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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Coming soon. The Kansai Grampalogue

I am slowly switching over to posting some of my Grampus related information to a new blog, the Kansai Grampalogue. As you might expect, with the strong Grampus connection it has, many of these concern Tokushima Vortis. Although this includes players, such as Keita Sugimoto and Shinta Fukushima, they also have Toru Hasegawa and Tomohiro Tsuda on loan. The most recent post being Tomohiro Helping Vortis Challenge for J1 Place.

Eventually, most of the Grampus game reports and news will be added to this site. This site will also include occasional guest appearances by other bloggers covering Kansai teams.

Grampus Extend Unbeaten Streak

Nagoya continued their recent trend of dominating possession, but leaving it late to claim all three points. This time it was potential title challengers Sanfrecce, who eventually succumbed 3-2, leaving Grampus in sole possession of third place, four points behind league leaders Kashiwa and Yokohama, with a game in hand.

Grampus vs Sanfrecce Lineup

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Piksi Dust & Naoshi Magic Sink Kobe

Another inspired substitution by the manager sees a player score on his return from injury. This time it was Naoshi Nakamura's turn. His blast of clear air turbulence proving the difference between a Vissel side lacking the guile to earn a point, and a Grampus team that did no more than they had to.

Vissel vs Grampus lineup

This game got off to an inauspicious start, with both Vissel's Okubo and Tulio picking up early injuries that looked like seeing them get subbed early. However, both managed to play on for a few minutes and both eventually looked none the worse for wear. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the pitch, which cut up easily from the opening minute.

Okubo was the first to look like making a quick return to the bench. One burst of speed to create space in midfield, saw him tweak a muscle and spend the next few minutes limping noticeably. However, as the half wore on he gradually started to move a bit more freely again. Tulio was hurt in a typically robust tackle, and was also feeling its effects for several minutes. Overall, Grampus had the better of the half, but tended to try and be too clever close to goal. Tamada having a chance midway through the half, but slicing his shot wide. At the other end, Isomura made a timely block as Vissel's Hideo Tanaka advanced into the danger area. Takagi was also forced to come-out quickly to smother a Yoshida effort. The best effort of the half however, fell to Tulio who was brilliantly setup by a deft Josh back heel, but hit his effort weakly at Tokushige.

Vissel came out looking the sharpr and more determined team in the second half. First Okubo shot wastefully wide and cutting inside to create a good opening. Ishibitsu then headed over from 6-yards with one of their best chances of the game. Their only other clearcut chance saw Okubo hit a tame effort from close range into the arms of a grateful Takagi. Meanwhile, Stojkovic had brought on Naoshi Nakamura for Isomura after 69 minutes, and the midfielder was soon settling into his alternating role of midfield terrier and support striker. It was s typical burst from midfield that saw him drive towards the Kobe goal, as the Vissel defence retreated, late in the half and unleash a wicked shot that left Tokushige floundering. Once again, Piksi had seen a player mark his return from injury with a goal. At this rate, Mu Kanazaki will owe us a hat-trick on his return.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Naoshi and Makito set to return

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Midfielders Naoshi Nakamura and Makito Yoshida are expected to return to the first team for today's clash with Vissel Kobe. Naoshi may well get to start, having come through a practice game on Tuesday. Makito is more doubtful, but may at least make the bench. So we should have our Dream Team of Dani and Naoshi to dominate the midfield again. The Columbian has looked not half as effective without the industrious Nakamura to share the defensive load.

With former Japan No.1 Seigo Narazaki also making rapid progress after his dislocated pinkie was expected rule him out for up to four weeks; he now looks at least a possibility for next week. This leaves only Mu Kanazaki of the regulars still out through injury. With Fujimoto and Ogawa settling into a good rhythm, the Mie native's direct approach is missed, but not as significantly as we might have feared.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Nicky Makes Japan U-17 Squad

Grampus U-18 Nicky Havenaar, son of coach Dido and younger brother of Ventforet forward Mike, has been selected for a Japan U-17 team. They will play in the INternational Youth Soccer tourny in Niigata later this month. Looks like we may have a eady made replacement for Masukawa or Tulio in a couple of years. :-)

Monday, 4 July 2011

Resilient Sandai Hold Champs at Bay

We are now over a dozen games into the season and the Vegalta reliance is proving as reliable as the Grampus concentration isn't. This was 6th draw in 13 games for Grampus, and 7th in 14 for Vegalta. Although this is a faltering start from the current league champions, there are still over 20 games to go and the team is nicely poised in the chasing pack.

This was another game that saw Nagoya edge possession but fail to convert their chances. Indeed they had to rely on a former Grampus player, Makoto Kakuda, for their goal when his attempted clearance flew past Hayashi in the Sendai goal. However, the team's inability to maintain concentration at the back had already surfaced as the home team had snatched a the lead late in the first half. A late surge in an attempt to get the win saw U-22 forward Nagai introduced and Tulio pushed into attack, but Sendai held out for well-earned point.

Lineups Vegalta Grampus