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Sunday, 18 July 2010

10-Man Grampus Down Omiya


The J.League resumed yesterday, after a two month hiatus for the World Cup, and we carried on right where we left off. Josh Kennedy scoring the goal, and Igor Burzanovic looking out of sorts in midfield and heading for the showers after only 42 minutes. And of course, no Grampus win would be complete without some late heroics by Narazaki to preserve the clean sheet.

The Aussie striker proved he does not suffer from a Samson complex, after being shorn of his trademark blonde locks, by bagging the only goal of the contest. A diving header, under pressure, from a wicked cross by Tulio in the 76th minute. We had other chances to score early in the game, Josh seeing a header drift wide and Nakamura saw a god effort well saved by Kitano in the Omiya goal.

First Half

Nagoya got off to by far the batter start and soon had the home team on the back foot. A good pass from Abe to found Kanazaki running into space in the box, but the future Japan star failed to make the chance count. This was soon followed by another good ball out to Hayuma Tanaka and build up, but both Nakamura and Danilson hesitated when presented with space to shoot.

We eventually went close when a Kennedy glancing header was well-saved by Kitano in the Ardija goal. The Aussie was then prmptly fouled on edge of box for a dangerous-looking free kick. However, Igor Burzanovic blasted the effort straight into wall.

Meanwhile, Ardija were limited to lofted long balls over the top, without much accuracy, most looking pretty aimless and hopeful.

Less than a quarter of the game gone, and we were already looking comfortable and much the better team. However, at this point Burzanovic earned his first yellow card after clattering into Fujimoto. Nothing malicious but it was a clumsy challenge and he could not rally complain about the card.

Mu Kanazaki continued to look lively, and a break down left looked likely to result in danger for the home team, but a defender did well to stop him getting in a cross. Shortly after this, Josh Kennedy was released into space on the right edge of the box, but his angled shot across goal flashed inches wide.

Danilson was looking a bit more at home in the anchor role, and made one crucial block near the edge of box after tracking an Omiya build up and closing down as a player advanced to shoot. However, he also gifted Omiya their best chance of the half, being stripped of the ball in the centre circle, but the home team lacked the composure to take advantage.

Our best chance of the half came after Naoshi fired a shot at the keeper after being released into space by a deft pass from Magnum. The occasional Japan international should have done better with the effort, even though it forced a good save out of Kitano. Omiya's response? Raphael hit a tame shot at Narazaki after one of their rare good build ups. Narazaki was eventually forced to make a decent save, as he tipped an in-swinging shot over the bar.

The half drew to a close with us down to ten men, after another clumsy challenge saw Igor pick-up his second yellow of the day, a bit more dubious than the first, but neither the player or manager really protested.

Second Half

This was a much more even half, but Grampus still looked the more purposeful team despite being a man short. Omiya were a bit more deliberate in their build-up, but still too slow and failed to find a way through until the closing minutes when their one man advantage eventually began to show.

Columbian Danilson saw an early blast from 20 meters fly just over the bar. At the other end, Fuyaya scuffed a shot on the edge of box and the 'shot' was easily saved by Narazaki. The mercurial Magnum hit a dangerous ball into space behind the defence, but hit the pass just a bit too long for Abe to latch onto.

Kanazaki was released into space after good work in the centre circle by Kennedy, but again the youngster failed to make best use of the chance.
Nakamura then pounced on a rebound but his instant shot from 20 meters flashed the wrong side of the far post.

Omiya's Kanazawa saw a reasonable claim for a penalty waved away. True, Abe did not seem to make much contact, as the forward turned into his challenge, but it is the sort of challenge that can often result in a foul.

Shortly after this, Tulio won a challenge for a loose ball and whiped in a low cross into the heart of the Ardija box. Kennedy’s bravery and speed into the six yard area, saw him score with a diving header that gives Kitano no chance. We finally had the lead that our level of control warranted.

As the clock wound down, the home team finally started to look threatening. Narazaki punched a Watanabe effort from a sharp angle clear and Raphael blasted over from six yards with the goal at his mercy. Ishihara then saw a header from a corner flash just wide and Narazaki palmed over a Fukuya blast from point-blank range. The Japan keeper then punched another dangerous shot clear, before the referee finally called a halt to proceedings.

Next up, an enthralling clash at home against Shinji Ono's S-Pulse.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Tulio, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Naoshi Nakamura (Mitsuru Chiyotanda 90+2’), Danilson, Igor Burzanovic
Mu Kanazaki (Yoshizumi Ogawa 69’), Josh Kennedy, Magnum (Keiji Tamada 75’)

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