Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bando hat-trick in Shimizu but only a point for Cerezo vs S-Pulse

Ryuji Bando came off the bench to secure a point away from home at the Outsourcing Stadium Nihondaira. Since Bando joined us he hasn't actually started under Culpi as far as I can remember. We started with Kenyu Sugimoto up top as Komatsu was injured and Fabio Lopes was given a first start too. Sugimoto missed a good headed chance whilst Lopes didn't do much to suggest he's significantly better than any other average Brazilian import in J1. But anyway the day belonged to Bando who got his first from the penalty spot and finished well for the other two goals in a crazy last 15 minutes which left both sets of supporters with sore throats after the match. As usual Cerezo tend to lose concentration just after scoring and frustration crept in as Bando's double was swiftly cancelled out within minutes, the same happened minutes after his hat-trick goal leaving us with a point from the game. Shimizu's goals came from Ono, Takagi and Takahara who looked like they had the game wrapped up until those unforgettable last few minutes.
Cheerleaders at football?

The screen was broken but the big
kit is always a crowd pleaser

The pink and navy army

Culpi: Right, Bando's coming on,
that'll show you!

Bando awaits his game-changing appearance

Prepares to score his first...

...does so with no problem, two more followed

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Kashima Antlers 2 - 1 Cerezo Osaka

On Wednesday in Kashima Soccer Stadium (named to let people now there is no running track here, it's just for football!) the Antlers completed their league double over us. Cerezo captain Teruyuki Moniwa got himself sent off. He got caught out for pace badly (but unusually) and decided to sacrifice himself when it would have been better to let Jin-Hyeon at least attempt a save in the 38th minute. After that we managed to score first through Jin-Kyung after some lucky set up play Komatsu. As happens too often this season we conceded within 5 minutes of scoring at which point heads started to drop. Yuya Osako got that goal. It was just a matter of time before Kashima scored their winner through Chikashi Masuda in the 74th minute. Culpi threw on Fabio Lopes and youngster Kenyu Sugimoto who both would have fared better having a full compliment of outfield players to help them get an equaliser. With or without ten men Kashima were the better team overall, some of their attacking play was class. Jin-Hyeon again made some good saves but his distribution was poor. Next up is Shimizu S-Pulse away.
Moniwa gets his marching orders
No protests from anyone

Kashima fans behind the goal
Bo-Kyung thanks Komatsu for his lucky assist
The stadium was affected by the earthquake
hence the position of the floodlights

Applause and bows but no boos after the final whistle

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Osaka derby

They had all the possession. Bo-Kyung scored a sweet goal off the inside of his left boot (don't go to Stoke!). Jin-Hyeon made a number of fine saves followed by a disappearing act for their equaliser from Sota Nakazawa within the space of a few minutes after we scored. Some of our fans were booing at the end, why? Fair enough it's a derby but the team from Suita are a level above us this season, challenging for the title for example, so I was well pleased with a draw, could've won it in fact, some of the extra thousands that turned up didn't quite get it, even though they got the uniforms and scarves etc. Anyway we're not going down. Fabio Lopes made his debut but couldn't really do much, and, I almost forgot, Gamba had a penalty shout (it was really blatant but the ref was behind the action) denied, oh well. Next stop Kashima Antlers away, three points above us, Wednesday.
The Suita team brought a big kit to a big stadium

Why don't you come to more games? And don't boo afterwards.... unless we actually deserve it.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Oh dear, Kim Jin-Hyeon goes viral

I don't want to post this but it shows how Jin-Hyeon's error has made it around the world thanks mostly to YouTube.

Kawasaki Frontale 1 - 2 Cerezo Osaka

Kawasaki had some good chances and Jin-Hyeon recovered well after he's become something of a youtube sensation due to his error last week. But he produced a solid display including a couple of quality saves from stinging shots, one of which ended with him hitting the post, dedication. In the end that was enough to see us take the three points. We scored another goal from a very similar corner to our last game where Kiyotake was able to head in from the 6-yard box. Our second came from a nice build up and Kurata finished the move well. Also well done to whoever works on set-pieces in training, we saw some threatening and carefully though out free-kicks the kind of which I have never seen before. Perhaps they do this stuff in Brazil all the time but I haven't seen it. But the three points takes us further away from the bottom which is important for Cerezo fans after we finished 3rd last season, it's always a worry we might get relegated! Our first half display was too god for Frontale who picked things up in the second half but couldn't get nything out of the game. A good turnout and atmosphere for the game which included a minute silence for the recently deceased Naoki Matsuda. Terrible news. Our fans chanted his name after the silence was over and had a banner to pay our respects. Kiyotake's good form continiued against Korea on Wednesday in Sapporo's full international between the two neighbouring countries. He got a couple of assists while Kagawa got two goals. Kim Bo-Kyung also came off the bench for Korea who were surprisingly poor. Next up it's Osaka derby time!
Kawasaki's stadium, in the middle of nowhere
Cerezo fans' message to Naoki Matsuda
Another innovative free kick
Kim Bo-Kyung delivers a corner
Our away support bring the noise and colour

Monday, 1 August 2011

Inui's last game: Cerezo 1 - 3 Kashima Antlers

A battle between Brazilian managers and finally my prediction comes true. Today was Inui's last home game and he scored one of his best goals. He picked up the ball near the halfway line before jinking between a few Kashima players and netting our only goal of the game. By this time Kim Jin-Hyeon had already made a couple of decent saves so it wasn't looking easy but then Jin-Hyeon completely lost it. Two goals from Yuzo Tashiro followed before the break. For the first he caught Jin-Hyeon trying to pass the ball out from the back and I guess nobody warned him so Tashiro simply nicked the ball and slotted into an empty net. For Antlers' second Jin-Hyeon went to collect a cross he had no chance of getting and Tashiro nodded home another easy chance. In the second half we won a penalty from a push during a corner. Inui wanted to take it but Bo-Kyung stepped up and had his awful effort easily saved. The final embarressment for Jin-Hyeon was getting lobbed from the halfway line by Mitsuo Ogasawara just before the final whistle. Great goal but suspect postitioning from our young Korean keeper. Jin-Hyeon is his own harshest critic so it'll be interesting to see how he recovers from this. Inui said his farewell and will fly to Germany tomorrow to join Vfl Bochum 1848. In other transfer news Stoke and other teams in England are sniffing around Kim Bo-Kyung who has been described as the next Park Ji-Sung by...Park Ji-Sung. We had a crowd of just over 28,000 last night thanks in part to lots of free ticket offers, the effect of the Japan ladies team winning the World Cup and possibly for people to say goodbye to Inui. The atmosphere was one of the best in a long time. Credit to the Antlers fans for adding to a great night. They came, they sang, they won.
Kashima fans were well rewarded for their sterling effort

A heaving I4

The rare sight of a packed stadium

Jin-Hyeon distraught after he conceded the second

Inui tries his best for his last game, from the resulting corner we win a penalty...

...taken poorly by Kim Bo-Kyung.