Monday, 2 June 2008

Maki and Tsuda Twist Knife as Grampus Progress to Knock-out Stage

18-year-old rookie Sho Hanai sets up dramatic injury-time winner as Nagoya come from behind to send Kyoto out of the Nabisco Cup.

A dramatic start, in which Sanga took the lead in the first minute, is matched by an even more dramatic finish as Grampus equalise with five minutes to go, and score the winner three minutes into injury time. The dramatic conclusion to this game was tough on Kyoto, who had looked set to keep their faint hopes of qualification alive until Grampus substitutes Hanai, Niigawa and Tsuda changed the flow of the game.

Sanga got the perfect start, when a punched clearance by Nishimura fell to Yuto Sato, who blasted home from the edge of the box with less than a minute gone. While hardly dominating, Kyoto looked the more organised and enterprising and forced Nishimura to make amends for his poor clearance with a couple of good saves to keep Grampus in the game. However, the introduction of Hanai, Niigawa and Tsuda in the second half changed the tone of the game. Maki had already seen a close-range effort come back off the post before he blasted in the equaliser in the 85th minute. Grampus U-18 graduate, Sho Hanai, then helped complete the turn around with a thru-pass to put Tomohiro Tsuda clear and the striker calmly slotted home the winner to send the travelling Nagoya fans into wild scenes of celebration.

For Grampus, this was a significant win in that it not only guaranteed their qualification for the knock-out stage, it also gave several young players valuable experience in a winning cause. However, it also revealed that Miki and Matsukawa are no substitute for Yoshida and Bajalica at the heart of the defence. It also indicated one of the tests awaiting manager Stojkovic, that is strengthening the squad so that the team is likely to sustain a challenge for the league title. Dramatic though this win was, the team's struggle to get into the game until fresh legs were introduced, showed that the squad lacks depth of quality. While rookies Sato and Hanai look promising, with Hanai have several useful touches during his brief appearance, others were less impressive.

Kyoto Sanga
Yuichi Mizutani
Yusuke Nakatani, Kazuki Teshima, Tatsuya Masushima, Makoto Kakuda
Sidiclei, Yuto Sato, Hiroki Nakayama (Ryuzo Morioka)
Takaaki Tokushige, Yutaka Tahara, Atsushi Yanagisawa
Scorer: Sato 1

Koji Nishimura
Masaya Sato, Takahiro Masukawa, Miki, Akira Takeuchi
Masaki Fukai, Toshiya Fujita, Keiji Yoshimura, Atsushi Yoneyama
Yuki Maki, Keita Sugimoto
Scorers: Maki 85, Tsuda 93

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