutter at home to Sendai. Nagoya will go seven points clear with a win against Yamagata tomorrow. 12 games to go.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

S-Pulse 0-0 FC Tokyo (Nab Cup 1/4 Final 2nd Leg)

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 0-0 FC Tokyo

Agg: 1-1 (S-Pulse win on away goals)

Att. 5683

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Hiraoka
DF Ota

MF Ito
MF Honda
MF Ono

FW Hyodo
FW Johnsen
FW Edamura

Subs Used

M. Yamamoto on for Edamura (68)
Hara on for Ono (80)
Nagasawa on for Johnsen (89)

Report

Well, if you're going to travel over 6000 miles for a 0-0, it had better be a good one. Luckily for me, it was, and while we rode our luck one, two, three - I lose count how many times, Nishibe played a blinder, we didn't concede, and we go through on away goals.

Full time
Tokyo will feel they should have won this - and on shots and chances, they should. They hit the bar and post I forget how many times (that said, we also rattled the woodwork once or twice) but just couldn't find a way through. As time went on, their desperation started to tell as the mistimed balls and over-hit passes increased in number.

Kenta thinks things over with Kazuaki

For our part, we were without both Okazaki and Fujimoto, whose 19 goals between them have seen them both called up to the national team, so with the untried top three of Hyodo, Johnsen and Edamura, I guess things were always going to be a bit on the slow side. We did carve out a few good chances, and Teru had a good game. He'll play to see his 500th appearance yet.
Take a bow - now win the semi!!
We'll meet Hiroshima in the semi finals. Leg one is September 29th in Hiroshima (Wed, 7pm). Leg two is October 10th in Shimizu (Sun, 3pm).

Monday, 6 September 2010

S-Pulse 2-0 Honda FC (Emp Cup 2nd Rnd)

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 2-0 Honda FC
Hara 74
Nagasawa 92

Att. 3739

Report

A reserve S-Pulse XI moved past local side Honda FC earlier today.

In the 3rd round we'll play J2 side Mito Hollyhock. The game will be at Nihondaira, Saturday October 9th. Kick off at 1pm.

Videos

Hara's opener:



Nagasawa makes it two:

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

FC Tokyo 1-1 S-Pulse (Nab Cup 1/4 Final 1st Leg)

BarryBarry writes:

FC Tokyo 1-1 S-Pulse
Morishige 79 ----------------- Okazaki 68

Att. 12510

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Tsujio (yellow 54)
DF Iwashita
DF Hiraoka
DF Ota

MF Hyodo
MF Honda
MF Ito

FW Okazaki
FW Johnsen
FW Fujimoto

Subs Used

Edamura on for Okazaki (75)
Bosnar on for Tsujio (81)
M. Yamamoto on for Hyodo (86)

Report

A 1-1 draw away in Tokyo means we can get through in the 2nd leg with either a 0-0 draw or a win. 1-1 would mean extra time, any higher scoring draw would put us out, and a defeat would also spell the end of this year's Nabisco Cup adventure. Clear? Good. I'm off to watch my other footballing love, Brighton and Hove Albion, play Leyton Orient in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. Seriously, the glamour never stops.