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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Ulsan Sent Packing

Putting on an impressive display in their final home game of the ACL group stage, Grampus clinch top spot with a comfortable 4-1 over hapless Ulsan Hyundai. The three goal margin means that there is a chance for the Newcastle Jets or Beijing Guoan to leapfrog over the Koreans to claim second in the group.

A dodgy keeper did not help the Koreans, who found themselves 2-0 down before they even really started to play. Ogawa almost caught their 'keeper out as he attempted a clearance in the opening minutes, and his defense clearly had little confidence in him.
Nagoya's encouraging start to the game was almost undone, however, when Jin Soo pounced on a chance after some indecision by Tanaka and Masukawa. Fortunately, he was not able to convert the chance. An inspired Ogawa scored the opening goal with a diving header after a neat nock-back by Maki.

Having gone a goal down, Ulsan gradually started to find their feet and make the game a bit more of a contast. Their main threat came from Jin Soo, who created a shooting opportunity chance, from the edge of the box, after poor clearance by Yoshida on the left. However, Maki doubled Nagoya's lead shortly afterwards with a powerful header from Sugimoto cross. Maki had a good, hard-working game and was key in Nagoya seizing the initiative in this game, although he faded slightly in the second half. Grampus' comfortable cruise was briefly disturbed when Shin Wook brought Ulsan back into the game with header from free-kick just before half time.

HT: 2-1

The second half Grampus continue to control possession and the number of chances and Yamaguchi sliced shot wide, early in the half, after a good pass from Abe out on the left. Next to take a crack at goal was Yoshimura, who saw a pile-driver from 20 yards drift just wide of the upright. Nagoya duly extended their lead when Davi headed in an Abe free-kick, just before the hour. Tamada promptly replaced Davi for final 30 minutes, and although looking rusty, showed enough to suggest that he will help alleviate the scoring problems the team has experienced against the tighter marking of the J.League teams.

Grampus continued to control the match and another Yoshimura rocket drifted just wide, before Ogawa scored his second to make it 4-1. This came from a neatly worked free-kick close to the Ulsan area, with Maki laying the ball back for Ogawa to stroke home a curling shot from 18 yards. Youngster Masaya Sato replaced the tireless Abe for the final 15 minutes and although he did not have enough time to contribute much to the game, again looked capable of holding hi own at this level.

As the clock wound down, a glancing header by Shin Wook drifted agonizingly wide for Ulsan and leaves them sweating for the final group game, where goal difference could well be decisive for the final qualification slot.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe (Masaya Sato 77)
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Kei Yamaguchi, Keiji Yoshimura
Davi (Keiji Tamada 60), Yuki Maki, Keita Sugimoto (Akira Takeuchi 70)
Scorers: Ogawa 14, 72, Maki 23, Davi 59

Ulsan Hyndai
Kim Young Kwang
Lee Dong Won, Lee Won Jae, Kim Shin Wook, Lim Jong Eun
Slavcho, Hyun Young Min, You Ho Jun (Oh Jang Eun 40), Lee Se Hwan (Kim Yong Tae 63)
Almir (Park Jun Tae 70), Cho Jin Soo
Scorer: Kim Shin Wook 42

Other Views
Japan Times: Nagoya shuts out Ulsan to advance to ACL knockout stage Nagoya Grampus seals top spot

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