Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Fifa crisis: claims of brown envelopes stuffed with new $100 bills | Football | The Guardian

Guardian article and photo on the bribes being offered to FIFA officials, including Blatter. He has admitted he received such an envelope and did nothing to bring the perpetrator to court. He may returned one envelope, but one wonders how many others he has has received...
Fifa crisis: claims of brown envelopes stuffed with new $100 bills | Football | The Guardian

Monday, 30 May 2011

Josh Kennedy scores ahead of Socceroos return

Josh Kennedy scores ahead of Socceroos return | Herald Sun
Ben Somerford also has a summary of the Aussie contingents' performance this weekend, and a more accurate description of the action at Toyota, in his piece for Aussie FourFourTwo.
442.AU: Kennedy Back On The Scoresheet

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Igor Back with a Bang for Grampus

Igor Burzanovic, out for 6 months since rupturing ligaments late last season, made a surprisingly early return to action today. The Montenegrin came on as a late sub and scored the fourth and decisive goal in the 5-2 win over plucky Avispa. The Fukuoka team eventually finding themselves outclassed after a useful first half. NGE Avispa

Grampus were boosted by the return from injury of Masukawa, who passed a late fitness test, and Igor Burzanovic who made the bench. Both Narazaki and Danilson recovered from minor strains that had made them doubtful and started the game. So, somewhat surprisingly Piksi was able to field what was close to a full-strength team.

Nagoya started well, but the visitors also defended well and had the occasional chance of their own. Noashi was released into space by a raking Danilson pass early on, but the midfield terrier was too slow to get a shot off and the chance went begging. Danilson was also making his physical presence felt in the anchor role and this allowed his defensive midfield colleague to take up a more advanced position better suited to his nature. Masukawa and Ogawa also had half chances, but failed to convert them. The gentle giant in particular, should have done better with a chance on the goal line.

However, Nakamura's more attacking role soon paid dividends as his low cross was fumbled by the Avispa goalie and Kennedy pounced on the loose ball to give Grampus the lead. The lead was cancelled out almost immediately though, when Sueyoshi was brought down in the area and Okamoto calmly converted the resultant penalty.

Grampus started well again in this half, and Kennedy setup Tamada to restore the the lead with a shot that took a deflection off the hapless Kamiyama. The Fukuoka 'keeper then mad amends for his earlier miss with a good save to deny Naoshi. However, the visitors would not concede defeat that easily and Shigematsu pulled them level again after 20 minutes with a deft header.

Shortly after this, Japan U-22 speedster Nagai replaced Ogawa and thereafter, the game increasingly swung Grampus's way. Shortly after the half hour mark, Fujimoto restored the lead with a well-struck shot on the turn. Burzanovic then added the fourth shortly after coming on as a late sub. The Montenegrin scoring from an impossible angle, and picking up a yellow card for his understandably emotional celebrations. Tamada rounded off the scoring with a neat finish after Nagai had shown good hustle to keep the ball in play near the corner flag.

Although the number of shots, corners and free kicks were fairly evenly distributed over the course of the game, Grampus dominated possession 63% to 37%. This level of control was eventually reflected in the scoreline as the visitors ran out of energy in the final 10 minutes.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Blatter Admits Incompetence

So what has Septic Bladder been for the last 13 years?
He has just admitted that he runs FIFA secretively, refused to listen, was corrupt/inept and ignored public relations. If FIFA re-elects this donkey they deserve go bankrupt.
The 75-year-old Swiss pledged to "open the doors, reinforce dialogue, improve our corporate governance and handle our public affairs with the kind of priority it deserves"

'Corruption' taints very top of the beautiful game - Scotsman.com Sport
Mainichi Daily News: Bin Hammam fights back in bribery scandal
BBC: 'Fifa is corrupt and should be scrapped', says former delegate

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Grampus Bow Out of ACL

A promising first half display by Nagoya in Suwon ended when Danilson tweaked a hamstring and had to be replaced after 40 minutes. Although the Korean's had taken the lead, when Yeom headed home a good cross that saw him outmanoeuvre Arai to make the space. However, overall the young defender had a good game and made some good interceptions and even had a rasping shot that tested the home 'keeper. He certainly showed enough promise to earn some more time alongside Tulio in the centre. On this evidence, he deserves to get the chance to challenge Masu and Chiyo for a place.

Nagoya's chances of staging comeback ended with Danilson's twinge, as it forced Nakamura to withdraw to the holding position, where he is energetic but lacks the Colombian's presence and more constructive distribution. Any slight chance of a fightback was lost when Narazaki, took too long to clear a back pass, allowing a Suwon player to get a touch and setup an easy finish into the unguarded goal, midway through the second half. At that point, the Korean's closed up shop and played out the remaining minutes with everyone pulled back into their own half for most of the time.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Arai Set to Make ACL Debut?

It looks as though we may well get a chance to see Tatsuya Arai in action at last. He is said to be a serious contender for a starting role alongside Tulio in Korea tomorrow night.
中日スポーツ:新井、2年目プロ初先発:グラニュース(CHUNICHI Web)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Hasegawa Makes Vortis Bench!

ACL Logo
On-loan Grampus goalie Toru Hasegawa makes the bench in tonight's game in Gifu. With Tokushima having two good goalkeepers in Oh Seung Hoon and Hideaki Ueno, it looks like Toru has been working hard to get a chance. I hope he can prove that he is good enough to join Vortis on a permanent basis, or better yet that he can challenge Takagi for the number two spot at Grampus.

Grampus 'Climb' to 11th

Despite another poor performance, and yet another injury. This time Chiyotanda and Yoshida joining those keeping the physios working overtime. It looks like we may get a chance to see how Arai does in defence on Wednesday. Our six points, from six games, is far from convincing champion's form, but sees us rise up to 11th and still leaves us above both Cerezo Osaka and Kashima Antlers.

* Match report to follow *

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Canadian Press: Promoted Ventforet Kofu upsets J-League champions Nagoya Grampus 3-1

The view from Canada! Why Canada?
The Canadian Press: Promoted Ventforet Kofu upsets J-League champions Nagoya Grampus 3-1

Masukawa Joins the Treatment Table

nagoyagrampus-s.gifGrampus defender Takahiro Masukawa joined our list of injuries on Sunday, forcing the manager to shuffle Danilson into a central defensive role in an attempt to combat the rampant Mike Havenaar. (Personally, I think Piksi was a bit too effusive in his praise of the gangling forward, even if he is Dido's son.:-)) Masukawa is expected to be out for about three weeks.

The clash this weekend against Kashiwa Reysol should give us a good idea of where Piksi's priorities are. With the ACL game next week, it will be interesting to see if he risks Tulio and Kanazaki, or indeed Josh Kennedy, at the weekend. All are expected to be fit again by then, but only just.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Grampus Crash to Second 3-1 Loss in a Row


The two 13-hour flights to the UAE took their toll on the players who made the trip. As a result, the team crashed to it first consecutive defeats in over a year.

In the end, this was a game which saw us outfought by a hungrier team. Kofu outshot us 12-5 and looked much the stronger team in the second half, where they had the batter of the possession as well as the chances. It is hardly surprising that the likes of Masukawa and Ogawa found the game difficult after their excursion, especially as Yoshizumi has looked a bit off form all season. Even the sprightly Nagai looked a bit jaded.

Grampus lineup vs Ventforet

Hanai Out for 4 Weeks

nagoyagrampus-s.gif Grampus youngster Sho Hanai, who played in last Wednesday's ACL game, is out for four weeks with a torn hamstring. This might explain his somewhat lacklustre performance in that game.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Tsuda Back for Vortis

ACL Logo

Grampus loanee made his long awaited return from injury today, in a 20 minute appearance as sub in Tokushima's 1-0 over cross-island rivals Ehime.

Grampus Youngsters Sink in the Gulf

nagoyagrampus-s.gif ACL Logo

(Blogger is back from the dead, so here is my view of the game in the UAE on Thursday morning.) Grampus had a good start in this game, but soon lost their rhythm after falling behind and were second best for most of the second half when substitutions and inexperience disrupted what little rhythm they had left.

Grampus lineup vs Al Ain

Grampus got off to a promising start. Makito Yoshida and Ogawa both having chances to give Nagoya an early lead. Yoshida saw his shot deflected over for for a corner, and Nagai setup Ogawa with a clear sight of goal, but he miscued the shot over bar. At this point Grampus were spraying the ball around well. Matsuo also had a crack at goal and Hashimoto won a corner with some tricky playnear the corner flag. However, the fell behind to a well-placed shot by Al Merry that crept in Takagi's far post. Initially, this setback did not deter Grampus from going forward, and Ogawa blasted wastefully over after more good work by Nagai. Ogawa also head over under challenge from keeper a few minutes later. But the home team always looked dangerous on the break and Elias added a second late in the half, after a good break down left. 2-0 down and a makeshift team faced an uphill battle to salvage something from the game.

Stojkovic brought on Kuba for Yoshida for this half and the nippy youngster made a difference almost immediately. He latched onto Takagi's hoof upfield after 3 minutes, to burst into the box and setup Fujimoto with simple a tap-in from close range. Unfortunately, the home team restored their 2-goal cushion almost immediately. Matsuo conceded a penalty, a minute later, pulling a player back as he burst into the box although he fell more as a result of tripping over ball rather than Genta's attentions. Thereafter the game deteriorated into a scrappy game. Al Ain did not have the class to exploit their advantage and Nagoya started to look very disjointed. Although Teruki had a couple of cracks at goal, they posed little threat for the remainder of the game.

So what of our youngsters, hoping to make an impression and catch the manager's eye and get the occasional chance in the first team? Well Ryo Isomura and Sho Hanai singularly failed to make any impression and can probably look forward to practice matches alone for the rest of the season. Only Hiakaru Kuba, Teruki Tanaka and possibly Koji Hashimoto can expect to see themselves given another chance. Genta Matsuo looked strong, but gave away some needless fouls and of course the decisive penalty. If he can improve his anticipation and timing, then his strength and stamina may see him get a reprieve. We will have to hope so, since he is the only obvious replacement for Hayuma.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Grampus Held by S-Pulse

In the third game to be held at Mizuno over the last week, Shimizu hold Nagoya to a evenly contested 1-1 draw. Both teams fielded nominal 4-3-3 formations, as Tamada resumed his striking role after last week's brace. He was soon on the scoresheet again as a Nagai cross gave him a simple header after only eight minutes. However, the lead only last for 10 minutes before a rare Narazaki error gifted the visitors the chance to equalise.

Grampus lineup vs S-Pulse

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Grampus Thru to ACL Knockout Stage

A twice-taken Fujimoto PK sees Nagoya clinch their advance to the next stage. A clinical, possession game gets the job done without expending too much energy. (Report added 5th May.)

The game kicked-off at a temperature of around 25 degrees, and remained it remained warm for much of the game. This saw several Grampus players cramp up towards the end, notably Ogawa and Abe. As expected, Nagoya played a cautious, possession game while Greentown defended resolutely. In midfield, Ogawa and Fujimoto took turns to drop back alongside Nakamura in defensive midfield. The home team looked content to keep the game tight and patiently wait for a chance to score. The visitors resorted to a simple plane that saw them look to their tall forward, but Chiyo and Masu were again in commanding form and their hopeful balls did not produce much danger. As a result, although we continued to probe for an opening, the Chinese pulled everyone back towards the end of the half, making it difficult for us to carve out a clear-cut chance. A fairly uneventful half ended 0-0.

The visitors started to press a bit more urgently in the second half, knowing defeat would end their interest in this year's competition. For all their increased energy, however, it was Grampus that continued to control the pace of the game. Moreover, the visitors' more aggressive approach left them vulnerable to swift counterattacks. Abe and Nagai combined well to release Tamada behind the defence, but the former Japan international was fractionally offside as he closed in on the chance. Nagai, then sent over a perfectly flighted cross for Ogawa after 12 minutes, but the midfielder mistimed his free header and saw his effort come back off the post. As the halfway point of the half approached, the visitors finally started to get into the game, but were then hit with the classic sucker punch. A beautifully flighted pass from Fujimoto found sub Kuba busrting between defender in the penalty box. The speedster got to the ball first and was then clipped by the trailing legs of the Greentown goalie. A clear penalty, duly given, and Fujimoto converted the kick at the second attempt after his first had been ruled out for infringement. Grampus then ran out the clock with more possession football.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Kennedy, Tulio and Yoshi join the queue for the physio's table as Dani drops off

Tulio was subbed midway through the first half against Frontale and Yoshimura was injured in training the day before, as our injury list grows. Josh also has a hamstring strain that will probably see him miss the next two games. Fortunately, it looks as though we will only have to get past Hangzhao on Wednesday with a makeshift midfield. Dani is expected to be back for the clash with S-Pulse on Saturday, and he may even make the bench tomorrow.