Sunday, 22 August 2010

Grampus Go Five Points Clear

In a week that saw his tactical acumen exposed as still lacking that of a great manager, Pixie proves he has motivational skills are more than up to the job. The team bouncing back from the 0-4 debacle in midweek, to win 3-1 over one of the best teams in the league.

As Shimizu and Kashima stumble again, we earn a comfortable win over Gamba to move five points ahead of Cerezo Osaka, who are now in second place, ahead of the faltering Antlers and S-Pulse on goal difference. Goals from Nakamura, Danilson and Kennedy sinking the blue half of Osaka.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Akira Takeuchi , Tulio, Shohei Abe
Danilson, Naoshi Nakamura (Alex Santos 86), Yoshizumi Ogawa (Keita Sugimoto 83’), Magnum
Josh Kennedy, Keiji Tamada (Igor Burzanovic 73)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Premier League Sinking in Red Ink

The headlines say it all, as greedy bankers capitalize on the league's incompetence.

Manchester United owners hit by debt payment riseLiverpool Debt Worsens as Anfield Club Posts Huge £54.9m Yearly LossGlazers fail to pay mortgage on four shopping malls

Pixie Found Wanting Again

Following in the footsteps of another talented player, but unproven manager (Argentina's Maradona), Grampus manager Pixie Stojkovic was again outwitted by the manager of one of the leading J1 clubs. This time, Frontale romping to a 4-0 win to tighten the title race to a race between five teams separated by only five points.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka (Akira Takeuchi 90+2’), Tulio, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Danilson (Naoshi Nakamura 58’), Igor Burzanovic (Yoshizumi Ogawa 63’), Magnum (Alex Santos 67)
Mu Kanazaki, Josh Kennedy, Keiji Tamada

For once, we got off to the better start. We had the better of the opening 30 minutes, with Tulio having a good early chance. However, despite this and a couple of good chances for Tamada midway through the half, we failed to turn our superiority into any goals. Against a team like Frontale, that can be so potent on the break, this was always likely to be dangerous. This proved to be the case, as Kanazaki conceded a free kick with 10 minutes to go and the home team took full advantage with Vitor blasting home. The two teams then shared an equal portion of chances and possession for the remaining few minutes.

The home team continued to look the more likely to scores, despite us managing to hold our own in most areas of the field. Kanazaki had a couple of good chances to pull us level, but these were sandwiched by equally good opportunities for the home team. Vitor added a second after 20 minutes, after Kurotsu had done well to exploit some hesitation in our defence that allowed him to get to the byline and cut the ball back for the Brazilian. We then lost Masukawa to a second yellow, and as the heat and our lack of substitutes (all three were already on the field) took its toll, we were unable to cope with the speed of the Frontale attack. They duly added a couple of goals to pad their lead to a flattering four-goal margin.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Grampus Go Top

Nagoya climb to the top of the standings, as Shimizu lose and the Antlers draw. Goals from Tulio and brace for Keiji Tamada add to Urawa's woes with a comfortable 3-1 win.

For the third week running, an opponent failed to capitalise on us getting off to a slow start. Edmilson and Kashiwagi having early chances in the opening minutes, but failing to even test Narazaki. Tatsuya Tanaka also had an early chance in front of goal, but saw his chested effort easily scooped up by the Japan international. After this early flurry for the visitors, the game settled into a fairly even contest with most Urawa build-ups floundering on the solid rock of the now fully alert Masukawa and Tulio. Meanwhile, our own attacks, being fairly predictable crosses into Kennedy were easily countered. Midway through the half, however, Urawa again gained the edge briefly with Edmilson and Tanaka both stinging Narazaki’s fingers. Our first serious effort did not come until the 30th minute, when Kennedy did well to his a shot on the turn but the effort was deflected for a corner. The half then played out to fairly even stalemate as neither team was able to gain the advantage and ended 0-0.

We again improved dramatically in the second half, pressing far more effectively and gradually started to assert control. We started to add a bit of variety to our attack and occasionally try and play the ball through the middle. The space this created lead to the opening goal as a pinpoint Magnum cross picked out Tulio in the centre. The Brazilian-born defender powering home the header from close range. We almost added a second immediately after this, but both Josh and Mu failed to connect cleanly as the rocky Reds defence suffered a panic attack. We continued to probe dangerously, but failed to carve out another clear opening. Then from out of nowhere, Ugajin unleashed a thunderbolt from the just outside the corner of the box to pull the visitors level. Poor Tatsuya Tanaka then suffered another injury blow, unluckily having his arm dislocated as Danilson helped him to his feet after a challenge. So, midway though the half, the game was till evenly poised.

The next few minutes saw the teams exchange a few half-hearted attempts, but without Tanaka’s finesse Urawa never really looked convincing and soon fell decisively behind to a Tamada brace with five minutes. The first goal, saw the speedster pounce on the ricochet after Kennedy’s effort had been blocked. And although Yamagishi got a hand to the effort he was unable to keep it out. The second owed much to the hustle of Kanazaki as he stole into gain possession from some careless play at the back. A quick exchange with Kennedy released Tamada in the centre and he made no mistake form 10 meters. Josh should have added a fourth as the clock wound down, but having beautifully controlled an ALex pass and turned his defender, the Aussie stroked his curling shot the wrong side of the far post.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka (Akira Takeuchi 90+2’), Tulio, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Danilson, Igor Burzanovic (Yoshizumi Ogawa 71’), Magnum
Mu Kanazaki (Alex Santos 86), Josh Kennedy, Keiji Tamada

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Grampus Sneak All Three Points at Ajinomoto

A late, late Tulio header from an Alex Santos cross sees Nagoya come away with the win against the Gasmen. A closely fought game, that could easily have ended 1-1 or 2-2 looked destined to end 0-0, until the Japan international sneaked in at the death. The win sees us rise to second, and the top three teams have now opened up a gap between themselves and the chasing pack.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Tulio, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Danilson, Igor Burzanovic (Yoshizumi Ogawa 68’), Magnum (Alex Santos 82)
Mu Kanazaki, Josh Kennedy, Keiji Tamada (Keita Sugimoto 78’)

As was the case last week, the home team got off to the better start but failed to take any of a handful of decent chances when they had the upper hand. The home team got off to a quick start, with Hanyu and Morishige trying their luck in the opening minutes. However, this also set the tone for the contest, in that the Tokyoites efforts failed to fine the target or were repelled by Narazaki. Indeed, apart from a couple of optimistic efforts by Danilson, it took us over 30 minutes to get an shot on target. Sota Hirayama, proving yet again that he is too unreliable a finisher, failing to score with a couple of good chances in the meantime. We had been outplayed and outshot 11-4, but we were still in the game.

A much more even half, with the honours looking set to be shared equally. However, Tulio popped up to nod home a dramatic winner. Although had a much better half, we were still outshot 20-10 As the half progressed, we had an early chance to snatch the lead, but Kennedy sent a free header sailing wide of the post. The two teams continued to spar, without seriously looking like scoring. Hirayama for Tokyo, and Kanazaki having the best of the chances. The next big chance fell, when Danilsonsent in a screamer of a free kick that Shiota did well to tip over. Ogawa put in an encouraging display after coming on midway through the half, and had a couple of good efforts on target but did not seriously test Shiota. And thus the stage was set for Tulio’s dramatic winner, four minutes into added time. A game we could easily have lost, ended in heart-breaking fashion for the home team.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Red Whales Ease Past Erratic Marinos (0-2)


A comfortable win that could have been even more comfortable had we been more ruthless when we looked like running rampant after Josh Kennedy bagged the opening goal. Still, that goal was against the run of play at that point and the final two goal margin flatters us slightly.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Tulio, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Naoshi Nakamura (Igor Burzanovic 52), Danilson, Magnum
Mu Kanazaki (Yoshizumi Ogawa 77’), Josh Kennedy, Keiji Tamada (Mitsuru Chiyotanda 88’)

The Marinos got off to much the better start and looked the better teams for the first 20 minutes or so. Daisuke Tasaka and Shunsuke Nakamura both had great opportunities to open the scoring, but Tasaka skied his effort into the stands and Nakamura was denied by Narazaki. Fortunately, despite these chances they failed to score during this period and once we went ahead in the 37th minute, they were in danger of collapsing and finding themselves out of the contest by half time. However, it was then our turn to waste some good chances and the half eventually ended with us leading by solitary goal.

Kennedy’s goal itself, saw the Auusie striker pounce on a loose ball after some sloppy play in defence by the Marinos, and Yuji Nakazawa’s challenge as the Aussie shaped to send a curling shot into the top corner meant that the ball spun the other side of the wrong-footed keeper. We then proceeded to run rampant over the final minutes of the half, with Magnum and Mu Kanazaki both spurning excellent opportunities to add to our lead.

HT: 1-0 to Grampus

We were forced into an early substitution in the second when Igor Burzanovic came on for Naoshi Nakamuri, who pulled a thigh muscle in an early challenge. Tis seemed to disrupt our rhythm, and the game degenerated into some scrappy play for the next few minutes with neither team able to establish control. Danilson scored for the second game in a row to make it 2-0. A wicked deflection helping ensure that the Columbian’s shot beat Iikura in the Marinos goal.

The Marinos again started to look the more likely team to score as we started to tire in the heat. Watanabe found himself free in box, but hit a difficult chance past Narazaki’s far post. The Japan goalie was eventually forced into another good save, when a typically curling Shunsuke Nakamura free kick saw him tip away the ball as it headed fro the top corner.. In the dying minutes, reserve goalies Yoshiari Takagi was sent off without ever coming off the bench. Danilson was noticeably hobbling at the end after a clash with Kurihara had seen both players earn yellow cards. However, it looks like he recover in time for next game.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Okada; 10th Best Manager in the World?

Move over Fabio, time to let someone else try their hand at the England job. Japan manager, Takeshi Okada, may soon be available as he has said that he will quit the Japan job now that the World Cup has finished. He at least has been named as one of the more successful at the World Cup.
See ZonalMarking's article here.