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Monday, 1 December 2008

Grampus Keep Title Hope Alive for Last Game

Nagoya almost let a game they were dominating slip away with a nervy second half performance again, but eventually ran out 3-1 winners. Of course, the idiots at the IHI Asahi sent a reporter off to Sapporo, to report on a game played in Nagoya. (I hope their hotel had a good TV.) Meanwhile, the Japan Times was right on the ball and sent their reporter to Nagoya.

As was the case last week in Kyoto, Grampus got off to a good start, scoring after six and 12 minutes. The first was precision free-kick by Yoshizumi Ogawa that clipped the far post as it thundered into the back of the net. The second saw Keita Sugimoto pounce to poke home after Consadole 'keeper Sato fumbled in front of goal. Magnum should have made the game safe later half casually slipping the ball past Sato, but also wide of the post. Indeed Magnum should probably have scored a hat-trick, missing a couple of excellent opportunities in the second half as well.

Unfortunately, that vital third goal continued to prove elusive in the second half. The lively Davi, who had already wasted one excellent chance in the first half, mad amends for his earlier miss as Takahiro Masukawa made an embarrassing error to gift the Brazilian an easy chance. Gentle Giant "Masu" went sprawling as he clumsily tripped over himself on the edge of the penalty area, allowing Davi to skip past Nishimura and slide the ball into the empty net. At 1-2, Grampus could easily have repeated last week's dismal lapses. Despite their best efforts Sapporo did not have quite have the quality to make their brief spell of control count, and Nagoya soon reasserted control, but were no longer looking as assured of victory. However, Atsushi Yoneyama scored a third goal to make the score-line look more respectable. His swerving free-kick a minute or so into injury time found Sato wanting again and allowed the departing Yoneyama to enjoy a hero's send off from the home crowd.

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