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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Grampus Climb Back Up to 2nd with Two Games to Go

In a thrilling encounter before a packed crowd at Kyoto's Nishikyogoku Stadium, Grampus earned the three points in another last-gasp win. After taking a 2-nil lead in the first half, Nagoya seemed to have thrown away two points by allowing Kyoto to claw their way back to 2-2. However, a calmly struck penalty by Frode Johnsen in injury time saw them come away with the three point they needed maintain their championship challenge.

Nagoya started the game strongly, with Johnsen forcing Nishimura to push a diving header past the post for a corner. Ogawa's deep corner keep to the back post was met by Magnum, who headed home to give the Red Whales the lead after only 70 seconds. Grampus continued to dominate play during the first half and Magnum extended their lead after 25 minutes. At this point, it looked as though Nagoya would win comfortably, but they were unable to get hat crucial third goal that would have made the game safe. The failure to do so would come back to haunt them in the second half.

Sanga boss clearly managed to motivate his team at half time, as they came out showing much more purpose and determination in for the second 45 minutes. Tatsuya Masushima's long throws started to cause problems for an otherwise solid looking defense, but the lack of organization between Nishimura and the back line occasionally gave Sanga hope. Kyoto duly got back into the game when Yanagisawa pounced on a loose ball to fire home from 10 yards. He then pulled Sanga level with a second 10 minutes later when he converted the loose ball after Nishimura has parried a somewhat dubious penalty. This setup a tense, nerve-wracking final few minutes.

The game had already been delayed for several minutes, after an injury to Kyoto keeper Mizutani, when another few minutes were added as Kyoto sub Nakatani was injured after a collision between Yoshida and Nishimura as they tried to clear a dangerous through ball. This saw Yoshida fall on top of Nakatani, who was winded enough to require his own withdrawal from the game. Initially, this looked as though Kyoto had a good claim for a penalty themselves, but TV replays show that the main contact with Nakatani came after Maya's collision with the keeper, rather than his initial challenge on Kyoto player. Still, it was a heart-stopping moment for Grampus fans, as the decision could easily have gone against them.

The game was decided deep into the seven minutes of injury time, when Frode Jonhsen was obstructed as he attempted to get to a Sugimoto cross. He calmly took his time, not allowing Kyoto any chance for gamesmanship, and fired home the penalty to clinch the win.

Kyoto Sanga
Yuichi Mizutani
Tatsuya Masushima, Kazuki Teshima (Yusuke Nakatani HT -> Yasumasa Nishino 89), Hiroki Mizumoto, Daigo Watanabe,
Sidiclei, Yuto Sato, Jun Ando, Makoto Kakuda
Takenori Hayashi (Fernandinho 70), Atsushi Yanagisawa
Scorers: Yanagisawa 56, 67

Grampus
Koji Nishimura
Akira Takeuchi, Maya Yshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Magnum, Naoshi Nakamura (Keita Sugimoto 73), Kei Yamaguchi, Yoshizumi Ogawa
Keiji Tamada (Milos Bajalica 90+6), Frode Johnsen
Scorers: Magnum 1, 25, Johnsen 90+5

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