Saturday, 29 September 2012

S-Pulse 3-1 Sendai

Barry Barry writes 

S-Pulse 3-1 Sendai
Kim 70, 92 ----------------- Sugai 14
Senamu 84

Att 12131

Line Up

GK Hayashi

DF Miyoshi
DF Kawai
DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Hiraoka
DF Lee (75)

MF Hattanda
MF Sugiyama

FW Omae
FW Kim (56)
FW Ishige

Subs Used

Senuma on for Miyoshi (65)
Yoshida on for Omae (95)
Shirasaki on for Ishige (96)

Report

Blimey, that's four wins taken off the two best teams in the country. Hiroshima and Sendai done both home and away. Credit where it's due as that is no small accomplishment.

A couple of changes with Hayashi back between the sticks the most noticeable. Kaito hasn't been playing badly, so I guess it's just another chance for Hayashi to stake a claim to the keeper spot. New signing Miyoshi made his first start, and Hattanda was back in midfield.

Sendai, going for the title and one of the higher scoring teams in the league, were limited to just three shots all game, with none whatsoever in the second half. The visitors lost Kamata to two yellows in five minutes around the hour mark, and that undoubtedly effected the outcome.

Kim got his first goal, predictably from his head, on the 70th minute. It had been coming since he joined and he was unlucky that he had to wait so long. He doubled his tally deep in injury time with a cheeky lob from just outside the centre circle. Lovely stuff!

Senuma made it two from two appearances with a well headed in effort from a corner. He's still a student and not with us full time until next season, so he must be setting some new S-Pulse history right now.

Very good result against a good team, and it bodes well considering we've just lost Brosque. This is a young team finding its feet and only going to get better. Bring on the scum on Saturday!! A win could put us 4th!

Videos

Highlights if you're outside Japan: (if you're in Japan, click here.)


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Brosque signs for Al-Ain

Barry Barry writes 

As you all know by now, Alex Brosque has signed for Al-Ain in the UAE. You'll be able to find more details on Twitter over the next few days as figures are revealed.

I'll keep it short as I'm off to England, but the money we'll get from this, plus Ono's vast wages and Takahara's similarly high remuneration will mean enough for three or four high quality youngsters. You only have to look at Lee, Hayashi, Jong a Pin and Brosque himself for some of the talent brought in on Ghotbi's watch.

Not to say this isn't a big blow, it is, but it's just one player. We're creating a team that doesn't rely on those who will be leaving in January (or before). The extra money, spent well, brings big opportunities.

OK, better finish packing.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cerezo Osaka 3-2 S-Pulse

Barry Barry writes 

Cerezo Osaka 3-2 S-Pulse
Kempes 20 -------------------------------- Omae 9
Kakitani 45+2 ---------------------------- Brosque 70
Simplício 88

Att. 15302

Line Up

GK Yamamoto

DF Kawai
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Lee

MF Muramatsu (47)
MF Sugiyama
MF Brosque

FW Omae
FW Kim (45)
FW Hattanda

Subs Used

Ishige on for Hattanda (64)
Sho on for Muramatsu (90)

Report 

Cerezo were a team with a mission. They'd just watched their relegation rivals Gamba Osaka and Omiya Ardija win 5-0. To be fair Osaka's passing when it mattered was dangerous and penetrating, and that was where their goals came from.

Onwards and upwards. Home to league title hopefuls Sendai this Saturday. I'll be in England from Friday, so the blog update may be erratic for the next couple of weeks. Please bare with us! Saturday's game is at 5am UK time, so jetlag permitting I may even be up for live Twitter ranting and raving.

Videos

Full highlights.

Monday, 17 September 2012

S-Pulse 1-1 FC Tokyo

Barry Barry writes 

S-Pulse 1-1 FC Tokyo
Omae 41 ------------------- Vučićević 59

Att. 13714

Line Up

GK Yamamoto

DF Kawai
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong-a-Pin (63)
DF Lee

MF Sugiyama
MF Muramatsu
MF Hattanada (72)

FW Omae
FW Ishige
FW Kim

Subs Used

Brosque on for Ishige (57)
Shirasaki on for Hattanda (74)
Ito on for Muramatsu (85)

Report

Starting with a whine, but got to get this off my chest: With the exception of Kashiwa Reysol, FC Tokyo are the absolute worst for claiming free kicks and complaining when they don't get them. It got to the point of farce the number of times blue and red arms were outstretched in hopeful appeal. Gonda in the away goal got a yellow precisely for prolonged remonstration about something or another. Consider the manner in which they won the recent cup semi final first leg, and I can surely be forgiven for not giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Accordingly, my stomach lurched as Omae dispossessed Yonemoto before teeing up the opening goal. The Tokyo midfielder was already stumbling before Omae took the ball, but he made sure to land flat out, arms spread wide. The ref was right in front of it and ignored him as he slid forlornly along the pitch.

A game of two halves, we were the better in the first 45, but were often under the cosh in the second. That said, out defence did a good job of restricting the visitors largely to attempts of little danger. They got what they came for in the 59th minute however, with a perfectly placed, and well struck, first goal from the Caron Baron, Vučićević.

Perhaps because of that notorious cup game, there was a tangible feisty air around the pitch. It was a fast paced, entertaining game for the neutral, I'm sure. It ended in frustration at 1-1, which the travelling fans seemed happy with, but in truth it didn't really suit either team's quest to make up ground on the ACL spots.

Good news was the return of Brosque from his international duties, and his introduction steadied the ship in a second half which threatened to get away from us. Omae's goal was a demonstration of his determination and striker's instinct to pounce on weakness, and his 10th of the season. So a draw, but a fair result. Nine games to go, with the next month arguably being the most important of our season.

In the next four weeks, we'll play title hopefuls Sendai at home, the sky blue scumbags away, Jymmy's current employers Tokyo Verdy in the Emperor's Cup, and the second leg of the League Cup semi final. Couldn't be a bigger month in terms of our year. Before all that we have a weekend in Osaka against the relegation threatened Cerezo on the 22nd.

Know how many of those I'll be at? None. :( I'm off to England in a fortnight, S-Pulse baby clothing in hand, for the birth of my brother's first son. I'll do my best to keep the blog updated, so stay tuned as we march on towards cup glory and the higher reaches of the league!

Pictures

 Pre-match egg and spoon races
2nd half kick off

Videos

Blocked in Japan, but click here for highlights. For those of you J side, personal videos. First Omae's goal. He totally earned that one.



The equaliser, in annoying slow motion.




Thursday, 13 September 2012

J. Soccer Magazine 5 - Full of S-Pulse!

Barry Barry writes 


Out in shops across Japan tomorrow, and available online right now. Issue 5 of the only bilingual Japanese football magazine is full of S-Pulse.

You can read exclusive interviews with Afshin Ghotbi and Alex Brosque on the current orange revolution, and  there also a little piece by yours truly.

There's also all kinds of other news, features and updates on Japanese football, so don't delay - get yours now! 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

S-Pulse 5-0 Arterivo Wakayama (Emp Cup 2nd Rnd)

Barry Barry writes 

S-Pulse 5-0 Arterivo Wakayama
Shirasaki 2, 25, 80
Ito 68
Kashiwase 91

Att 2864

Line Up

GK Hayashi

DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Inukai
DF Lee

MF Ishige
MF Muramatsu 
MF Kang
MF Hattanada

FW Shirasaki
FW Ito
FW Nabeta

Subs Used

Shibahara on for Nabeta (41)
Kashiwase on for Kang (60)
Kawai on for Shirasaki (80)

Report

Unilke Sapporo, Kobe, Hiroshima, FC Tokyo and Tosu, we didn't get giant killed. In fact, the gulf in class was so evident, this was the closest you can get to a walkover victory in football.

A very young team (average age of 22.6) showed it's potential and overcame with ease the Kasai league opponents. Wakayama offered very little threat, managed only three shots all game, and none of them troubled Hayashi.

By a twist of footballing fate, in the next round we meet Tokyo Verdy, current club of Jymmy Franca. He'll be back at Nihondaira on October 10th. Wednesday 7pm.

Pictures

 Wakayama's hardy travelling army
 Do we have the most colourful boots in the J. League? Maybe
 A Lee freekick goes close
Tomoya Inukai started after Hiraoka got hurt in the warm up - he did a sterling job

Videos

All the goals.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

FC Tokyo 2-1 S-Pulse (Nab Cup, 1/2 Final, 1st Leg)

Barry Barry writes 

FC Tokyo 2-1 S-Pulse
Kajiyama 35 ------------------- Tokunaga (Own Goal) 23
Lucas 80

Att 10347

Line Up

GK Yamamoto

DF Kawai (78)
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Lee (75)

MF Sugiyama (92)
MF Muramatsu (40)
MF Hattanada 

FW Omae
FW Takagi
FW Kim (53)

Subs Used

Nabeta on for Takagi (14)
Ishige on for Hattanda (62)
Ito on for Kim (86)

Report

You have got to be joking. A very hard fought, tight and exciting game. A fascinating exchange with enforced changes making teams adapt to new circumstances, but the only thing anyone will remember about the game is this:



The sort of thing you expect from a 10 year old, but when shamelessly employed by a grown man in a professional game, absolutely laughable. Shame on Maruyama for the whole sorry episode, but also shame on referee Yoshimitsu Yoshida for getting so thoroughly mugged.

Murayama single-handedly wrung the honour, spirit and beauty from the game. Any kids who saw that and start diving at school, it's on you Yuichi. Would it be too much to expect an apology from Murayama for his well planned, wretched cheating? I won't hold my breath. A total disgrace.

The whole game has been tainted with the sorry stain of a cheat getting away with murder and smirking about it. I'll tell you one thing, though. We're going to come out like seriously pissed off lions in the second leg. The away goal is huge, a draw would have been a far better (not to mention fair) result, but as odious and vile as that dive was, it ain't gonna change.

Murayama Yuichi, apologise like a man, or forever fuck you. And J. league - time to stand up and do what is right: a Murayama yellow card for simulation and wilfully tricking the referee, and a retraction of Kawai's caution because, as we can all see, he did NOTHING.

We are Shimizu S-Pulse and good will overcome!!!

Just so you know, Toshiyuki was subbed early after his hamstring was playing up. Nothing too serious.

Video

Full highlights. As if it was even needed, the dive is even clearer on a proper video. How the ref, from his angle right behind the challenge, made such a hash of it is anyone's guess. He needs suspension for such a horrific, game changing mistake which happened RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. We all make mistakes, but that one beggars belief. And look for Nemanja Vučićević appealing for the spot kick. He would have seen clearer than anyone that it was a dive. Soppy sod.




Monday, 3 September 2012

Consadole Sapporo 0-2 S-Pulse

Barry Barry writes 

Consadole Sapporo 0-2 S-Pulse
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Takagi 38
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Omae 44

Att 11783

Line Up

GK Yamamoto

DF Kawai
DF Hiraoka
DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Lee

MF Muramatsu
MF Sugiyama
MF Hattanada (19)

FW Omae
FW Kim
FW Takagi

Subs Used

Ishige (85) on for Hattanda (65)
Miyoshi on for Omae (86)
Nabeta on for Takagi (91)

Report

Gorgeous stadium. Excellent city. Lovely food. Wide open countryside. Hundreds of travelling orange hordes. An away win. Aaaah, where to start? I could ramble on and on about what a great weekend that was, but I'll try and keep it concise. Firstly, apologies for the late update. As you know by now, I was up north and just got back this afternoon. It was a real struggle to drag myself back to Shizuoka. Three days not even nearly enough to see and do everything. Hokkaido - I'll be back!

Consadole Sapporo not as bad as their record suggests; the fact they beat Sendai and Nagoya recently testament to that. Their problem is a lack of discipline and focus which leads them to 1) fall apart when things are not going their way, and 2) start wading in with clumsy and narky challenges. They ended up a man down on Saturday as a result. Conceding 7 twice in the same year is another manifestation of their mental shortcomings. At least in the game against Kashima they pretty much just gave up at 3-0 and it became a farce.

So anyway, two first half goals did the job. The first a bad mistake by their keeper, but all credit to Kim. He pressured Sugiyama into dropping it from where Takagi was never going to miss. As for Kim, he is settling in well and went achingly close with his head more than once. He'll get his first goal very soon.

When he first joined there was some online moaning about the fact he's Korean given the recent political tensions. Seriously? Football is football and it shouldn't even be an issue. Glad to say it came across as a few lone voices in the dark, and he's getting excellent support from stands.

Our second goal, the winner, was from a Takagi cross to Genki's head (seen that a few times this year!), but the biggest credit has to go to Jong-a-Pin. He got in front of the striker on a dangerous Sapporo cross, and managed to head it out straight to our midfield. A pass or two later and it was in the back of the net. Jong-a-Pin made several crucial tackles, blocks and plays throughout the game and he deserves a mention as almost setting up Omae's goal.

Hattanda started and did great, new signing Miyoshi came on for the last few minutes and was a strong presence in that short time. Without Brosque through international duty and Yoshida still out with a knock, this was no easy game by any means, but we did the job right. Only 8 points off the top, 5 points off third, with ten games to go.

Interestingly, we've matched last season's amount of wins with ten games to go. Comparing last year's final table to the current standings, there are far fewer wins at the top. The champions won't need anything like the 23 wins Kashiwa had. So, yep! Everything to play for yet this season.

Not to mention the league cup is back on Wednesday with our semifinal first leg game against FC Tokyo. Then the second round of the Emperor's Cup against Arterivo Wakayama. From the Kansai regional leagues, but with J. League ambitions. The action keeps coming thick and fast!

Will answer some recent posts tomorrow - need my sleep first! Night night.

Pictures

 Spine-tingly beautiful stadium!
 
Just as impressive inside
 
 We are not amused. Sapporo fans display discontent at their teams' woeful season by hanging their flags upside down - a pretty big insult in these parts
  
1000km? No problem
Full time
 
New signing Miyoshi got a run out and looked happy to be here
Videos

A personal video of both goals.