Monday, November 6, 2006

Japanese Soccer News Gamba back from the dead

Japanese Soccer News Gamba back from the dead.
J-League News: Urawa's shock loss brings Gamba back from the dead

Urawa Reds lost 3-2 to Jubilo Iwata at Yamaha Stadium in the most recent round of J-League matches, throwing the title race wide open once again.

Urawa's loss gave Gamba Osaka the opportunity to cut the deficit at the top of the J-League table to three points, and they did just that, defeating Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 at home.

At the bottom of the league, Avispa Fukuoka and Cerezo Osaka both won away from home, practically condemning Kyoto Purple Sanga to Second Division football next season.

Players Overseas

Some mixed results for Japanese players overseas of late, with Shunsuke Nakamura continuing to prove one of Celtic's most influential players, whilst Naohiro Takahara seems to be slowly finding his feet at Frankfurt. Meanwhile the eagerly anticipated Serie A clash between Torino and Messina turned into an anti-climax for Japanese fans, with Torino's Masashi Oguro replaced at half-time and Messina's Mitsuo Ogasawara failing to even get on the park.

Naohiro Takahara: Eintracht Frankfurt

Takahara came off the bench to score the winner for Eintracht in their 1-0 Bundesliga win over Borussia M├Ânchengladbach at the weekend. He also started Eintracht's most recent UEFA Cup match - a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo.

Junichi Inamoto: Galatasaray

Inamoto has returned to the Gala starting line-up in recent weeks, but has been unable to prevent his side slumping to consecutive losses in the UEFA Champions League and Turkish Super League.

Kenji Fukuda: Numancia

Fukuda scored the winner for Numancia against his former team Castellon, in their recent Spanish Second Division clash.

Daisuke Matsui: Le Mans

Along with Celtic's Nakamura, Matsui has been the best of the Japanese players abroad for some time now. He was again influential in Le Mans' most recent 3-2 Ligue 1 victory over Auxerre, creating one goal and earning his side a penalty.

Shunsuke Nakamura: Celtic

Nakamura has been in fine form in the Scottish Premier League lately, scoring the equaliser against Kilmarnock with a venomous free-kick, while his inswinging corner lead to Stephen McManus' dramatic late winner at home to Hearts at the weekend. Nakamura also featured in Celtic's recent 3-0 UEFA Champions League loss to Benfica in Lisbon.

Yamazaki Nabisco League Cup

JEF United became the first team since Kawasaki Verdy to defend their League Cup crown. Amar Osim's side heaped more pressure on Kashima Antlers manager Paulo Autori by winning the League Cup Final 2-0 in front of 44,704 fans at a sold-out National Stadium in Tokyo. Midfielders Koki Mizuno and Yuki Abe scored the goals for United.

Emperor's Cup

There were few surprises in the fourth round of the Emperor's Cup. That itself comes as no surprise, given that J1 clubs only entered the competition at this late stage. They were then generously given home ties against their lesser opponents, making any potential giantkilling runs an even more difficult prospect. As it was, not a single J1 side lost to a lower division opponent.

Jubilo Iwata were pushed the furthest - they defeated J2 high flyers Kashiwa Reysol 9-8 on penalties, after the teams were locked at 1-1 following extra-time at Yamaha Stadium.

Urawa Reds crushed amateur outfit Shizuoka FC 5-0 at Komaba Stadium. The Reds fielded a near full-strength line-up, with strikers Tatsuya Tanaka and Washington each scoring a brace.

Shimizu S-Pulse beat Tochigi SC 6-4 in an entertaining encounter at Nihondaira Stadium. All ten goals came in the final thirty minutes of the match.

In the pick of the games elsewhere, J2 side Ehime FC took Yokohama F. Marinos to extra-time before succumbing 1-0, FC Tokyo hammered Banditonce Kobe 7-0, Avispa Fukuoka beat a hapless Kyoto Purple Sanga 4-3 on penalties after the teams drew 1-1, Omiya Ardija scraped passed company team YKK AP 2-1, Nagoya Grampus Eight beat Vegalta Sendai 1-0 and Gamba Osaka defeated Shonan Bellmare 2-1.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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