Saturday, 20 January 2018

J League History: 2001

In 2001, both the J.League and Japanese football in general seemed to move into a new period of growth and promise. Although the giddiness of the mid-1990s remained a distant memory, the league had reached a point where it no longer was just a curiosity -- the "new kid on the block" in the Japanese sports world -- but a true part of the culture and the national identity. Much of the credit goes to the success of Japan's national team, which began to make waves in the international arena and earned respect for Japanese football in general. But the J.League itself gained a degree of respectability that saw both clubs and players recognised at the international level.

J.League 2001, First Stage

. Team Pts GP W (90/ET) D L GD GF GA
1 Jubilo Iwata 36 15 13 (9-4) 1 1 +20 32 12
2 JEF United Ichihara 27 15 10 (7-3) 0 5 +9 35 26
3 Nagoya Grampus 27 15 10 (5-5) 2 3 +9 29 20
4 Shimizu S-Pulse 26 15 10 (6-4) 0 5 +10 28 18
5 Gamba Osaka 25 15 9 (7-2) 0 6 +7 29 22
6 Kashiwa Reysol 22 15 8 (6-2) 0 7 +6 29 23
7 Urawa Reds 21 15 7 (6-1) 1 7 +2 24 22
8 Consadole Sapporo 21 15 6 (6-0) 3 6 -1 20 21
9 FC Tokyo 21 15 8 (5-3) 0 7 -1 18 19
10 Vissel Kobe 19 15 6 (5-1) 2 7 -4 16 20
11 Kashima Antlers 18 15 6 (5-1) 1 8 -2 21 23
12 Avispa Fukuoka 14 15 5 (4-1) 0 10 -12 13 25
13 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 13 15 5 (3-2) 0 10 -8 25 33
14 Cerezo Osaka 11 15 3 (3-0) 2 10 -9 22 31
15 Yokohama Marinos 11 15 3 (3-0) 2 10 -11 13 24
16 Tokyo Verdy 10 15 4 (2-2) 0 11 -15 16 31
Scoring: Win in regulation time=3pts Win in extra time=2pts Draw=1pt Loss =0

 

J.League 2001, Second Stage

. Team Pts GP W (90/ET) D L GD GF GA
1 Kashima Antlers 36 15 13 (10-3) 0 2 +17 36 19
2 Jubilo Iwata 35 15 13 (9-4) 0 2 +17 31 14
3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 24 15 8 (8-0) 0 7 +9 36 27
4 Shimizu S-Pulse 23 15 9 (5-4) 0 6 +7 34 27
5 JEF United Ichihara 23 15 7 (7-0) 2 6 -3 25 28
6 Nagoya Grampus 22 15 7 (7-0) 1 7 +2 27 25
7 Kashiwa Reysol 21 15 6 (6-0) 3 6 +6 29 23
8 FC Tokyo 20 15 5 (5-0) 5 5 +1 29 28
9 Tokyo Verdy 20 15 6 (6-0) 2 7 -4 22 26
10 Yokohama Marinos 19 15 6 (4-2) 3 6 -1 19 20
11 Gamba Osaka 17 15 5 (5-0) 2 8 -5 21 26
12 Urawa Reds 15 15 4 (4-0) 3 8 -4 20 24
13 Vissel Kobe 14 15 3 (3-0) 5 7 -7 25 32
14 Consadole Sapporo 13 15 4 (3-1) 2 9 -6 23 29
15 Avispa Fukuoka 13 15 4 (3-1) 2 9 -9 22 31
16 Cerezo Osaka 12 15 5 (2-3) 0 10 -20 19 39
Scoring: Win in regulation time=3pts Win in extra time=2pts Draw=1pt Loss =0

 

Championship Series

2 Dec Jubilo Iwata 2 - 2 Kashima Antlers
Hattori
Nakayama
  Akita
Hirase
8 Dec Kashima Antlers 0 - 1 (ET) Jubilo Iwata
Ogasawara    

In one sense, the season was atypical. The championship race for both the first stage and the second stage were decided fairly early. However, a host of other factors, including the historic rivalry between Kashima Antlers and Jubilo Iwata, as well as a race to avoid relegation that included two former J.League champions, helped to make it an exciting season in every way

 

The popularity of the J.League was also helped by the success of Japan's national team. Despite an ignominious start to the year, with Japan being crushed 5-0 by France in the Stade de France, Japan rebounded to finish second in the Confederations Cup, after stirring performances over quality teams like Cameroon, Brazil and Australia. Closing out the year with a 1-1 draw against Italy, the national team made it clear that it would be a legitimate contender at the 2002 World Cup

The J.League's first stage campaign turned into a runaway victory for Jubilo Iwata. The team surged out to a huge lead with eight consecutive wins, and then cruised home despite a host of injuries late in the stage. Never before had a team clinched the crown so early, and the margin of victory over second-place Nagoya Grampus was a stunning nine points. Based on their form in the First Stage, many believed that Jubilo would storm through the second stage as well, and become the first team ever to claim an uncontested league championship

 

But Jubilo's traditional nemesis, Kashima Antlers, would put such fancies to rest very early in the second stage. The 2000 treble winners came back from a first stage that was plagued by injury to reel off seven straight victories in the second stage. Although the team stumbled a bit at midseason, a fine performance down the stretch allowed Antlers to clinch the second stage crown with a week to spare.

 

The championship series between Kashima Antlers and Jubilo Iwata was a thrill-packed contest. In the first leg, Jubilo Iwata went up by two goals, following a first-half PK and an early-second-half strike by veteran "Gon" Nakayama. The Antlers were reduced to 10 men following a hasty call by the referee, who handed Takayuki Suzuki a red card for what looked like an inadvertent hand ball. Yet the Antlers refused to give up, and fought back late in the second half, scoring first on Yutaka Akita's header from a corner kick, and then clinching the draw when Tomoyuki Hirase pounced on a ball that was bobbled by Jubilo keeper Arno vanZwam and fired it home.

 

In the second leg, the two teams battled ferociously for 90 minutes, but neither team managed to score. The title was decided early in the first extra time period, on one of the most memorable "Golden Goals" in League history. Following a surge of pressure from Jubilo, young midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara collected a long clearance at midfield, and charged down the center of the pitch until finally hauled down from behind about 30 yards out.

 

After a long argument about whether a red card was called for, and repeated delays in setting up the Jubilo wall, Ogasawara finally got his chance to take the kick. With a coolness that would typify his style of play for the next two decades, and earn him the nicnkame "The Baby-faced Assassin", he curled the free kick just over the wall and into the low right corner of the net. With an understated clenching of the fist, Ogasawara fell on his back and smiled up at the evening sky, as teammates piled on top of him in celebration. Kashima claimed a 1-0 victory (3-2 on aggregate). and moved past Verdy to become the most successful team in J.League history -- a status they retain to this day.


 

Scoring Leaders

Will Robson Andrade Consadole Sapporo 24
Choi Yong-Soo JEF United Ichihara 21
Ueslei Nagoya Grampus Eight 21
Amaral FC Tokyo 17
Nino Bule Gamba Osaka 17
Masashi Nakayama Jubilo Iwata 16
Baron Shimizu S-Pulse 15
Tatsuhiko Kubo Sanfrecce Hiroshima 15
Atsushi Yanagisawa Kashima Antlers 12
Alessandro Santos Shimizu S-Pulse 12
Yasuyuki Moriyama Nagoya Grampus 12

 

J.League Awards, 2001

MVP Toshiya Fujita 30 Jubilo Iwata
Rookie of the Year Koji Yamase 20 Consadole Sapporo
Golden Boot Will 28 Cerezo Osaka
Coach of the Year Masakazu Suzuki 47 Kashiwa Reysol

Best Eleven

GK Arno VanZwam 33 Jubilo Iwata
DF Yutaka Akita 31 Kashima Antlers
Akira Narahashi 30 Kashima Antlers
Go Oiwa 28 Jubilo Iwata
MF Mitsuo Ogasawara 22 Kashima Antlers
Koji Nakata 22 Kashima Antlers
Toshihiro Hattori 29 Jubilo Iwata
Toshiya Fujita 30 Jubilo Iwata
Takasi Fukunishi 26 Jubilo Iwata
FW Atsushi Yanagisawa 24 Kashima Antlers
Will 33 Consadole Sapporo
Akinori Nishizawa 24 Cerezo Osaka