Monday, 19 March 2012

Victory in the Osaka Derby!

Our first home gome this season in Nagai Stadium brought our rivals from Suita into Osaka. Until Saturday we hadn't recorded a victory against them in the league for a good number of years. Although the winner came in the 94th minute we never looked like losing which was an unusual feeling! Branquinho scored the opener slotting home past the keeper after a clever sidestep past the last defender. Gamba's equaliser was fortunate as it came from a free kick that was dubious to say the least. Jin Hyeon positioned himself for an effort from Endo but Paulinho exploited the space by delivering a well placed left-footed drive to the keeper's left. Throughout the game we had the better of the chances. Ogihara in particular knocking a golden chance over the bar from a few yards out. Kempes headed home in injury time from Sakemoto's cross. Until his winner Kempes was spectacularly poor but he got the MOTM interview because of his winner. Kim Bo-Kyung was the real star performer for us this weekend always looking dangerous on the attack and dedicated when defending. Our Olympic bound defensive midfield duo tired somewhat in the 2nd half but stil put in another good shift. Kiyotake sporting his newly inherited No.8 (following Morishima and Kagawa) will be looking to do much better in the next game although he did little wrong. The new Gamba manager had to answer questions about his job security after the game as Gamba prepare for what could be one of their toughest campaigns. Cerezo fans on the other hand look to have another season of unpredictable ups and downs ahead. Vive le difference.
This flag had another huge one underneath
and two smaller ones underneath that
as a beer girl dutifully pours in the

Gamba fans reminding us of a day back in 2005
 I can't recall exactly what happened...

Celebrating the last minute winner

A victorious post-match bow from the derby winners

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Away to Sagan Tosu

Sagan Tosu's first ever game in J1 ended 0-0 in the Best Amenity Stadium. They played well and had the better chances. Their fans were really welcoming despite the biggest police presence I've ever seen at a J-League match. Our supporters responded by congratulating them on getting to J1. The match itself wasn't a great one. We've got another Brazilian manager this year, Sergio Soares so two new Brazilians made their debuts. Our new no.9 Kempes didn't look too good at all but hopefully he's just needs some time to settle in, otherwise he'll soon join a long list of average Brazilians we get on loan. The other chap Branquinho is our new no.10 and showed some nice touches but again needs a bit of time show if he can add something to the team. Our two defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 were Ogihara and Yamaguchi who both did so well for the Japan U23s midweek to help them qualify for London (Kiyotake and Ogihara both scored). Hopefully their partnership can go from strength to strength this season. More chances for the youngsters needed this season instead of Brazilian journeymen would be nice too. Next up the Kansai Derby!
More J1 cheerleaders and another odd mascot
Our away support in good voice as usual

Kim Bo-Kyung hit the bar with this free kick
Friendly and enthusiastic Tosu fans