Monday, October 27, 2008

J-League week 30 summary

It appears that the J-League championship race is going to go down to the final week with four matches to go there are seven clubs within six points. Fulfilling the promise that we would see a number of surprises FC Tokyo snatched victory from table leaders Kashima Antlers 3-2 in a shocking defeat. After a scoreless first half the Gas Men took the lead in front of over 33,000 at Ajinomoto with Cabore's effort eleven minutes after the break. Only three minutes later Nippon Daihyo 日本代表 Shinzo Koroki drew the match level for the Kashima Antlers. However Yuto Nagatomo and Yohei Otake gave FC Tokyo the commanding 3-1 lead scoring at seventy-seventh and eighty-first minute. Late attacking substitutes for Kashima, Blue Samurai Yūzō Tashiro and Chikashi Masuda pushed forward for the Antlers but they could not break through. The defeat was very costly for the Antlers as it allows to table to creep up towards them.

After the match Gas Man manager Hiroshi Jofuku commented:

"We lost two games in a row and we almost lost the intention to remain among the top teams, but we came into the game with a strong intention not to give up. We scored three goals against such a strong team like Kashima. It give us strong motivation to do well further after beating the champions."

Shocking result number two saw relegation threatened Júbilo Iwata hold Nagoya Grampus Eight to a surprising scoreless draw. Packing the midfield in a 3-5-2 that included Japan international Yūichi Komano, Júbilo frustrated Grampus to no-end with great veteran 'keeper and fellow Blue Samurai Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi once again rising to the occasion.

While not a shocking decision, with a chance to climb right back in the race and after a glorious victory in semi-finals of the AFC Champions League Shimizu S-Pulse soundly beat Gamba Osaka 3 - 1. Gamba Manager Akira Nishino went into the match without Yasuhito Endo and the attack sputtered to a halt. S-Pa academy product Takuma Edamura opened the scoring seven minutes before the break and quickly doubled the margin two minutes after. Twenty-two year-old Nippon Daihyo Shinji Okazaki delivered the knockout punch only three minutes later to make it 3-0, effectively ending the match with Roni adding a consolation goal for Gamba with fifteen minutes remaining.

Vissel Kobe after defeating the Red Diamonds last week, added Oita Trinita to their victims defeating them 1-0 and once again a member of Takeshi Okada's squad orchestrated the result, this time with Yoshito Okubo scoring the lone goal of the match with eleven minutes remaining. The loss is costly for Ōita as a victory would have seem them rise to the top of the table.

Kawasaki Frontale predictably dealt with Consadole Sapporo in a 3- 1 victory and stand only two points from the top. Kengo Nakumura opened the scoring after twenty minutes and Hiroyuki Taniguchi doubled it eight minutes later. Sapporo would not give in though and Davi drew one back with eighteen minutes remaining. Searching for the equalizer, Juninho capitalized on good fortune to make it 3-1 for Frontale.

Urawa Red Diamonds rebounded from their disappointing loss in the semi-finals of the AFC Champions league to defeat Albirex Niigata 1-0. Hajime Hosogai returned from suspension in front of 40,000 at the Big Swan, he gave the Red Diamonds the victory scoring with ten minutes remaining.

Elsewhere in the J-League:

Yokohama F. Marinos - 3
Kashiwa Reysol - 1

Kyoto Purple Sanga - 0
Tokyo Verdy 1969 - 0

Omiya Ardija - 2
JEF United Ichihara-Chiba - 1

J-League week 28GPWDLGSGAP
Kashima Antlers 鹿島アントラーズ 30 15 8 7 53 30 53
Nagoya Grampus 名古屋グランパス 30 15 7 8 41 30 52
Kawasaki Frontale 川崎フロンターレ 30 15 6 9 54 40 51
Oita Trinita 大分トリニータ 30 15 6 9 31 23 51
Urawa Red Diamonds 浦和レッズ 30 14 8 8 46 32 50
FC Tokyo FC東京 30 14 6 10 43 40 48
Gamba Osaka ガンバ大阪 30 13 8 9 42 39 47
Shimizu S-Pulse 清水エスパルス 30 13 7 10 42 37 46
Vissel Kobe ヴィッセル神戸 30 11 10 9 36 31 43
Yokohama F Marinos 横浜F・マリノス 30 10 9 11 31 28 39
Kashiwa Reysol 柏レイソル 30 11 6 13 41 39 39
Kyoto Purple Sanga 京都サンガF.C. 30 10 7 13 30 38 37
Albirex Niigata アルビレックス新潟 30 10 7 13 27 41 37
Tokyo Verdy 1969 東京ヴェルディ 30 10 6 14 37 43 36
Omiya Ardija 大宮アルディージャ 30 10 5 15 30 41 35
JEF United Ichihara-Chiba ジェフユナイテッド千葉 30 9 7 14 30 45 34
Jubilo Iwata ジュビロ磐田 30 9 6 15 36 43 33
Consadole Sapporo コンサドーレ札幌 30 4 5 21 33 63 17