Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Kashima Antlers 2-1 S-Pulse (Nab Cup Group Stage)

Barry Barry writes

Kashima Antlers 2-1 S-Pulse
Osako 75, 90  ------------------------------------- Ito 14

Att. 6207

Line Up

GK Yamamoto (89)

DF Yoshida
DF Kang
DF Jong a Pin
DF Tachibana

MF Muramatsu (86)
MF Hattanada
MF Edamura

FW Ito
FW Shirasaki
FW Shibahara

Subs Used

Kawai on for Hattanda (HT)
Omae on for Shibahara (63)
Franca on for Shirasaki (71)

Report

As expected, a very young team was sent out to face Kashima this evening in an ultimately meaningless game. Meaningless by dint of us leading the group with five wins from five and progression to the knock out stages already secured.

Losing to a last minute goal is never fun, but really, for the team we put out (average age 22.9) we can be more than happy with the way they performed. Good to see Ito on the score sheet. He's been getting a lot of stick lately, but I know he wants to perform, so every little helps him get back on track.

As previously tweeted, our knock out stage games are against Nagoya, to be played July 25th and August 8th, the home leg being first.

But enough about us, tonight belongs to Jubilo Iwata.

Group A before kick off
All they had to do to secure progression was to avoid defeat. Hell, they could even afford to lose if Cerezo and Tosu ended in a draw. As it was they got taken apart 4-0, and Cerezo thrashed Tosu five to nothing. Jubilo crash out on goal difference in the most spectacular of circumstances and give us all a good laugh. :)

Videos

Highlights.

Really soft decision for the (1st) Kashima penalty. The players bumped, and the ref calls a spot kick. :-/

Really soft decision for the (2nd) Kashima penalty. Kaito times his tackle perfectly,  gets the ball before man, and the ref calls a spot kick. :-/ And gives Kaito a yellow card. Poor refereeing from Masaaki Toma.


Masaaki Toma - he blew it

Sunday, 24 June 2012

S-Pulse 1-1 Tosu

Barry Barry writes

S-Pulse 1-1 Tosu
Omae 25 (PK) ------------ Ikda 56

Att. 17696

Line Up

GK Hayashi

DF Yoshida
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong a Pin
DF Lee

MF Muramatsu
MF Sugiyama
MF Kawai

FW Omae
FW Takahara
FW Takagi

Subs Used

Ono on for Takagi (61)
Brosque on for Takahara (73)
Shirasaki on for Muramatsu (79)   

Report

Once in a while I like to take a break from the samba-infused craziness behind the goal and watch from the reserved seats on the side. It's a completely different experience, not least the time you get to concentrate on the game, and the fact you don't have to turn up four hours before kick off to secure your favourite seat. Can see myself graduating to the side stand one day. Not just yet, though. 

Depending on how you look at it, Saturday extended our unbeaten run at home, or was our fifth game without a win. Both is true, but the latter was the one felt most keenly. Tosu are a very hard team to beat, and anyone expecting a pushover was 1) ill informed, and 2) in for a surprise.

Very unsurprising to this viewer was Sagan's physical strength and hard work. They are organised and watching them live it's easy to see why they've established themselves as a J1 team. Unlike Sapporo who finished just one point behind them last year (so far this season: P15 W1 D1 L13), they will certainly be around in the top flight next year.

Following a start which didn't really allow us to play our game, we took the lead after a needless handling in the area brought a spot kick. Genki duly converted for S-Pulse's 999th league goal, and settled some of the nerves around a near sold out Nihondaira.

I should say here that maybe it was just the hope of all concerned to see our 1000th goal on home soil, but the weight of expectation was tangible and surely must be felt by the players. I certainly sensed it and it just added to the nerves. At 1-0 you're never save, and so it proved. "Good for Tosu! They've come such a long way!" came the analysis from my right hand side when the visitors pulled level. That's what you get when you take someone along for only their second game in a decade. It was ultimately a goal from a mistake, but on balance you couldn't begrudge them it.

When Ono and Brosque came on we were re-energised with a flurry of attacking in the final third (of the pitch and game), but we lacked that little bit of luck, and with such dogged defenders such as Tosu (along with us and league leaders Sendai, Tosu have conceded the second least of anyone in J1) it was always going to be a mission.

So another draw but no need to panic. We're not playing badly, just going through a bit of a dry spell. Next week it's off to Omiya who found their own defensive feet away at high flying Hiroshima with a 0-0 draw. A win could see us right back in the running, but before that, up to Kashima in a league cup dead rubber. We're both already through to the next round, so expect some youth and experimentation.

 Kick off
 
 Home end
 
View from the expensive seats
Decent support from Tosu

Videos

Personal vid of our first, Genki's penalty, from handball to spot kick.



Tosu's goal taken off the TV by someone.

Monday, 18 June 2012

J. Soccer Magazine - On Sale Nationwide!

Barry Barry writes

The brainchild of Alan Gibson (read all about the man himself here) J. Soccer Magazine has gone nationwide - by which I mean the 'zine previously only available to order online is now on sale in a book shop (in Japan) near you. Congratulations!

 J. Soccer nestling amongst other football magazines in Yajimaya, Shizuoka

The magazine is the first on the shelves fully bilingual and with the lion's share of writers from overseas. This gives it a unique perspective on football in Japan. And that's all aspects of football covered; not just the J. League. If you've yet to have the pleasure (the first three issues are available online alongside the new issue 4, here) then what are you waiting for?

As if you need any more reason to snap one up, yours truly has an article on (you guessed it) Japanese stadia covering four full colour, bilingual pages.
Several gratuitous S-Pulse mentions shoehorned in :)

Coming in the next issue is an S-Pulse extravaganza with extended features and an interview with our boss, but why wait until issue 5? Join the party today!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Niigata 1-0 S-Pulse

Barry Barry writes


Niigata 1-0 S-Pulse
Fujita 39

Att 23797

Line Up

GK Hayashi

DF Yoshida
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong a Pin
DF Lee

MF Muramatsu
MF Sugiyama (27)
MF Kawai

FW Omae
FW Takagi
FW Brosque

Subs Used

Tsuijo (59) on for Yoshida (56)
Ono on for Takagi (62)
Franca on for Omae (76)

Report

The first half was, as I tweeted, embarrassingly one sided. Our domination was almost total. Then a smash and grab goal from the home team in the 39th minute. It came as a massive blow, and was to turn out to be the difference.

More to come later.

Videos

Highlights.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

S-Pulse 3-1 Omiya (Nab Cup Group Stage)

Barry Barry writes

S-Pulse 3-1 Omiya
Hiraoka 41------------------ Hasegawa 36
Omae 72 (pen)
Shirasaki 88

Att 10596

Line Up

GK Yamamoto

DF Yoshida
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong a Pin
DF Lee

MF Muramatsu
MF Kobayashi

FW Kawai
FW Omae
FW Ishige
FW Takahara

Subs Used

Sugiyama on for Kobayashi (63)
Takagi on for Takahara (63)
Shirasaki on for Ishige (82)

Report

A mate's birthday yesterday with roughly three beers for each of the goals the national team put past Jordan meant today was something of a mission. I got to Nihondaira a mere five minutes before kick off and spent most the game struggling to stay upright, let alone samba.

The win maintains our perfect Nabisco campaign with five wins from five, 11 goals scored and only two conceded. The three points also confirms our progression to the knock out stage with one game (away to Kashima) left to play.

Our third goal (which I missed, having left on 80 minutes to get to something on the other side of town) came from Shirasaki. It was the first goal from the youngster, and I'm gutted I missed it, but made up that he's opened his account with us.

More to come tomorrow. I'm exhausted and am off to bed.

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

We started the game the better, and could have taken the lead a couple of times before Omiya surprised everyone with the opener. The response was almost immediate, as a perfect Lee freekick swung into the area was met by Hiraoka. He rose unchallenged to head home. To not go in at half time 1-0 down was a major advantage, and the second half was a a different game as a result.

Omae was taken down from behind as he chased a ball one on one with the Omiya keeper. To be fair, it didn't look to me like he was going to make it (I'd have to see it again to be sure) but Fukaya sensed enough danger to attempt a challenge. The result was a penalty and a straight red card. The defender was absolutely livid and had to be removed from the pitch by his own team mates.

 
Penalty

Omae converted the spot kick and the game was looking all ours. A few minutes after we took the lead I had to leave Nihondaira early (first time ever!) to get to a previous arrangement, so I missed the cherry on top of the victory, a first ever goal for teenager Shirasaki. From the video it looks like he did really well, so top marks that man.

The win puts us through to the knock outs, with the games due to happen on July 25th and August 8th, both Wednesdays. Barring a three goal defeat away to Kashima on the 27th, we're going to finish top of the group. Not sure who that means we'll be playing yet, but will tweet it as soon as I know.

So well done to the boys, and may our perfect campaign continue for four more ties. :)


Videos

First, in brilliant slow motion, the goals.



More personal videos, in normal speed. First, Hiraoka's equaliser. Not from a corner as I tweeted, and not from Omae's cross either.



Genki's penalty.



Shirasaki's goal.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sapporo 0-4 S-Pulse (Nab Cup Group Stage)

 Barry Barry writes

Sapporo 0-4 S-Pulse
------------------------------------ Kawai 2
------------------------------------ Lee 6
------------------------------------ Ishige 57
------------------------------------ Sugiyama 78
Att.3687

Line Up

GK Yamamoto

DF Yoshida
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong a Pin
DF Lee

MF Muramatsu
MF Sugiyama
MF Kobayashi
MF Kawai

FW Omae
FW Takagi

Subs Used

Ishige on for Kobayashi (HT)
Tsujio on for Yoshida (66)
Muramatsu on for Omae (85)

Report

S-Pulse swept past this year's J1 whipping boys Consadole Sapporo 4-0 at Atsubestsu Park this evening. The win makes it four our of four in 2012's Nabisco Cup group stage, and (barring Niigata winning both remaining games 3-0 and us losing both ours) secures a place in the knock outs with two games to play.

Top, top work from the lads. Our league cup teams have included a blend of youngsters, débutantes and some older heads. We've scored 8 and only conceded one. Today's four goals included strikes from the unlikely sources of Lee, Kawai, Sugiyama and most notably the Asian young player of the year, Hideki Ishige.

 Hats off! This lot deserve a beer or three

Now here's to a safe journey back to Shizuoka tomorrow, and a relaxing game on Saturday at home to Omiya. Omiya are already out, we're effectively through, so we can expect the kids starting and hopefully some more goals like those that rewarded the travelling diehards in Hokkaido tonight. :)

Videos

Highlights! Check out the controlling touches and finisher's instinct for Ishige's goal. Pretty confident stuff from the 17 year old.