July 26, 2020

The J1 Hits a Coronavirus Speed Bump

Despite a week of oppressively wet and uncomfortable weather, the J.League achieved attendance levels this weekend that show how eager fans are to resume some sort of normalcy in the stands. Unfortunately, the top J.League-related news this weekend was the postponement of a match between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Nagoya Grampus, due to an outbreak of Coronavirus among Grampus players (three tested positive on Friday, and consequently the match was postponed. As one of only two undefeated teams after Week 6, this could be a problem for the Red Orcas, who will now need to add a make-up contest to what is already a punishing schedule. Furthermore, this outbreak could potentially spread through the Grampus locker room, posing even greater problems for Nagoya.

   Postponed  

Despite this setback, the J.League (and Japan in general) has done a relatively good job of containing the virus. Although the League continues to impose a 5,000-fan limit on attendances (with some of the most visually striking examples of social distancing you can imagine), the atmosphere at most stadiums has been stimulating. In fact, the replacement of chanting -- a defining feature of J.League fan behaviour -- with polite applause has actually been a positive change, at least for those more accustomed to European Leagues. The virus outbreak in Nagoya may change the calculations, but many expect the League to relax crowd limits by the end of August.


 

3 - 1

The early afternoon contest between reigning champions Yokohama Marinos and Consadole Sapporo exploded into action from the very outset, as two teams with lots of offensive options but suspect defending faced off at the Sapporo Dome - one of the few venues not affected by incessant rain. In last week's report I noted that Marinos are facing a tougher challenge this season than they did last year, as most J1 opponents have developed strategies aimed at disrupting the F.Marinos' game plan.

Consadole Sapporo set the pace early, hoping to snatch a quick lead and place Marinos in a tactical situation that they have struggled with, over the first six weeks of the season. When they score first, the Bay City Seagulls have shown the ability to pile on the punishment, like they did in a 4-0 victory over local rivals Yokohama FC on Wednesday. However, when they get behind, their ability to break down organized defenses has been a bit weak. So the pressure to get off the mark early was apparent, from the outset.

The home team was pinned back early, as a Yokohama counterattack opened the scoring. Consadole's Lucas Fernandes dribbled into the Yokohama box from the right side at the 15 minute mark and was upended in the box, pleading for a penalty kick. But the ref waved play on, allowing the Marinos to break forward on the attack. The Marinos worked the ball around the box quickly, testing the right flank, then swinging the ball back around to find Jun Amano unmarked, about 22 meters out. Amano fired a low, hard shot that snuck into the low right corner before Takanori Sugeno could react.

But the Snow Owls responded immediately, and in impressive style, leveling the score just 35 seconds later. From the restart, Consadole moved the ball down the right channel, with Fernandes again taking the lead, dribbling to the top of the box and then cutting inside. Yoshiaki Komai ran a diagonal line across Lucas's path and towards the right post. Fernandes played a perfect lead pass, beating the offside trap and sending Komai through for a one-on-one shot at the keeper. Komai's shot was too powerful for Yuji Kajikawa to keep out of net, bounding off his left hand and inside the post.

The Sapporo blitz continued, and just moments later Chanathip Songkrasin took over the point position and dribbled his own weaving path into the Marinos box. As he ran out of room, corralled by the Marinos back line, Chanathip spun suddenly and dropped a pass back to Takuma Arano, who again had been left unmarked near the top of the Yokohama box. Arano drilled his shot into the strings and Sapporo surged into the lead.

Coach Ange Postecoglou must have seen something that disturbed him, because immediately after the second goal Marinos made a change, bringing on the more experienced and more defensively savvy midfielder Yuki Otsu for striker Keita Endo. Endo just inked a deal with Union Berlin, which will probably see the youngster depart some time next month. Whether this had something to do with the substitution, or whether Endo had some physical problem, is not clear. In any case, this failed to completely change the momentum, though a tighter ball press did blunt the Sapporo attack to some extent. The score remained unchanged until half time, but Yokohama did produce one or two scoring chances in the latter stages of the first half. Consadole retained the edge in possession right up until the break. But a collision in first-half injury time sent Yoshihiro Nakano to the trainer's room, forcing coach Mihailo Petrovic to adjust his lineup just before the break. This would greatly change the dynamic of play in the second half

The away team adopted a very different stance after the break, making much more of an effort to retain possession and develop their own offensive rhythm. Though the complexion of the game changed, as a result, Consadole seemed perfectly content to sit back in a defensive shell and look for chances to counterattack. Thus, even though time of possession began to shift in favour of the Seagulls, they spent most of that time in their own end, trying in vain to lure Consadole forward and open up space at the back. The hosts maintained their defensive focus until the final 15 minutes, when coach Petrovic made three substitutions including the introduction of Jay Bothroyd in the front line, to offer a better target for clearances. To make matters worse, fatigue (following a tough Wednesday-evening derby match against Yokohama FC) left many of the Marinos' key attacking weapons unavailable. As the half progressed, Consadole shifted further and further into counterattack mode, while tightening up at the back.

In the final minute of regulation time, a steal by Takuma Arano deep in Yokohama territory set off a two-on-one break, and Arano took on the last defender before cleverly back-heeling the ball to Takuro Kaneko at the penalty spot for an easy finish. The victory moves Consadole into the top half of the table, while the Marinos' title defense is slipping further and further off pace.

Date: 
18 July, 2020
Attendance: 
3,305
Location: 
Sapporo Dome

  3

2 1H 1
1 2H 0

1  

Yoshiaki Komai (16')
Takuma Arano (18')
Takuro Kaneko (89')

 Scoring

Jun Amano (15')
Tomoki Takamine Cautions Teerathon
Takahiro Ogihara
Masato Ito

Takanori Sugeno; Ryosuke Shindo, Hiroki Miyazawa, Tomoki Takamine (Takuro Kaneko 76'); ; Lucas Fernandes (Kensuke Shirai 76'), Nakano (Ryota Hayasaka 45+2'), Kazuki Fukai, Daiki Suga; Takuma Arano, Yoshiaki Komai; Chanathip Songkran (Jay Bothroyd 76'). .

 Yuji Kajikawa; Ken Matsubara, Masato Ito, Shinnosuke Hatanaka, Teerathon (Ryuta Koike 45'); Takahiro Ogihara, Takuya Kida (Keiya Sento 56'), Jun Amano (Kota Watanabe 84'); Kota Mizunuma, Edigar Junio (Ado Onaiwu 56') Keita Endo (Yuki Otsu 17').

 


 

0 - 2    

Yokohama FC got off to a strong start to their first top-flight campaign in almost 15 years, but over the past week they have slipped towards the lower end of the table, with the starting unit exhibiting signs of fatigue. As noted in past reports, the Fulie has a lot of well-known names on their roster, but most are aging veterans who cannot be expected to play week in and week out. Most are better suited to a role as a late substitute, to provide experience, poise and technical accuracy. But the torrid schedule this season will make it impossible for teams to play the same starting eleven in every contest, so the veterans have to start at least occasionally. This week, Shunsuke Nakamura made his second start of the campaign, and played a central role in Yokohama's tactical plans for this contest. But the real sparkplug in Yokohama's midfield engine is teenage prodigy Koki Saito, who scored six goals last year as a high-school senior and rookie.

The Urawa Reds also boast a lot of well-known names on their roster, and they also have enough depth to deal with this season's schedule without a drop in quality. On the other hand, the Diamond Dogs are still searching for consistency and team chemistry, having lost their last two. Perhaps this indicates that frequent turnover in the starting lineup is having a negative impact, as well as benefits. For Yokohama FC, though, the burden of playing three matches in eight days became evident as the contest progressed. This may have been exacerbated by a questionable change at half time. Though Nakamura is a shadow of the player he once was, he has the stamina and the intelligence to play a full 90 minutes if needed. Based on his play in the first half, which Nakamura closed out the with a powerful shot from the top of the penalty arc, albeit straight at the keeper, he was making an impact at both ends. But Coach Shimotaira replaced him with Takuya Matsuura, at intermission.

Whether or not this change was a factor, the Reds came out of the locker room with a rush, and opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Yosuke Kashiwagi launched the quick thrust with a sudden vertical pass to Takahiro Sekine, who spun as it arrived and immediately found himself with clear green in front of him, and Shinzo Koroki and Leandro lined up in the two channels, just waiting for the delivery. Sekine took two touches waiting for Leandro to gain a step on his marker, then fed a diagonal pass for the left post. Leandro touched it past the outrushing keeper, and the Reds had the lead.

Yokohama FC spent the rest of the second half patiently constructing plays to break down the Reds defense, but try as they might, they could not finish off any opportunities. Urawa's last victory, against Kashima two weeks ago, was also characterized by the Reds' ability to defend a single-goal lead. Nevertheless, the home team came away looking the more impressive. Deep in injury time, a Reds counterattack finally struck the killing blow. Following an interception at midfield, Kai Shibato took the ball all the way to the goal line on the left side, turned back, then looped the ball for the far post. An unmarked Everton headed home to put the contest to bed.

Date: 
26 July, 2020
Attendance: 
2,580
Location: 
Mitsuzawa (NGKSpring) Stadium

  0

0 1H 0
0 2H 2

2  

 

 Scoring

Leonardo (52')
Ewerton (90'+3)
  Cautions  

 Yuta Minami; Kyowaan Hoshi (Masakazu Tashiro 68'), Tomoki Kobayashi, Yutaro Hakamata; Mauginho (Eijiro Takeda 68'), Shunsuke Nakamura (Takuya Matsuura 45'), Kosuke Sato, Kohei Tezuka (Yusuke Minagawa 83'), Yusuke Matsuo; Kazumi Ichimi (Yuki Kusano 68'), Koki Saito.

 Shusaku Nishikawa; Daiki Hashioka, Tomoaki Makino, Daisuke Suzuki, Ryosuke Yamanaka; Everton, Yosuke Kashiwagi (Yuki Muto 76'), Takuya Aoki; Shinzo Koroki (Kenyu Sugimoto 61'), Leonardo (Kyotaro Ito 87'), Takahiro Sekine (Kai Shibato 87').

 


 

2 - 2

The Kashima Antlers entered this week's match with only a single win in their first six contests. As noted in last week's report, though, this is not really surprising considering how much turnover the team has experienced, and how young many of the core players are (especially in defense). The Golden Herd of Ibaraki continues to generate a lot of chances, but defensive miscues have cost the team greatly. Those who have been following the league for a while may recall that in 2007, a newcomer coach took over a young Antlers squad, including a very inexperienced defensive line including Atsuto Uchida, Daiki Iwamasa and Masahiko Inoha. In the early going, coach Oswaldo Oliveira took a lot of criticism for sticking with youngsters who often gave the ball away in dangerous positions, due to lack of experience.

But of course, history tells us that sticking with the young guns was the right move. Kashima finished the year with a record-breaking run of victories, securing the first of three consecutive titles. While Koki Machida, Shintaro Nago and Katsuya Nagato may still flub their lines from time to time, all show excellent fundamentals and good long-term prospects.

FC Tokyo, meanwhile, are flying high in the early stages. A 1-1 draw on Wednesday, against Consadole, knocked them down to third place, but the Capitol City Coon-dogs entered this match hoping that a win might pul them level with Frontale, atop the table.

Kashima opened the scoring with a flowing counterattack triggered by a long cross-field pass from Misao to Endo. Endo fed the ball down the right sideline to Hirose, who fired a perfect cross to Everaldo, chugging through the left channel and powering a header past Akihiro Hayashi. But after 44 minutes of solid play, the Antlers defense dropped their guard for an instant and were instantly levelled. FC Tokyo scored the equaliser in the final minute of first-half regular time, when defender Tsuyoshi Watanabe rose to meet a corner kick at the near post and headed the ball just under the crossbar. Just three minutes later Tokyo won another corner kick, and this time it was the other central defender, Masato Morishige, who slipped free of his mark and put the Coon-dogs in front.

Once again, the Antlers found themselves in a hole, despite controlling the run of play for at least 40 of the 45 minutes. FC Tokyo might have taken the gift a bit too generously, though, since they failed to really press home their advantage following the restart. It is possible that some players are just too fatigued to maintain alertness, but there was a clear sense early in the second half that the visitors squandered a chance to take charge of the contest. Before long, the Antlers were again controlling the run of play, and constructing one scoring chance after another. The Tanuki defense seemed perfectly happy to sit back and defend, then launch counterattacks to the speedy Kensuke Nagai and the powerful Diego Oliveira. But this handed the Antlers full control of the initiative, and Kashima do have enough experience to exploit a complacent defense.

In the 73rd minute, two of only five Kashima players who were on the team that played Real Madrid, at the Club World Cup, teamed up to unlock the Reds defense. Yasushi Endo collected a pass on the left sideline and locked eyes with Shoma Doi, who put his head down and started a dash into the left channel. Endo's chipped pass led Doi perfectly. The Antlers ace met the ball with a left-footed volley that shot inside the left post.

The equaliser seemed to burst all bounds of restraint on both teams, triggering a wild, nonstop slugfest over the final 15 minutes. Highlights included an audacious overhead volley by Everaldo - straight at the keeper - and a delicious long-distance lob by Endo which cleared the keeper's fingertips and rattled the crossbar. But the score remained level at the final whistle, to the despair of both sides.

Date: 
26 July, 2020
Attendance: 
--
Location: 
Kashima Stadium

  2

1 1H 2
1 2H 0

2  

Everaldo (34')
Shoma Doi (75')

 Scoring

Tsuyoshi Watanabe (45')
Masato Morishige (45'+5)
Kensuke Nagai
Masato Morishige
Diego Oliveira
Cautions Juan Alano

 Kwoun Sun-Tae; Rikuto Hirose, Tomoya Inukai, Koki Machida, Katsuya Nagato; Yuto Misao, Leo Silva  (Ryota Nagaki 84'), Juan Alano (Ryuji Izumi 67'), Yasushi Endo; Everaldo, Sho Ito (Shoma Doi 67').

  Akihiro Hayashi; Sei Muroya, Tsuyoshi Watanabe, Masato Morishige, Ryoya Ogawa (Hotaka Nakamura 84'); Hirotaka Mita (Adailton 54'), Yojiro Takahagi (Arthur Silva 84'), Shuto Abe (89'); Diego Oliveira, Kensuke Nagai (Taichi Hara 66'), Takuya Uchida (Kazuya Amano 54').

 


 

 4 - 2  

Shimizu S-Pulse secured their first point of the season on Wednesday, but remain at the bottom of the table. This weekend's match against Oita Trinita, at Nihondaira Stadium, was therefore viewed as an important test for the Wingheads, and a chance to secure their first win. Despite losing all but one of their six this season, S-Pulse has looked competitive in most contests, but has not been able to produce enough goals to keep them in the contest.

The opening 45 minutes of this contest was typical of what we have seen from S-Pulse this year. They enjoyed a lot of possession in the early going, and even created a few chances, the most dangerous of which was finished off by Yusuke Goto, who fired a screamer that shuddered the right post. The pressure finally paid off in the 40th minute, as Valdo won a corner kick and Hwang Seok-Ho rose at the far post to head home the opening tally.

In the opening minutes of the second half, S-Pulse finally seemed to find their rhythm, working the ball forward with confidence and patiently waiting for clear passing lanes. The critical moment arrived in the 57th minute, when Renato Augusto headed down a corner kick for Carlinhos Junior at the right post, and Carlinhos lashed his shot into the roof of the net. This goal seemed to break all the tension and uncertainty that was holding the Wingheads back. They shifted into high gear, ready to roll over the toppled Turtles . . . but then . . .

the heavens above Mt. Fuji opened and lightning flashed through the sky. Players fled for the dugouts and fans rushed to get under some sort of roof or awning. Play was suspended for the next hour, until the thundershowers passed. Naturally, any rhythm that had developed was long gone, though S-Pulse did play with greater confidence than they have shown in recent weeks. About ten minutes after play resumed (officially, in the 70th minute) S-Pulse won another corner kick, and this time big Yugo Tatsuta rose at the near post to extend Shimizu's lead to 3-0

Oita has had some modest success this year in playing a counterattacking style, but when forced to chase a lead, they struggle to create the sort of space that they need to put shots on goal. Shimizu had a few chances to extend the lead soon after their third goal, but as the clock ticked down, they started to sag back on defense and let time tick away. With seven minutes on the clock another S-Pulse set play - this time a free kick - was headed home by Valdo, raising the advantage to 4-0

The Turtles finally crawled out of their shell with three minutes remaining, Kei Chinen just beating the offside trap and breaking away on a counterattack, to fire an uncontested shot past Togo Umeda. Just one minute later Chinen again broke out, this time don the right channel. His cross for the opposite post was bundled home by Yuya Takazawa. This late explosion took some of the shine off Shimizu's victory, but the Wingheads claimed their first win of the 2020 campaign.

Date: 
26 July, 2020
Attendance: 
2,697
Location: 
Nihondaira (IAI) Stadium

 4

2 1H 0
3 2H 1

2  

Hwang Seok-Ho (41')
Carlinhos Junior (57')
Yugo Tatsuta (70')
Valdo (84')

 Scoring

Kei Chinen (87')
Yuya Takazawa (88')
  Cautions  

  Togo Umeda; Elsinho, Valdo, Yugo Tatsuta, Hwang Seok-Ho; Renato Augusto, Ryo Takeuchi, Yusuke Goto (Keita Nakamura 88'); Shota Kaneko (Teerasil Dangda 90+3') Carlinhos Junior, Kenta Nishizawa (Yuito Suzuki 71').

Shun Takagi? Yuki Kagawa (Yuto Misao 66'), Yoshinori Suzuki, Tomoki Iwata, Ryosuke Tone; Toshio Shimakawa (Yushi Hasegawa 66'), Tatsuya Tanaka (Yuya Takazawa 66'), Kazuki Kozuka (Daiki Watari 45'); Kaoru Takayama (Yuta Koide 66'), Kazuhiro Sato; Kei Chinen.

 


  5 - 1  

Kashiwa Reysol returned to the J1 this season with a lot of ambition and high hopes. After winning the J2 title last season, many are openly discussing the possibility that the Sun Kings might repeat their 2010-11 feat of winning consecutive J2 and J1 titles. But Reysol got off to a sluggish start, as coach Nelson Baptista Junior (Nelsinho) tries to find the right player mix to deal with the sterner opposition of J1 opponents, and the continued absence of Cristiano, the team's leading playmaker and offensive spark for the past several seasons. In his absence, the weight of scoring has fallen on the capable shoulders of Michael Olunga, who is an early favourite to win this year's golden boot. Ataru Esaka is also having a strong season, and refining his chemistry with Olunga as the matches go by. This weekend the two got to show off a bit, as a sluggish, visibly fatigued Vegalta Sendai ran out of gas before half time, and were left in a cloud of dust by the high-octane Reysol attack.

Reysol opened the scoring just 20 minutes after kickoff, on a quick break down the middle, set into motion by a strong post play by Olunga and a feed to Esaka, who dribbled away two on two, with Hayato Nakama on his right. Esaka tried to draw in the defenders before dishing off to Nakama in the right channel, for a drive past the keeper. Reysol doubled their lead in the 40th minute when Yusuke Segawa made a hustling play to chase down a long pass before it crossed the end line. With a sweeping lunge of the right boot, Segawa pulled the ball back across the face of goal, and Olunga was waiting like a patient poacher at the edge of the six yard box, to finish off the play with a header.

Vegalta struck back just three minutes after the restart, when Shuhei Akasaki fired a quick cross in from the left flank and Kosuke Nakamura could not handle it cleanly. The ball dropped loose in front of goal and Takuma Nishimura toed it into the back strings before the Reysol keeper could cover the ball. For the next few minutes Vegalta pressed the ball hard, trying to maintain the momentum. But the Sun Kings were just getting warmed up, and as the hour mark approached they shifted the offensive intensity into high gear.

In the 58th minute Ataru Esaka made a sudden dribbling run forward across the center circle and picked out Olunga as he sprinted down the left channel. Olunga cut back towards the middle, leaving the last defender frozen in his tracks at the left side of the box, then fired across the face of goal, off the base of the right post and into the side netting. Just a minute and a half later, Esaka played a one-touch pass to Yusuke Segwa on the right side, and Segawa fed Olunga a diagonal pass that led the speedy Kenyan on a sprint into the box. Yuma Obata charged out but Olunga flicked the ball on and went down in a heap at Obata's challenge.

The Vegalta keeper recovered some pride, and kept the match competitive, with a diving save, off to his right to deny Olunga's spot kick. But the Reysol ace eventually did finish off a hat trick. In the 73rd minute Masatoshi Mihara played a pinpoint through pass to the Kenyan as he drifted across the top of the six-yard box. Olunga used his body to hold off the defender, collect the pass and then flick it past the keeper. The remainder of the match was just a test of Vegalta's ability to retain pride and defensive focus in the face of a clearly superior attack.

The Golden Eagles managed to scramble away a few Reysol chances over the next ten minutes, but eventually Yusuke Segawa put the cap on the contest in the 85th minute, finishing off a rolling counterattack with a powerful drive into the low right corner, for the team's 12th goal in its past three games. Olunga raised his personal tally to 8 on the season, putting him way out in front as the leading scorer, while the win boosted the Sun Kings to midtable, right on the heels of the frontrunners.

Date: 
26 July, 2020
Attendance: 
2,500
Location: 
Kashiwa (Sankyo) Stadium

  5

2 1H 0
3 2H 1

1  

Hayato Nakama (20')
Michael Olunga (40')
Michael Olunga (58')
Michael Olunga (73')
Yusuke Segawa (86')

 Scoring

Takuma Nishimura (48')
  Cautions Kyohei Yoshino

 Kosuke Nakamura; Taiyo Koga (Naoki Kawaguchi 89'), Yuji Takahashi, Takuma Oominami, Hiromu Mitsumaru; Hidekazu Otani, Masatoshi Mihara, Hayato Nakama (Sachiro Toshima 84'); Yuta Kamiya (Yusuke Segawa 83'), Ataru Esaka; Michael Olunga.

Yuma Obata; Koji Hachisuka (Takayoshi Ishihara 45'), Kyohei Yoshino, Kim Jung-Ya, Yoo Ki-ho; Ryohei Michibuchi (Shun Nagasawa 67'), Keiya Shiihashi, Shogo Nakahara (Kunimitsu Sekiguchi 63'); Ryo Germain (Takuma Nishimura 45'), Shuhei Akasaki (Yasuhiro Hiraoka 79'), Alexandre Guedes.

 


 

  0 - 2

The Kansai Derby match delivered two equally important messages to early-season tipsters, though only one of them really comes as a surprise. First, the result illustrated Vissel Kobe's continued inability to turn cash and high-profile acquisitions into on-field success. Second, and just as importantly, it showed that coach Tsuneyasu Miyamoto is finally starting to get his Gamba Osaka team running smoothly. Several veterans with European experience, including Takashi Usami, Yuji Ono and Yosuke Ideguchi, have returned to Japan to add experience to the Gamba fold recently, and are starting to rediscover their comfort zone at the Panasonic Stadium. While Vissel have become a virtual icon of what happens when individual talent is combined with team disunity, Gamba are slowly evolving into a truly well-balanced team. There are still some rough spots to work on, but Gamba fully deserve their current second-place spot in the league table.

Like the other derby contest on Sunday (see below), this match started off as a very cagy affair, with both teams focusing on defensive solidity and patiently probing for gaps in the opposing formation for the entire first half. The contest remained scoreless until the 62nd minute, when a lapse of defensive concentration cost Kobe dearly. As Gamba passed the ball around the perimeter -- as they had dozens of times in the contest, Yuji Ono managed to ghost in behind his marker, Thomas Vermaelen, while the Belgian international was focused on the ball. Ryu Takao spotted Ono as he dropped back a step or two, creating space behind Vermaelen at the left post. Takao's laser pass left Vermaelen with no time to react, and by the time he had turned to mark Ono, the nimble little playmaker had already one-timed the ball into the right corner.

In the 79th minute Vissel finally unlocked the Gamba defense, with Andres Iniesta feeding Kyogo Furuhashi on a diagonal run into the box. But a spectacular save by Higashiguchi, leaping to his left to push the ball around the post, kept the Crimson at bay.

With five minutes to play, Takashi Usami drove in the killing blow, in one of Gamba's rare periods of sustained possession. After working the ball around the Kobe end for a sequence of about 20 passes, Ideguchi spotted Usami about 30 meters out, and unmarked directly above the penalty arc. With a swift cross, Ideguchi set Usami up and the former Dusseldorf attacking midfielder fired a rising line drive that sliced through the Crimson defensive curtain and into the top left corner.

Date: 
26 July, 2018
Attendance: 
4,746
Location: 
Kobe (Noevir) Stadium

  0

0 1H 0
0 2H 2

2  

 

 Scoring

Yuji Ono (62')
Takashi Usami (86')
  Cautions Yuya Fukuda
Riku Matsuda

Hiroki Iikura; So Fujitani, Reo Oosaki, Thomas Vermaelen, Gotoku Sakai; Hotaru Yamaguchi, Andres Iniesta, Daiju Sasaki, (Yuta Goke 66'), Keijiro Ogawa, Douglas (Junya Tanaka 71'), Kyogo Furuhashi.

 Masaaki Higashiguchi; Hiroki Fujiharu, Genta Miura, Kim Young-Gwon, Ryu Takao (Riku Mastsuda 75'); Yuya Fukuda (Yuki Yamamoto 87'), Yosuke Ideguchi, Shinya Yajima; Yuji Ono (Shu Kurata 62'), Kazuma Watanabe (Patric 87'), Takashi Usami (Keisuke Kurokawa 87') .

 


 

  3 - 1  

Kawasaki Frontale have been the pacesetters over the first few weeks of the season, and their victory over Shonan Bellmare in the Kanagawa Derby match on Sunday put them three points clear atop the table, as one of only two unbeaten teams in the J1. This was not an easy victory for the Blue Dolphins, however. Shonan Bellmare put up a good fight, and kept the match close until the very final minutes. After a scoreless first half it was the Shonan Beach Boys who opened the scoring just short of the hour mark -- a brilliant bicycle kick by Tarik to volley home Shota Kobayashi's cross from the right side of the box.

But the potent Frontale offense responded almost immediately, breaking out after a Shonan corner kick on a two-on-two gallop. Kyohei Noborizato's long clearance sent Ryota Oshima off on an upfield ramble, and as soon as he attracted the last defender, Oshima fed Miki Yamane unmarked down the right channel, for an easy finish. After the equaliser, the two teams battled back and forth for about 20 minutes, with Bellmare giving as good as they got until about the 78th minute. But a tragic defensive blunder gifted Kaoru Mitoma the ball just outside the Shonan box, and Mitoma did the rest all by himself, driving into the box and firing a shot just inside the left post.

Bellmare tried to fight back to level terms, but with just three minutes remaining, Ao Tanaka made a lunge into the passing lane to steal the ball in Bellmare territory, burst into the open and fire past Kosei Tani, securing all three points for Frontale.

Date: 
18 July, 2020
Attendance: 
2,645
Location: 
Todoroki Stadium

  3

0 1H 0
3 2H 1

1  

Miki Yamane (61')
Kaoru Mitoma (78')
Ao Tanaka (88')

 Scoring

Tarik (57')
  Cautions  

Jung Sung-Ryong ; Miki Yamane, Jesiel, Shogo Taniguchi, Kyohei Noborizato; Hidemasa Morita, Hokuto Shimoda (Ao Tanaka 84'); Yasuto Wakizaka, (Ryota Oshima 58'), Akihiro Ienaga (Leandro Damiao 66'), Reo Hatate (Kaoru Mitoma 57'); Yu Kobayashi (Taisei Miyashiro 66').

Kosei Tani; Hirokazu Ishihara, Kazuki Oiwa, Kazunari Ono; Taskuya Okamoto (Shota Kobayashi 45'), Mitsuki Saito (Sosuke Shibata 79'), Daiki Kaneko, Tenma Matsuda (Akito Fukuta 69'), Toichi Suzuki; Hiroto Nakagawa (Tarik 45'), Yuto Iwasaki (Naoki Ishihara 59').

 


 

    1 - 1 

Full match report will be posted shortly

Date: 
18 July, 2020
Attendance: 
3,413
Location: 
Tosu (Ekimae) Stadium

  1

0 1H 0
1 2H 1

1  

Ishii (51')

 Scoring

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto (75')
Eduardo Cautions Naoyuki Fujita
Yuta Koike

 Yohei Takaoka; Terumki Hara, Hideto Takahashi, Eduardo (Ryan Yong-gi 86'); Ryoya Morishita, Daiki Matsuoka, Riki Harakawa (Yuta Higuchi 79'), Yuto Uchida; Kasei Ishii (Daichi Hayashi 68'), Tomoya Koyamatsu (An Yong-Woo 79'), Yohei Toyoda ( Renzo Lopes 86').

  Kim Jin-Hyeon; Riku Matsuda, Yasuki Kimoto, Yusuke Maruhashi (Yuta Koike 73'), Matej Jonjic; Naoyuki Fujita, Leandro Desabato, Hiroshi Kiyotake (Hiroaki Okuno 73'), Tatsuhiro Sakamoto; Yoichiro Kakitani (Eiichi Katayama 45'), Yuta Toyokawa (Koji Suzuki 73');

 


 

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