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Monday, 10 November 2008

Nagoya Still Hanging onto J1 Title Chances... just

Nagoya's poor run of league results continued with a disappointing 1-2 loss to Kashiwa Reysol. This means that the team has not won in the league since mid-September, a series that concluded with four draws and yesterday's loss over their last five games. Incredibly, this has seem the team only drop down to third position and leaves them still only two points off the leaders. Such is the lack of consistency of the leaders in the league this year.

This result was particularly disappointing since the team, after a nervy start, controlled most of the game. Indeed they should have taken an early lead when Frode Johsen had sweetly struck goal ruled out incorrectly for offside aft 12 minutes. (A decision so obvious that even NHK could not avoid pointing out that it was a bad call.) This call was an early turning point in the game. Despite the disallowed goal, this saw Grampus seize control of the game, after Reysol had made the brighter start. The team duly capitalized on their improved possession by taking the lead when Ogawa finished off a flowing move just after the half-hour mark.

Grampus continued to control the pace of the game in the second half and had several decent chances to extend their lead, but were unable to get that all important second goal. This was to prove costly as the game turned on two minute nightmare 10 minutes from the end that saw Reysol equalize and then grab all three points with a perfectly timed through ball that Popo slotted past reserve goalie Nishimura.

Nagoya's next league game is against Kyoto Sanga, who all but secured their J1 survival with a crucial 3-1 win over the Yokohama Marinos. However, Sanga are still not mathematically safe and will be determined to earn more valuable points. It should be a cracking game, if nerve-wracking game. The high stakes of the game, and Kyoto's erratic form, make it difficult to predict the outcome. However, it seems unlikely that Grampus fans will get to see rookie Sho Hanai in this game, unlike the Nabisco Cup game earlier this year.

The Gomiuri has this take on the game.

Kashiwa Reysol
Takanori Sugeno
Yusuke Murakami, Masahiro Koga, Yuzo Kobayashi, Hidekazu Otani
Keisuke Ota, Ryoichi Kurizawa, Kota Sugiyama, Alex
Franca (Popo HT), Minoru Suganuma
Scorers: Suganuma 79, Popo 81

Koji Nishimura
Akira Takeuchi, Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe (Yuki Maki 84)
Magnum (Atsushi Yoneyama 79), Naoshi Nakamura, Keiji Yoshimura, Yoshizumi Ogawa
Keiji Tamada (Keita Sugimoto 73), Frode Johnsen
Scorer: Ogawa 32

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