Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cerezo Osaka 1 - 1 Omiya Ardija

This was played on the public holiday now known as Showa day (my previous post was wrong, apologies, Greenery Day is now May 4th) which encourages reflection on Emperor Hirohito's reign while also giving those on the extreme right an excuse to blast anything they like from the loudspeakers in their usually black vans in various places around Japan. So Omiya Ardija, despite the poor showing in their last home game, could have left with three points were it not for an injury time equaliser from Kenyu Sugimoto. Takeda started in place of Jin-Hyeon and he was given no help from his defense for the goal we conceded from a corner. An odd game, but again the type we should be winning to live up to our (unwarranted in my opinion) hype. It should have been a nice game to try something different, aside from the keeper change, but at least we got a point which is better than the same fixture last season. The superb Toyota Stadium in Nagoya awaits next, no predictions from me, and I have to mention for those in Japan once again J Sports has a feast of Premier League football on Saturday with Spurs vs West Ham first, followed by a chance to see Ryan Giggs as Shinji Kagawa's manager, and then the highest paid sports team in the world AKA Man City. Until then please watch the goals from yesterday as many times as you can. I think you can get to at least double figures if you are committed. I should have known better to be confident about the game yesterday as the squirrels usually seem to enjoy playing against us. The fact that some of our fans booed (again) at the end was mentioned in the Japanese media. Cheer up and enjoy the ride! Unless we get relegated...

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Kansai Derby: Vissel Kobe 2 - 2 Cerezo Osaka

This Kansai Derby is always a highlight of our footballing calendar (when Vissel Kobe and Cerezo are in the same division) and this didn't disappoint as we put in a really good performance against an in-form side in the lovely Noevir Stadium. Another brace from Forlan so if you like you can enjoy a video of all his touches from the game. Otherwise the second video has your standard highlights omitting some key non-Forlan related moments. Apparently our next opponents, Omiya Ardija, were poor today so we can look forward to our encounter on "Greenery Day" the public holiday to appreciate nature but which the squirrels might not enjoy. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, 25 April 2014

Shandong Luneng 1 - 2 Cerezo Osaka

Love didn't conquer all, although he did score the first after a ridiculous penalty decision. So, however unlikely it seems, we made it through!Sakemoto was dropped and our formation was altered but ultimately I don't think that made a huge difference as two nice finishes from two players we expect to produce the goods got us the points we needed to squeeze through to the knockout stage. Jin-Hyeon gave us a scare as he fell very awkwardly but played on and he and the rest of the defense proved too strong for Shandong to get back in the game. Enjoy the video and happy days! Marcelo Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande awaits us in early May. A Kansai Derby awaits us tomorrow back in J1.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, 20 April 2014

FC Tokyo 2 - 0 Cerezo Osaka

This was sold out as I believe was last season's fixture at Ajinomoto Stadium. Last time we came away with three points, despite a goal from Hasegawa (now of Cerezo), Minamino and Kakitani scored in November last year. Sadly it was not to be today as our defence was easily breached. I feel Sakemoto will bear the brunt of Popovic's (who brought Hasegawa with him from FC Tokyo this year) wrath again after a poor defensive display. Both FC Tokyo goals came from his side of the defense as well another great chance to score sandwiched in between the two goals. We had chances but nothing is going consistently well for Kakitani or Forlan so far this season as they don't look like a strike partnership capable of rescuing us from our defensive frailties. Time will tell, there are glimpses of a footballing understanding between them interspersed with shrugs and complaints. If we can't defend we need to score more, pretty simple. We can't even use the excuse of being in the ACL as we have a pretty big squad compared to previous years with lots of opportunity for rotation of which we have seen very little. Two massive games coming up (with us in poor form) in China against Shandong Luneng to determine who will qualify from our ACL group followed by a trip to current league leaders Vissel Kobe for Kansai bragging rights.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, 17 April 2014

We can still qualify! Cerezo Osaka 0 - 2 Pohang Steelers

Jun Ando started in defense today, another of our new signings this season from Kyoto Purple Sanga. We had a couple of half chances before disarray at the back let Pohang Steelers take the lead. Forlan got booked before Minamino got a straight red for a dangerous tackle whether or not it was intentional. Popovic soon lost it berating the fourth official and then the ref which led to his ejection. Forlan looked miffed on the bench after being taken off for the second half as Someya stepped in to shield the back four. The energetic Nagai was also brought on to replace Kakitani and Kusukami made his regular sub appearance coming on for Hasegawa who didn't cope well against Pohang. We didn't do too badly with 10 men but inevitably Pohang finished the game with a goal on the counter. No boos at the end, perhaps the red helped in this aspect, our fans were in good voice throughout. It didn't turn out to be a must win game either as Buriram's surprise win over Shandong has all 3 teams below Pohang level on 5 points. One game in China is left that could still see us progress to the knockout stages.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cerezo Osaka 2 - 2 Gamba Suita

Expectations were really high for this game which is one reason for the booing at the end from our fans but you have to give credit to Gamba and wonder why some fans thought this would be easy. This didn't help! Popovic lost patience with Jin-Hyeon's erratic keeping in this game and he was subbed after an hour. I don't think I've ever seen a keeper subbed because of their performance before but Takeda,signed as a backup this year, pulled off a great save towards the end of the match to keep things level. Wednesday's game against Pohang is a must win and it looks like Jin-Hyeon won't be starting. A crowd of 42723 (our third highest attendance ever) saw a brace each from Abe and Forlan. I have no complaints about the result, and it was a good game to watch, but we could do with more support during the game, Gamba fans were great throughout, and no booing after the game, did the players really deserve that today?

Related Articles:

Forlan the star in Osaka Derby (MARCA)

2014 J.League Round 7 Wrap-Up: Forlan and Abe shine in Osaka Derby draw (

Monday, 7 April 2014

Kashiwa Reysol 2 - 1 Cerezo Osaka

Kakitani couldn't convert our best chances as we went back to looking like a team that needs more time to gel. Forlan dropped back into midfield too much for my liking where he couldn't really do any damage with his long passing. His best work comes from being closer to the last defenders and finding space which he isn't doing often enough at the moment. We have always needed an old head to calm and inspire our young team as Simplicio did last season. Forlan however just got angry on a couple of occasions instead of leading when our heads were down. His quote later to the AFP that "They don't have to listen if they don't want to be part of it" seems like an odd way to express leadership though. Ogihara has gone backwards, much like his passing in this game, in terms of his development which is highlighted by Hasegawa making it to the Japan team training session while he has been left behind. I don't think Popovic likes how Ogihara plays and on this form he doesn't deserve to be anywhere near the first team. This was not the best preparation for the next game which happens to be the Osaka Derby in Yanmar stadium on Saturday. Kashiwa Reysol's goals came from Tanaka early on and ex-Gamba forward Leandro later in the 2nd half. Maruhashi got our consolation goal in the dying minutes of the game.

Related Articles:

Kashima beats Gamba to maintain lead in J-League (

Sunday, 6 April 2014

ACL: Buriram United 2 - 2 Cerezo Osaka

We could have had 3 points but for spurning a number of good chances. Buriram's first goal was a nice free kick but the second was due to a Jin-Hyeon blunder, let's hope it's the only one this season. Yamashita scored two headers from set pieces with the second bouncing back out after crossing the line. Yamashita,Hasegawa and Minamino, all uncapped, have been invited to the next national team training camp. Popovic accused some players of not taking the game seriously enough while at the same time allowing Forlan a break for this game.

Buriram United shop in the centre of town

Phanom Rung, shown below on the club badge, was spectacular

2010- (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thunder Castle/I-Mobile Stadium

Employees from Yanmar in Thailand helped fill the away supporters' section

Increased ticket prices for ACL games meant a lower attendance from home fans than usual

GU12 supporters in the centre where the team owner's wife was leading the singing

Enhanced by Zemanta

2014 F1 Malaysia Grand Prix

Prior to the ACL game against Buriram thanks to some cheap Air Asia tickets I had the chance to go to the F1 in Kuala Lumpur. The sound from the new engines was different from previous incarnations, still very loud and exciting but not quite as much as I remember. Spectators enjoyed a Mercedes one-two podium finish and a Lewis Hamilton victory. Before the race a minutes silence was held for flight MH370 and Hamilton's victory was dedicated to those affected.

Enhanced by Zemanta