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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Grampus Edge Emperor's Cup Thriller

A tense, thrilling Emperor's Cup semi-final sees Nagoya earn the first place in the final. Sugimoto's final penalty kick bounds into goal after rebounding off the S-Pulse goalie, after the teams ended 1-1 after regulation and extra time.

Nagoya got off to the better start, looking the better team for the opening 10 minutes. A Yoshimura shot from Josh lay-off fizzed past a post, but they failed to really test Yamamoto. Shimizu gradually got into the game and am Okazaki looping shot drifted over as they begam to look the sharper team. This was soon followed by a Fujimoto shot that was easily saved by Narazaki. They duly took the lead when Okazaki latched onto long through-ball to beat a hesitant Narazaki to the ball and flick it into an unguarded goal. Nagoya's efforts were hampered by slow buildups and poor crosses meant a Kennedy looping header that drifted wide was one of their few serious efforts. S-Pulse continued to look the sharper team and Fujimoto sent a powerful shot straight at Narazaki, that was easily saved. As the half wound down, Maya Yoshida sent a glancing header from a corner agonizingly wide.

HT: 1-0

Nagoya started the second much as they did the first, and this time looked a bit more purposeful and effective. This was exemplified when Josh sent a crashing header against the bar, from a deep Alex cross. And alathough Okazaki sent a flying header from a Frode cross flashing wide, as he was challenged by Yoshida. Kennedy proved a constant problem for the Shizuoka team and Yokoyama conceded PK as he tangles with the lanky forward in box. Tamada calmly converted the PK to level the scores. Unfortunately flaps at resultant corner. Josh makes good turn on edge of box, but his cross from the bye-line was a bit too long to find a red shirt. Live-wire Okazaki then sent a close-range effort from Frode Johnsen's lay-off wide of post. The former Grampus striker then made a good turn in the Grampus area to break clear, but Maya made a crucial block to send his goal-bound effort for a corner. S-Pulse midfielder, Hyodo then sent a long-range effort harmlessly over Narazaki's bar. Grampus sub Sugimoto made a useful break down the left after an Alex interception, but blazed wide when he had time to pick out a red shirt. The final action of regulation saw another Hyodo blast sail over.

FT: 1-1

Midfield dynamo Kei Yamaguchi replaced Igor Burzanovic at start of extra time and was promptly called on to head a Johnsen header off the line. The game then entered a decisive period as Narazaki denied Okazaki with some blinding saves to keep us in the game. This eventually meant that as the game went to penalties, we ere always in the stronger position as the Japan keeper's reputation was always going to put pressure on the S-Pulse kickers.

Penalties: Kennedy nets first with clinical kick. Ichikawa then smashed his against bar to make it 1-0 after the first kicks. Alex then made it 2-0 before Kodama nets his to make it 2-1. Tamada, Hara, Ogawa and Okazaki all converted their kicks to set the stage for Sugimoto. He sent his effort dramatically into the bar, but the ball rebounded off the underside of the woodwork and trickled into the goal off the prostrate Yamamoto. And thus we advanced to the final, 5-3 on penalties.

Shimizu S-Pulse
Kaito Yamamoto
Daisuke Ichikawa, Yasuhiro Hiraoka, Arata Kodama, Yusuke Ohta
Akihiro Hyodo (Hara 112), Takuya Honda, Masaki Takuma Edamura, Jungo Fujimoto (Shinji Tsujio 84)
Shinji Okazaki, Jun Nagazawa (Frode Johnsen HT)
Scoer: Okazaki 16

Nagoya Grampus
Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Takahiro Masukawa, Maya Yoshida, Alex Santos
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Naoshi Nakamura (Keita Sugimoto 74), Keiji Yoshimura (Yuki Maki 115), Igor Burzanovic (Kei Yamaguchi 90)
Keiji Tamada, Josh Kennedy
Scorer: Tamada 56 (PK)

Other Coverage
Australian FourFourTwo: Emperor's Final Spot For Josh

1 comment:

Ben Somerford said...

fantastic. thanks mate!!