Sunday, 22 April 2012

Kashima Antlers 3 - 2 Cerezo Osaka: Kashima comeback Cerezo capitulate

2 up at half time but we left the Kashima Soccer Stadium with no points

Kim Bo-Kyung continued his stunning form this season by adding his fourth and fifth league goals this campaign with two first half strikes. The first coming from a Kiyotake pass and the second from a Kempes miss Bo-Kyung himself helped set up. We didn't look too solid at the back as both teams had a number of decent chances in the first half. The game continued to be open and Dutra pulled one back after a poor punch from Jin-Hyeon in the second half. Cerezo then entered a phase of forgetting how to do the basics such as defending and passing which so often leads to plenty of goals. Kuroki levelled for the home team in the 62nd minute. A few minutes later Bo-Kyung's reaction to Dutra kicking out earned him a yellow and incensed many of the Antlers players as they rushed to confront him in scenes rarely seen in the J-League. Endo finally secured Kashima 3 points for their manager, Brazlian legend Jorginho (world cup winning right-back), in the 85th minute after both teams spurned a few more chances. Great comeback and the Kashima fans should have been delighted...

This incident led to some unsavoury scenes and actions from players and supporters

...however at some point two Antlers fans threw plastic bottles from the stands. One was caught and the other escaped for now. The club will decide on the punishment later. After the game some Kashima fans were hitting the Cerezo team bus as it left the stadium, they may have been provoked by something Bo-Kyung did from on the bus but that can't be confirmed yet. These incidents are very unusual in Japan so we can expect some severe punishments for those involved and even some who weren't but are seen as responsible. There could also be some repercussions for Bo-Kyung too following his actions.

The team bus leaving

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Nabisco Cup vs Urawa

Worth taking a closer look at the team that beat the Reds 4-1. Soares may have just been resting the regulars but the players that came in did enough to suggest the manager might try something different for the game against Kashima Antlers today (No Kempes please!). Bando was a vast improvement on Kempes as Kurogi filled in for Ogihara. Kakitani also showed some glimpses of why he's held in high regard by staff and fans at Cerezo. As Kiyotake will be off to Nuremberg this summer we'll be looking to Kakitani for attacking inspiration.
Click to enlarge

Enjoy the goals!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cerezo Osaka 0-1 Albirex Niigata

Just under 10,000 for this game which started at 7pm on Saturday which this season will be the normal K.O. time at home for some reason. The Niigata fans gave their usual pre-match version of “Can't help falling in love with you” by Elvis, good stuff and fairplay to the traveling support in one of the most unwelcoming away areas in J1 (in Kincho Stadium at least). Yellow cards aplenty in this game, mostly for dissent with a couple of bad challenges thrown in to the mix too. Our new gaffer Sergio Soares has us trying harder to play possession football but...again it might be too early for a rant but so far our new striker, Kempes, looks awful (despite his derby winner). He managed to put one header over and contribute nothing else. Our other new Brazilian, Branquinho (who hasn't looked too bad so far) was taken off for Kakitani and later Ogihara was replaced by Bando as Soares decided to go all out for the three points. We weren't looking too solid at the back at this point as despite having lots of possession, Michael, their lively No.10 missed an open goal in the second half. Jin-Hyeon also made a couple of timley saves during the game. Clearly we were going to be exposed as our main attacking threat Bo-Kyung retreated to try and fill in for one half of our Olympic bound defensive midfield partnership. Niigata sub Yano scored close to full time with a well placed shot (did Kempes,our No.9, see that and realise it's possible?). So despite a great result away from home in the last match some Cerezo fans booed the team although you couldn't fault the team as a whole or indeed the manager going for the three points at home. Next up away to Urawa Reds tomorrow in the Nabisco cup followed by a trip to Kashima Antlers on Saturday in J1.   
Our fans in good voice, the boos came later...

The Niigata away supporters on a tiny grass patch below a huge screen (they obviously couldn't see)
displaying Cerezo and Japan U23 Olympic hopeful Hotaru was worth the trip for them though.

Yano's 85th minute goal celebrations.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Spurs in action and a J1 update, COYS!

Spurs fans were in good voice but much like the last game I went to the away fans were significantly more vociferous. Van Der Vaart scored the first and set up the second from a corner. Swansea did well at the lane and danger man Gylfi Sigurdsson was...dangerous and scored for the visitors as well as forcing an exceptional save from Brad Friedel. Gareth Bale had another sublime game and when Aaron Lennon returned from injury in the second half and we immediately looked a lot more balanced so things are looking up for our last few games. Lennon crossed superbly for Adebayor's second.  My hope for this year is that Spurs can finish above Arsenal and Cerezo above Gamba and a cup win would be nice too! Back in Japan Cerezo picked up three points against Frontale thanks to a Kim Bo-Kyung goal in Kawasaki. We lost our first home game in Kincho Stadium 1-2 as Vegalta Sendai look like having consecutive flying starts in J1, Bando scoring our only goal. Gamba sacked their manager after a poor start to the season. Next up for Spurs is a trip to Sunderland while Cerezo travel to Omiya Ardija.
The High Road but it could be spring in Japan!
The White Hart Lane cockerel 

Swansea fans celebrate Sigurdsson's goal

Adebayor scores his first from a Van Der Vaart corner