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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Grampus Falter Again Against Title Contenders


Urawa Reds 2 - 1 Grampus

Although we played reasonably well in the first half, and Josh Kennedy could easily have added to his one goal, we were eventually beaten by the fitter and more industrious Reds. This means that apart from the opening day win over Gamba, we have lost the three big games against likely title contenders: 2-3 vs Frontale, 0-1 vs Sanfrecce and now 1-2 against Urawa. Hardly the form of champions, even if we are managing to get results against the other teams. This is an improvement over last year, but it looks like we are still a player or two short of winning the title. Of course, if the disappointing Ogawa regains his form then we could easily rise again, but the games against the Antlers and S-Pulse now look like deciding the course of the season.

Reds 01Grampus
GK1Norihiro YamagishiSeigo Narazaki1GK
DF14Tadaaki Hirakawa Hayuma Tanaka32DF
DF6Nobuhisa Yamada Takahiro Masukawa yellow.gif5DF
DF2Keisuke TsuboiMitsuru Chiyotanda3DF
DF35Tomoya UgajinShohei Abe6DF
MF22Yuki AbeNaoshi Nakamura20MF
MF3Hajime HosogaiAlex Santos (OUT 56')10MF
MF8Yosuke Kashiwagi (OUT 89')Igor Burzanovic (OUT 67')9MF
MF10Ponte (OUT 90+3')Yoshizumi Ogawa10MF
MF11Tatsuya Tanaka (OUT 34')Keiji Tamada (OUT HT')17FW
FW17EdmilsonJosh Kennedy8FW
Subs BenchSubs Bench
GK18Nobuhiro KatoYoshinari Takagi50GK
DF4Matthew SpiranovicAkira Takeuchi2DF
MF5Wilfried SanuKeiji Yoshimura14MF
MF13Keita SuzukiDanilson20MF
DF20Satoshi HorinouchiKoji Hashimoto22MF
FW15Sergio EscuderoYuki Maki17FW
FW24Genki HaraguchiKeita Sugimoto19FW

Kashiwagi 48'

Haraguchi 55'


Kennedy 13'

Urawa Reds



GOALKennedy 13'
Tanaka > Haraguchi 34'Substitution
SubstitutionTamada > Yoshimura 46'
Kashiwagi 48' Goal
Haraguchi 55' Goal
SubstitutionSantos > Sugimoto 56'
yellow.gif CardMasukawa 67'
Substitution Burzanovic > Maki 67'
Kashiwagi > Spiranovic 89'Substitution
Ponte > Horinouchi 90+3'Substitution

Igor Burzanovic started the game looking more comfortable in his midfield role. Both teams quick to close down opponent near the box. Grampus had the better of he opening exchanges. Yamagishi forced to tip over Kennedy’s header from a Santos corner. One neat move between Ogawa and Kennedy almost sent the midfielder through, but a last ditch challenge averted the danger. Ogawa then missed a quilt-edged chance after intercepting a pass deep in the Urawa half. Regrettably, he put the effort the wrong side of the post. Kennedy duly gave us a deserved lead shortly after this, his flicked header turning in Alex’s deep cross.

Urawa gradually started to get into the game and started to look the more threatening from about midway through the half. Kashiwagi and Tanaka both going close with efforts. Urawa’s injury-prone, but lively, forward was hurt in an arial clash with Chiyotanda. Surprisingly, this lead to the home team looking the shaper once Haraguchi came on. As the half came to a close, Narazaki was forced to make a smart save low to his right from an Edmilson shot from a tight angle.

HT: 0-1

The half saw Urawa continue the improvement they had showed towrds the end of the first, and were soon back on level terms. Haraguchi picking up a loose ball near the edge of the box and laying the ball off for Kashiwagi to blast home from 18 yards. The home team now settled into its rhythm and its slick passing and quick movement was to pose a constant problem for us over the remaining 40 minutes. However, it was clumsy error, of Masukawa proportions, by Chiyotanda that led to the winner. The former Avispa and Albirex defender misjudging a long ball over the top, to not only stumble in his attempted clearance, but to also send Ponte clear near the right edge of the box. The skilful Brazilian pulling the ball back for an easy finish for Haraguchi.

Urawa continued to dominate the pace of the game, and their pressure kept our defence flustered for much of the time. Hosogai should have done better with a difficult volley after 20 minutes, but blasted over from 10 meters out. Edmilson also turned the usually sound Abe inside-out on the right flank set up a great chance, but under-hit his pass, allowing Chiyotanda to clear the danger. Sloppy play at the back allowed Yamada to fire in a powerful shot to force Narazaki into another fine save. We managed to pose the occasional threat though, with Josh looking good both in the air and on the ground. A late surge saw us dominate the closing minutes, but fail to get the vital goal that would have given us a respectable result.

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