Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Hiroshima Hold Grampus to Goalless Draw

In a move reflecting the need to spice up the midfield, manager Stojkovic included Akira Takeuchi at right back, with Hayuma Tanaka moving up into midfield. Yuki Maki got a start in place of Tamada, indicating that the manager is less than convinced by any of his option if Tamada or Davi are unavailable.

Although it is encouraging that the defense managed to hold free-scoring Sanfrecce goalless, the first team to do so this year, the lack of offensive punch cost us two home points. Tamada is expected back for the game against Kyoto on Saturday, and has been sorely missed in his absence. However, it looks like the team will struggle to create chances while Magnum is out injured.

Nagoya had the better of the first half, with Yuki Maki seeing a diving header come back off the cross-bar close to the half hour mark. He also saw another chance go begging, after a good run by Davi on the right, when his shot was cleared by a last-ditch lunge by a defender.

The second half was more even Hiroshima also managing to create a few chances, especially Hisato Sato, although none of them really troubled Narazaki. Despite five players in midfield, and the introduction of another when Hanai appeared, they could not break down Hiroshima to create a clear scoring opportunity, apart from one snap-shot by Davi early in the half.

Seigo Narazaki
Akira Takeuchi (Sho Hanai 75), Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Hayuma Tanaka, Naoshi Nakamura, Keiji Yoshimura (Kei Yamaguchi 56), Yoshizumi Ogawa
Yuki Maki (Keita Sugimoto 64), Davi

Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Hirotsugu Nakabayashi
Ryota Moriwaki, Koji Nakajima, Tomoaki Makino
Ri Han Jae, Kazuyuki Morisaki, Toshihiro Aoyama, Kota Hattori
Ysuke Kashiwaki, Yojiro Takahagi
Hisato Sato

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bajalica Flies Home to Visit Family

Grampus defender Milos Bajalica is returning to Serbia, for family reasons, the club has announced. This means he will miss, at least, the next couple of games for the club. The press release says that a return date has yet to be determined.

Magnum Out for Six Weeks

Nagoya are reporting that key midfielder Magnum will be out for six weeks with a damaged medial collateral ligament. This injury was inflicted when Magnum was nobbled by Ben Kantarovski in the ACL game against the Newcastle Jets last Wednesday.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Grampus Grab Vital Win over Marinos

Despite the (as expected) absence of Tamada and Magnum, Yoshizumi Ogawa inspires and come-from-behind win over Yokohama Marinos. Forced to field a weakened team due to injury and fatigue, manager Stockovic will have been delighted with the team's ability to get a result regardless. The importance of this win is hard to over emphasize, last year the team's title challenge faltered when Magnum was forced to miss several games in the run in.

The Marinos had the better of the first half, and deservedly went in at half time with a 1-0 lead. However, Grampus upped the pace in the second half and Yoshida's close-range header from an Ogawa corner pulled them level. This goal came immediately after Takeuchi had come on for Yamaguchi and may well have owed much to confusion in the Marinos defense. Enomoto was certainly nowhere near the ball as he charged off his line. Ogawa then went onto score the winner with with a stunning free kick that gave the hapless Enomoto no chance..

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Kei Yamaguchi (Akira Tekuchi 71), Naoshi Nakamura (Shinta Fukushima), Keiji Yoshimura, Yoshizumi Ogawa
Tomohiro Tsuda (Keita Sugimoto 58), Davi
Scorers: Yoshida 71, Ogawa 86

Yokohama Marinos
Tetsuya Enomoto
Kim Kun Hoan, Naoki Matsuda, Yuji Nakazawa, Jeong Dong Ho (Takanobu Komiya 76)
Shohei Ogura, Shingo Hyodo, Yusuke Tanaka
Daisuke Sakata (Kota Mizunuma 86), Kazuma Watanabe (Mike Havanaar 86), Koji Yamase
Scorer: Sakata 43

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Magnum and Tamada to Miss Marinos Clash?

The ChuSpo is reporting that both Keiji Tamada and Magnum are likely to absent for this weekend's match against Yokohama Marinos. Although this means Keita Sugimoto is almost certain to start in place of Tamada, it will be interesting to see who lines up in midfield. It it an unlikely scenario, but I for one will be hoping we get to see Sho Hanai in action.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Grampus Ease Past Woeful Jets

Nagoya earned three away points at Newcastle, to all but guarantee their progress to the next stage of this year's Asian Champions League tournament. They are four points clear of the teams in third and fourth place, with two games to go, and the upcoming match-ups make it unlikely that either of them will make up the difference, even if Nagoya were to slip up.

This game saw the same 3-5-2 (3-6-1?) formation that finished the game at Kashiwa on Saturday. Apart from the opening few minutes, the Jets were outclassed and had to resort to some very crude tactics to prevent Grampus dominating proceedings completely. Kantarovski's nobbling of Magnum midway through the first half, highlighting their desperation.

The game was decided by Ogawa's cool finish close to the hour mark, after good work by Sugimoto on the flank. Thereafter, Grampus coasted home without really having to exert themselves. Even a Jet's penalty did not really trouble Narazaki, so woeful was the kick. (No real complaints about the decision itself. Bajalica did clip the rear of a Jets' ankle ad although they made the most of it, the contact was fairly clear if unintentional. A penalty, but no card, was a reasonable decision.)

Newcastle Jets v Nagoya Grampus Eight Asian Champions League 22-April-2009 at

Newcastle Jets
Ben Kennedy
Tarek Elrich, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Matt Thompson, Angelo Costanzo
Adam Griffiths, Ben Kantarovski
Donny De Groot (Sean Rooney 59), Jason Hoffman (Sasho Petrovski 59), Fabio Vignaroli (Kaz Patafta 32) Brodie Mooy

Seigo Narazaki
Akira Takeuchi (Hayuma Tanaka 71), Milos Bajalica, Maya Yoshida, Shohei Abe, Takahiro Masukawa
Naoshi Nakamura (Kei Yamaguchi 75), Keiji Yoshimura, Yoshizumi Ogawa
Magnum (Keita Sugimoto 32), Davi
Scorer: Ogawa 57

Other Views
Brisbane Times: Jets bow to Nagoya
Japan Times: Grampus, Antlers collect ACL wins Missed penalty costly for Jets against Nagoya Grampus

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Davi Strikes to Relaunch Grampus Title Challenge

An injury-time strike by Davi secured three vital away points at Kashiwa, to get Nagoya's season back in track. This was a game that saw Nakamura moved to a more familiar, attacking role, since Magnum played nominally up front in place of the rested Tamada. Although in practice, Nakamura still played in a fairly central position, just more advanced when part of the twin terrier combination with Yoshimura. Yesterday, that role was delegated to Kei Yamaguchi.

This revised formation started the game brightly and the team created several scoring chances. However, they did not take the lead until the 30th minute, when Nakamura and Ogawa combined to give Davi a simple nod-in from close range. Nakamura quickly released a thru ball for Ogawa down the right flank, and Ogawa's instant cross under pressure left the Brazilian with an easy finish.

Even with four forwards in their starting lineup, Kashiwa did not ever really look like troubling Narazaki, and it took an exocet strike from distance to bring Reysol back on level terms, 15 minutes into the second half. Naoshi Nakamura picked up a knock in the opening half and did not emerge for the second, but is expected to play against the Jets on Wednesday. The second half also saw yet another shuffling of the Grampus pack, when Maya Yoshida came on for Kei Yamaguchi. This saw the team switch to a 3-5-2 formation, with the three central defenders across the back and both Abe and Tanaka pushed forward.

Despite Nagoya having the bulk of possession and chances, it looked as though Kashiwa would hold out for a draw, but in the dying moments Davi latched on to rebound to fire home the winner. This puts the team back in the frame for a title challenge, and more importantly will give the team a much needed boost in confidence.

Kashiwa Reysol
Takanori Sugeno
Masahiro Koga, Yuzo Kobayashi, Naoki Ishikawa
Iwao Yamane (Jiro Kamata 78), Ryoichi Kurisawa,
Keisuke Ota (Yuki Otsu HT > Jun Yanagisawa 65), Tadanari Lee, Minoru Suganuma
Scorer: Suganuma

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Milos Bajalica, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Kei Yamaguchi (Maya Yoshida 81), Naoshi Nakamura (Keita Sugimoto HT), Keiji Yoshimura, Yoshizumi Ogawa
Magnum, Davi
Scorers: Davi 31, 90+3

Other views:
Japan Times Davi delivers winner for Grampus against Reysol

Monday, 13 April 2009

Reds Exact Revenge

The Urawa Reds beat Nagooya at Toyota Stadium, to exact revenge for their loss early last season that saw manager Osieck fired after only a couple of games.

This game, dominated by the visitors, was decided by a first half goal from one of the brightest stars of last year's U-18 championships, Genki Haraguchi. The seventeen year old blasted home from 15 meters, after coming on for Tatsuya Tanaka midway through the half.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Milos Bajalica, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe (Yuki Maki 68)
Magnum, Naoshi Nakamura, Keiji Yoshimura (Kei Yamaguchi 68), Yoshizumi Ogawa
Keiji Tamada (Keita Sugimoto HT), Davi

Urawa Reds
Ryota Tsuzuki
Nobuhisa Yamada, Keisuke Tsuboi, Tulio, Alex/Santos (Hajime Hosogai 54)
Keita Suzuki, Yuki Abe, Naoki Yamada, Ponte (Naohiro Takahara 84)
Tatsuya Tanaka (Genki Haraguchi 22), Edmilson
Scorer: Haraguchi 43