Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Gambare Nippon Charity match in Nagai

Zaccheroni's JFA (Samurai Blue)  beat Stojkovic's J-League (Team as One) 2-1 last night. A free kick from Endo and a calm finish from Okazaki in the first half followed by a crowd pleasing wonderfully taken goal by the Japanese (44 year old) legend Kazuyoshi 'King Kazu' Miura. All the proceeds from this match go towards helping those affected by the earthquake/tsunami on March 11th.
A moment's silence
A sold out Nagai Stadium

In other news England drew with a vibrant Ghana side 1-1, the 8th most expensive player ever, Andy Carroll, scoring for England before Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan scored an injury time equaliser. But of course the main story is about Japan with many supporters at Nagai Stadium donating plus the magic of seeing a Japanese superstar footballer scoring in front of an adoring crowd. Gambare Nippon indeed. Anyone watching Football Italia many years ago might remember this from Kazu while he was playing for Genoa in Serie A.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Internationals and charity matches

Cerezo won 2-0 against Kyoto Purple Sanga in a charity match on Saturday with goals from Takahashi and Pimpao. J1 and J2 fixtures will now resume from the 23rd of April and our ACL game against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Tue 5th April in Osaka is unaffected. England beat a poor Welsh team 2-0, Lampard pen and Darren Bent goal early in the first half. Tomorrow there is a huge charity game between the JFA and J-League in Nagai Stadium, tickets selling out ridiculously quickly along with huge queues in Nagai park to watch the practices today and yesterday. The highlight of this weekend fixtures for me though was one particular friendly, Brazil v Scotland, played at the Emirates for some (£$?) reason, why not in Scotland? The emergence of the next Brazilian superstar perhaps? Enjoy Neymar (he's 19, which might explain his haircut!)...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

ACL away in China: Shandong 2-0 Cerezo

Shandong Luneng were good, well done to our fans who made the trip, it was emotional after the earthquake/tsunami and I think most people at the stadium felt that. So we lost, but our first away game in the ACL was action packed and we had some good chances, it's all very new for Cerezo and the group itself is still obviously wide open. We can qualify but need to concentrate a whole lot more for 90 minutes. Jin-Hyeon also made a penalty save at the second attempt. Renato and Wang Yongpo scored for Shandong.
Shandong Sports Centre
...and the army were waiting inside.

A warm welcome...

In other news Spurs drew with West Ham which was shown live on J-Sports 2,featuring a MOM performance from their keeper Robert Green and an "I still love West Ham" performance from Jermain Defoe missing some good chances, and Wayne Bridge played really well for the Hammers. Plus we have Real Madrid to look forward to in the Champions League quarter finals. The main worry at the moment though is whether we (Spurs and/or Cerezo) can clinch another Champions League spot for next season.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

All J-League games are cancelled today.

Because of the earthquake all games are off. That's it, we're lucky compared to those who were living closer to the centre of it. It was huge, people in Osaka could feel it, look at this map of Japan and see the distance from Miyagi where it happened, that's really far.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Spurs into the Quarter Finals, Cerezo face Kashiwa Reysol on Saturday

Not our usual type of performance in Europe but that's all we needed to beat AC Milan, the current league leaders in Serie A! Great stuff, COYS! Because AC Milan are my team in Italy and as a reminder of just some of their past glories here's Capello's Milan vs Cruyff's Barcelona back in the 1994 Final. Great game, legendary team. Better than the current Barcelona team? We will never know.

Cerezo's next opponents are newly promoted Kashiwa Reysol who won their first game back in J1 3-0 last week so will be on a high. It will be interesting to see if Culpi tinkers with the starting 11 for this game. The game will be played in Kincho Stadium. A bit of nostalgic trivia, Reysol can boast having once fielded Brazilian star striker Careca and later Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov. Of their current crop of imports Brazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues is a key player and he got on the scoresheet last week. Come on Cerezo!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Osaka Derby result : Gamba 2 - 1 Cerezo

Our fans in flag waving mode
Wouldn't you know it? Adriano opened the scoring for Gamba. Uemoto gave away a penalty which Endo proceeded to miss thanks to Kim's save. Kurata, on loan from Gamba, got a fortunate deflection to level the score. Endo, who was superb apart from the penalty, ensured Gamba got the three points with a really good finish. It was closer than I expected but depsite Cerezo bringing a very large number of away supporters to Bampaku it was not to be for us.   
Gamba fans were in good voice for the derby
Endo about to have his penalty saved by Kim

Strikers scoring for Spurs but just the one point

A great weekend in the Premier League with loads of entertaining games and refereeing as usual. Our game against Wolves was a highlight, a nice tribute to Dean Richards (RIP) before the match followed by two goals for Defoe and one for Pavlyuchenko, all great goals. Despite that, fairplay to Wolves they certainly deserved something, they had a perfectly good goal ruled out too. We still need to do more to get back in the Champions League qualifying spots. Shame Aston Villa have Kyle Walker on loan from us as he may well have done better than Alan Hutton in that game. The game was played at a really high tempo which is something I guess AC Milan won't be able to do at White Hart Lane.
Dean Richards (1974 - 2011)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A match made in Osaka

Something old...
Before we became Cerezo Osaka we were Yanmar Diesel and this was our kit
 Something new...
The J-League kicks off today!

Something borrowed...
Most of our new players this season are on loan. I was going to do a preview but instead here's a link to Ryuji Bando's thoughts on the new season from in English, great interview. Also 'borrowed' from the same site, here is an interesting atricle by Cesare Polenghi about the transer system in Japanese football and why it's bad for Japanese clubs. Will anything change in the near future? Finally some comments from Levir Culpi in the Japan Times following our ACL debut.

Something blue...
The Gamba kit, Endo really needs a haircut

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Cerezo 2 - 1 Arema - Pimpao bags a brace on his debut!

Pimpao celebrates his second 
The I4 section of Nagai Stadium
Special guest appearance
We didn't play well. Inui set up Pimpao's header for the first goal and Pimpao also finished well from a fortunate free kick. We conceded a penalty for handball but Arema didn't play well either. Bo-Kyung Kim showed some nice touches and hit the crossbar. Perhaps I've been watching too much Premier League recently but I think we'll struggle against Gamba this Saturday if we don't improve our performance. I'm a little scared to be honest. Inui did little to remind people why he is capped at full international level despite his assist. At least Pimpao couldn't have done more, he only had two good chances and he finished them. Limping ex-Cerezo star Kagawa Shinji, now of Borussia Dortmund, gave an interview at half-time which was a nice distraction from a pretty poor game attended by just over 10000 people which was a disappointing number for our first game of the season.
Arema fans adding to the numbers while the stewards make sure there's no trouble