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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Grampus March Back to Top of J.League Hill

Another come-from-behind victory. Another three points. Another stint at the top of the table.

Yes, Nagoya reclaimed top position with a 3-2 win over Shimizu S-Pulse to leapfrog leaders Urawa, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Tokyo Verdy. With only a dozen games remaining in the season, it looks like Grampus could well be challenging for the league title this year. This will pose an unexpectedly early test of Stojkovic's ability to handle this sort of situation. (Even legendry Grampus manager Arsène Wenger did not manage this level of success.)

However, winning the league title this year may make it more difficult to strengthen the team, as is surely necessary if the team it to challenge consistently for the title. Apart from the exceptional improvement from youngsters such as Maya Yoshida and Yoshizumi Ogawa this year, the team has also been fortunate not to lose any key players to injury. A stronger squad with adequate replacements in key positions are a priority for next year. At the moment, only the central defence really has the kind of depth needed to sustain a consistent challenge.

Grampus
Seigo Narazaki
Akira Takeuchi, Milos Bajalica, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Magnum, Naoshi Nakamura, Keiji Yoshimura, Yoshizumi Ogawa
Keiji Tamada, Frode Johnsen
Scorers: Tamada 23, 52, Magnum 49

Shimizu S-Pulse
Yohei Nishibe
Daisuke Ichikawa, Aoyama, Kazumichi Takagi, Arata Kodama
Marcus Paulo,

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