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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Grampus Go Top of Group

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A battling 2-0 away win in Seoul sees Nagoya go top of their group i the ACL. Goals by Kanazaki and Nagai doing the damage. Seoul were good but lacked the composure to break us down, and we closed them down well to deny them time. A good performance from rookie, Yoshida in his first start saw him help setup the chance for the first goal. This was easily our best game of the season so far. The game got off to a fierce, combative start, with both teams playing hard from the whistle. Tulio was forced to make a good block from a dangerous chance early on and Ogawa fired off a rasping shot from 20 meters as both teams sought to get an early goal. Grampus were looking a lot tighter than they have done so far, and were closing down opponents much more effectively. This saw the home team restricted to taking pot shots from around the box, rather than being able to break us down. A fierce Dejan shot was palmed away, and the same player almost got his head on the resulting corner. GOAL! A closely fought game turned our way when Mu Kanazaki pounced on loose ball after an Ogawa shot, from a delicate pass by Makito Yoshida, fell invitingly for the Mie native. Having fallen behind, the home team pressed forward in search of an equaliser and had Narazaki and the defenders at full strecth for the remaining 15 minutes. Another long range effort stung Naraz's finger tips, who then had to react smartly to save a deflected shot shortly afterwards. Meaanwhile, up front, Nagai was operating as much on the left wing as striker, but without the towering presence of Josh Kennedy it rarely resulted in danger. Masukawa made a brave block on the edge of 6-yard box, the big man making the most of his size. Seoul's best chance of the half came near the end, but Dejan stumbled over his own feet after creating space on edge of box. His scuffed shot was easily saved by Narazaki. The home team wasted another chance to pull level when their other forward, Molina, dragged a shot well wide from a promising position. And so an fairly even half saw us go into the interval with our slim advantage intact. The home came out blazing at the start of the second half, and it took another Masukawa block on edge of box to clear an early chance. However, there commitment to attack meant that Kanazaki and Nagai caused problems with their speed. Mu, was the first to surge through, but blazed over after a good break from midfield. Fujimoto then almost released Nagai through the middle, but slightly overhit his pass. Yoshida almost through but the defender shielded the ball well and allowed the goalies to collect as the youngster closed in. Masukawa was having a monster of a game, the gentle giant making second good block of the half to spare Narazaki making a save. The Koreans then saw a deflected shot bounces just over the bar, but wasted the corner. Once this intital flurry of activity had dies down after about 15 minutes of the half, Nagoya started to retain possession a bit better and the game resumed the balance of the opening 20 minutes or so. Fujimoto won a corner with some tricky play on the byeline. Abe's volley from the cross sailed well wide. Keiji Yoshimura then ripped a blast that was tipped onto bar as we pressed for the goal that would make the game safe. Morina saw a curling effort drift just past Narazaki's far post. On our next counterattack, Nagai beat offside trap but failed to convert the chance from a narrow angle. GOAL! However, Nagai pounced on defensive error to nip in and round keeper for the second and silence the home fans. The game then played out as we sought to run out time and the home team lacked the energy to make a comeback.

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