Thursday, 22 October 2009

10-Man Grampus Punished in Closing MInutes

Nagoya face an uphill task to make it to the ACL final after falling to a 6-2 defeat in Saudi Arabia. The home team were greatly helped by the fact that Grampus were reduced to ten men after only eight minutes. The UAE referee sending Takeuchi for an early shower after a clumsy challenge near the edge of the box. (There was no malicious intent, but Takeuchi did get his feet entangled with the attacker as he surged through on goal. Certainly likely to draw a yellow, and a referee intent on sticking to the letter of the law was likely to produce a red.) The three goals scored in the closing 10 minutes should see the Saudi's pack their defence at Mizuho next week, and their fast counter attacks make it unlikely that we will keep them off the scoreboard.

Although the ten men held out well for 80 minutes, the sight of manager Stojkovic contemptuously siting cross-legged at the side of the pitch will not have inspired them to greater effort.

As for the game itself, Nagoya got off to the batter start with an Igor Burzanovic header being parried by keeper Zaid early on. Then came the turning point as Takeuchi was sent off after only eight minutes. Although this did not alter the course of the first half, the toll eventually showed in the final minutes as Grampus legs began to tire. Indeed, Josh powered home pin-point a Hayuma cross shortly after Takeuchi's dismissal to give the visitors the lead.

Nagoya continued to look comfortably in control for much of the remainder of the half, but with Al Ittihad looking dangerous on the counterattack. The home team equalised with a good finish after a poor clearance. The Grampus lead was restored when Naoshi turned on a sixpence to fire in a second after 34 mins. The half ended with Nagoya still holding their one goal advantage.

The second half saw manager Stojkovic replace the stylish, but not defensively minded Burzanovic with young defender Masaya Sato. Although the youngster did his best, he is not a natural central defender and his lack of experience allowed the nippy Saudi players more space than they should have been allowed. This combined with the one man advantage, and makeshift nature of our defence, saw the home team gradually exert more and more pressure on the Grampus goal. The dam eventually giving way after 83 minutes, when a dubious penalty gave the home team the lead. Did Hirono bring the forward down? No, but he did not win the ball and was sprawled inviting in front of the player, who made no mistake in promptly colliding with the outstretched body. The home team then surged past their tired and dispirited opponents to seize a four goal advantage.

Al Ittihad
Alrahab, Alshamrani (Leguizamon HT), Alsaqri, Almontashari
Aboshgair, Aboucherouane (Alnumare 89), Almukhaini, Khariri
Hawsawi (Abdullah 89), Chermiti
Scorers: Almukhaini 25, Hawsawi 65, 75, 90+3, Leguizamon 83 (PK), Chermiti 90

Nagoya Grampus
Koichi Hirono
Hayuma Tanaka, Maya Yoshida, Akira Takeuchi, Shohei Abe
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Keiji Yoshimura, Naoshi Nakamura (Alex Santos 66), Magnum
Igor Burzanovic (Masaya Sato HT) Josh Kennedy (Keiji Tamada 78)
Scorers: Kennedy 14, Nakamura 34

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