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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Grampus Cruise to Emphatic Win

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An even more one-sided half than the two-goal advantage the home team gained by the end. Nagoya started as they were to continue, as Kennedy flicked a good Ogawa cross toward goal, but the effort lacked conviction and did not test Higashiguchi in the Albirex goal. While it took the forwards a while to find their range and coordination, the midfield had no such problem as Naoshi and Danilson alternated in closing down Niigata in the opening minutes and establishing control of this area. The Grampus forwards again missed an opportunity to take an early lead when Kennedy's layoff for Tamada proved elusive and another promising move came to nothing.

Danilson continued to impose his will in the middle, making a good interception near the edge of the area that saw the desperate Adriano tumble to the turf in an vain effort to hoodwink ref Nishimurs into awarding a free kick. Meanwhile the Nagoya forwards started to improve their coordination. Ogawa layed-off a good ball back for Kennedy but the Aussie fired wastefully over. However this proved to be a short-lived reprieve for the visitors as they fell behind when Fujimto burst into the box and pulled the ball back to give Tamada a simple job of sliding the ball home. Niigata then fell further behind when Ogawa latched onto a raking Masukawa cross-field pass and Kennedy tucked home the loose ball. Kennedy continued to look not quite in sync with his teammates and he had another layoff towards the end that failed to find a Grampus player moving into space to finish the move off.


HT: 2-0

Albirex came out for the second half looking a bit sharper and more determined. Indeed the earned an early free kick, but failed to seriously test Narazaki. A Cho shot a few minutes later had the former Japan No. 1 scrambling but the effort drifted wide. However, this proved a short-lived reprieve as Grampus soon assumed control again. Danilson, dominating the midfield, but still looking off his best, saw an effort deflected for a corner. With their defensive roles unneeded, Fujimoto and Ogawa were free to roam forward at will and Ogawa in particular had several good breaks through the middle. One saw him latch onto a deep Tulio pass, but fail to control the ball in time to get in a meaningful shot. The two attacking midfielders then combined as Fujimoto burst into the box and pulled the ball back for Ogawa, but again the finish was not there.

As the game appeared to be winding down to comfortable, but not emphatic, home win, Niigata conceded two late goals. The first, saw Josh Kennedy get a faint touch on a corner that then cannoned off a defender and into the goal. Surely, a won goal you may ask? But, no Josh did get a touch on the ball and although it was the deflection that defeated Higashiguchi, the Aussie was credited with his second of the game. Kennedy and Tamada then saw effort fail to add to the score before Hayuma Tanaka added the fourth with a neat finish in extra time.

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