Monday, December 29, 2008

Gamba and Reysol book season-ending trip to Kokuritsu

Gamba and Reysol book season-ending trip to Kokuritsu.
The long Japanese season comes to an end on New Year's Day, with an exhausted Gamba Osaka set to take on Kashiwa Reysol in the Emperor's Cup final.

Gamba booked their place with an extra-time semi-final win over Yokohama F. Marinos at the National Stadium in Tokyo, with young striker Masato Yamazaki continuing his recent goal-scoring exploits as he found the net after a marathon 116 minutes.

Kashiwa Reysol, meanwhile, came from behind to beat FC Tokyo 2-1 at Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi in the other semi-final, as the Sun Kings booked an emotional send-off for coach Nobuhiro Ishizaki.

Earlier this month Reysol officials announced that Ishizaki would not be in charge for the 2009 campaign, but despite that disappointment the veteran tactician has managed to guide his side into their first ever Emperor's Cup final.

Tatsuya Suzuki opened the scoring for FC Tokyo - ironically he is on loan from Kashiwa Reysol - but substitutes Franca and Tadanari Ri turned the game on its head as they scored second half goals to send Kashiwa through to the final.

Kashiwa may be renowned as one of the scrappiest outfits in Japanese football, but a hopelessly inappropriate pre-match headline on the Reysol website highlights that J. League clubs have a long way to go to match their more media savvy European counterparts.

The offending Kashiwa Reysol headline
It was the S-Pulse UK Ultras site that brought the offending headline to the attention of the blogosphere, and Reysol officials will hope there is no backlash for their "Final Jihad" headline - on or off the pitch.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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