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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Kansai Roundup (Round 1)

Gamba fell to a lively display by the visitors from Nagoya, but how did the other teams in Kansai do on opening day. Pretty much as expected in most cases, although Vissel surprised a few with Popo having a spectacular debut for the maroon bulls.

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Tokushima Vortis 1 - 0 Thespa Kusatsu


Our J2 team got off to a good start, in what we hope will be a successful year that will see them challenge for one of the promotion places. Fresh from their 2-1 win over Urawa Reds in a preseason game, this match was decided by a 21st minute goal by former Cerezo winger Yoichiro Kakitani. Grampus loanee Tomohiro Tsuda started again, but failed to trouble the scorers this time.

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Vissel Kobe 2 - 0 Kyoto Sanga


Kobe surprised many by including the injured Yoshito Okubo on the bench, and surprised even more by actually using him in the game as a late sub for two-goal hero Popo. Keep an eye on Jay's blog entry about this game at La Famiglia di Kobe, which should have more details soon.

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Omiya Ardija 3 - 0 Cerezo Osaka


Doubts about Cerezo's readiness for J1 were confirmed by this result. Peter has this to say:
Cerezo were without regular goalie Kim and had suspect back-ups. Our worst fears came true and Matsui, the stand-in goalie, flapped to give away the first goal--a simple take straight in front of the goal only a yard or two out and he jumped and completely missed it--and the ball was bundled in at the far post (I thought it was an own goal but I think it was awarded to an Ardija player, Hashimoto). The second goal was a soft one Matsui should have saved after Uemoto was turned inside out twice out on the wing and the centre was turned into the net by Ishihara from about 8 metres. The third goal came after a free-kick had hit the bar and both Matsui and a defender made unconvincing attempts to clear, but this time difficult to blame Matsui mainly for the goal.

Cerezo started with seven players who were not in the first team in J2: six new signings and Omata who only played two games last season. Not unexpectedly, another of our fears came about: they played as though they were unfamiliar with each other.

The combination of the absence of Kim, lack of height and weight, and a team of strangers makes me fear the worst for Sunday, but in the long run Cerezo may survive in J1. At lot depends on their resilience in the third game against FC Tokyo (a) when Kim will be back and the players should be getting used to each other.

Will Cerezo have the spirit to recover from the travail of the first two games? With seven new players in the first team, we have no idea.

Other Views
Japan Times: Omiya crushes promoted Cerezo

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