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Monday, 8 December 2008

Grampus Secure ACL Place in Final Game

Nagoya Grampus earned the point they needed at Oita to ensure their participation in next year's Asian Champions League. However, Kawasaki Frontale's win, against former crosstown rivals Verdy, meant that they took second place in the final standings, with Grampus finishing third.

Although it is disappointing that having come so close, Grampus were unable to claim the J1 title, a top three finish is an excellent start to the "Pixie" era. The fact that the team fell slightly short, and will have the tough ACL schedule next year, should make it easier for the manager to strengthen the team without ruffling too many feathers. Although the players starting regularly have shown they can compete for titles, the lack of depth in the squad has been exposed when key players have been suspended or injured. Once the Emperor's Cup is out of the way, expect to see the team making two or three big signings to give the team enough depth to allow Stojkovic to rotate players in each area of the field and remain competitive.

Other views of the closing round of games:
Asahi-IHI, Daily Yomiuri, and the Japan Times

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