Friday, 21 December 2012

Emperor's Cup win leads to another Osaka Derby!

Gamba squeezed through past Ossie Ardiles' Machida Zelvia who were rooted to the bottom of J2 for most of the season and find themselves in the JFL (Japan Football League) next season. Shame for Ossie, I was hoping to catch a game to see the Spurs legend but it looks like the Ardiles experiment has backfired for Machida. We knocked four past Shimizu to progress. Special mention goes to “one for the future” (ie. expect him to leave for Germany if he fulfils his potential) 17 year old Takumi Minamino with a great finish for our first and his first senior goal. In the second half Hotaru Yamaguchi made it two connecting with a nice cross from Sakemoto. Kenyu Sugimoto settled the nerves further in an open game with a good finish in off the post. Speed demon Kurata finished things off calmly when he found himself through with only the keeper to beat. The score flattered to deceive but let's see if we can knock out Gamba Suita in the next round. Exciting stuff awaits this Sunday in Nagai Stadium!

Worth watching to see a 17 year old kid's first senior goal.
The Cerezo youth system continues to produce gifted players.

Last game of the season 2 - 2 and we are still in J1!

We could have been relegated if other results conspired against us and we didn't get at least a point against Frontale. So I spent most of the match looking at the updates from other matches in particular those involving our fellow Kansai strugglers Gamba and Vissel Kobe which reminded me of watching football scores on Ceefax (RIP). Others listened to the radio and the more prepared fans were watching streams from these games. As is turned out we could have lost and still stayed up. This is why the celebrations when our equaliser went in from our players seemed a bit over the top to say the least. When it might have mattered we were losing for long periods. When it got to 2 – 2 we were safe anyway. Overall the league campaign wasn't a particularly impressive one with managerial changes and us, inevitably now it seems, losing another star player to a German club in the summer. Takahiro Ogihara is lined up to sign for Nurnberg this winter too. Gamba and Vissel both lost and go down. This means no derby games for us next season and while I was delighted to see Gamba go down most of our fans were just happy to stay up. In fact most of our fans were/are sympathetic to their plight, but I personally enjoyed seeing their supporters crying! The other team at the wrong end of the table on the last day, Albirex Niigata, spanked the newly crowned and possibly hungover champions Hiroshima 4 – 1 ensuring they stay in J1. Here are the highlights and the rather embarrassing celebration scenes when our second equaliser goes in, seriously it looks like we've won the league instead of just avoiding relegation thanks to the results of other teams. On the positive side Tomonobu Yokoyama chipped in with two goals against his old club. At least his wild celebrations were warranted.
HIghlights, OTT celebrations at 02:45!