J-league Round Eight Wrap

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Week eight of the 2011 J-League was a little less astounding, yet just as exciting as week seven with Kashima Antlers and league leaders Kashiwa Reysol completing come-from-behind wins as well as Gamba Osaka completing a 3-2 victory in the final few minutes.

It was relief for Kashima as their win was vital to kick off a labouring start to the season. For the defeated it was deflation that overwhelmed them as they blew their early lead and sit point-less at the foot of the ladder.

Gamba’s win, though, was more a sense of joy as they pushed into the top three. Meanwhile there were three 1-1 draws, including two late goals for both Yokohama F Marinos and Shimizu S-Pulse. The visitors perhaps thought they had clinched the win with an 80th minute goal but Yokohama equalised five minutes later.

Cerezo Osaka v Albirex Niigata (1 [Inui 42’] – 1 [Lopes 3’])

Cerezo:

3. Teruyuki Moniwa
4. Kota Fujimoto
5. Masaki Chugo
7. Takashi Inui
9. Rodrigo Pimpao
10. Martinez
13. Hiroshi Kiyotake
14. Yusuke Maruhashi
20. Daisuke Takahashi
21. Kim Jin-Hyeon (GK)
23. Shu Kurata
Albirex:
3. Kazuhiko Chiba
4. Daisuke Suzuki
6. Yuta Mikado
9. Young-Cheol Cho
10. Michael
11. Bruno Lopes
14. Seiya Fujita
15. Isao Homma
21. Masaaki Higashiguchi (GK)
24. Gotoku Sakai
36. Naoya Kikuchi
Albirex Niigata took a surprising early lead in this encounter with the ever dangerous Bruno Lopes managing to find himself in a lot of space in the area. His curled finish was a majestic shot full of composure and confidence, and regardless of the poor defence to allow such room it was a great goal.
Lopes was allowed so much space though, because the Cerezo center backs were drawn wide and were committed to pressing the man despite leaving such gaping holes. When a tackle was mistimed and good skill released Lopes, the home side could do nothing.
The idea was to press hard and not allow Niigata any possession and keep the tempo high. While they certainly pressed and tried to play at a high tempo, the passing was sloppy and poor. Niigata, content with their early lead tried to keep the pace of the match at a lower level and were happy to pass sideways and backwards. They didn’t press as often and didn’t play with the same forward intent.
Their passing was cleaner and more effective.

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Playing a deeper line and with better positional organisation, the Albirex midfielders could latch into the spaces left by the Cerezo defenders as they closed down. It allowed Albirex to pass comfortably and lower the tempo. The movement continued to threaten and the visitors broke Cerezo’s defence a few more times, yet they couldn’t score.

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It hurt them before the break when the second and final goal of the match was scored. The insistent high tempo and direct play did pay off for Cerezo despite leaving them under pressure a few times with poor passing. Rodrigo Pimpao, Cerezo’s best player by far ended another superb run at the defence with a ball split straight through for Takashi Inui.
The second half was end to end and both sides wasted opportunities to get into the lead.
3. Gamba Osaka – 6pts
4. Albirex Niigata – 5pts
5. Sanfreece Hiroshima – 5pts
14. Kawasaki Frontale – 3pts
15. Cerezo Osaka – 2pts
16. Ventforet Kofu – 1pt

Nagoya Grampus v Kawasaki Frontale (2 [Tamada 33’, 82’] – 0)

Nagoya:
1. Seigo Narazaki (GK)
4. Tulio
5. Takahiro Masukawa
7. Naoshi Nakamura
8. Jungo Fujimoto
11. Keiji Tamada
16. Joshua Kennedy
18. Kensuke Nagai
32. Hayuma Tanaka
38. Alessandro Santos
Kawasaki:
3. Yusuke Tanaka
4. Yusuke Igawa
8. Takanobu Komiyama
9. Takuro Yajima
13. Koji Yamase
14. Kengo Nakamura
17. Kosuke Kikuchi
19. Kosei Shibasaki
20. Junichi Inamoto
23. Kyohei Noborizato
28. Rikihiro Sugiyama (GK)
Nagoya held out for a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Kawasaki. Two Keiji Tamada strikes – both featuring Josh Kennedy in the build-up play – secured the Champions’ first win of the season.
While the attack was good and the goals deserved, Nagoya’s defence needs praise as the back four consistently denied dangerous Kawasaki attacks. What made their job even harder was Tulio having to leave the field injured. The defence was perhaps helped though, by Kawasaki’s lack of real conviction in the final third. The visitors were patient in their build-up and fluid in their passing but lacked structure when it came to actually creating a clear chance.

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Nagoya Grampus on the other hand, was happy to be more direct with Kennedy up front. He held off a defender and controlled the ball with his head twice before laying off Tamada for the first goal. For the second he showed similar strength before displaying his more creative side with a neat back-heel for Tamada.
9. Vissel Kobe – 4pts
10. Nagoya Grampus – 4pts
11. Kashima Antlers – 4pts
13. Urawa Reds – 3pts
14. Kawasaki Frontale – 3pts
15. Cerezo Osaka – 2pts
Full results:
Avispa Fukuoka 1 – 2 Kashima Antlers
Vissel Kobe 0 – 1 Omiya Ardija
Kashiwa Reysol 2 – 1 Ventforet Kofu
Vegalta Sendai 1 – 0 Urawa Reds
Yokohama F. Marinos 1 – 1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Cerezo Osaka 1 – 1 Albirex Niigata
Gamba Osaka 3 – 2 Montedio Yamagata
Júbilo Iwata 1 – 1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Nagoya Grampus 2 – 0 Kawasaki Frontale

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