Sunday, February 8, 2009

2009 J. League fixture list unveiled

2009 J. League fixture list unveiled.
The 2009 J. League fixture list has been announced.

The first round of fixtures heralds a marquee clash between bitter rivals Kashima Antlers and Urawa Reds at Kashima Stadium, while J1 newcomers Montedio Yamagata travel to Yamaha Stadium to take on Jubilo Iwata.

The highlight clash in Round 2 sees Urawa Reds host regional foes FC Tokyo, while Nagoya Grampus travel to ND Soft Stadium in Yamagata as Montedio prepare to host their first ever top-flight fixture.

The announcement of the fixture list was delayed by one week this season to accommodate the complex scheduling of the J2 campaign.

Three new clubs in the form of Tochigi SC, Kataller Toyama and Fagiano Okayama have been added to J2 - prompting another marathon 51-game season.

Opening day highlights include Consadole Sapporo's grudge match with Vegalta Sendai at the Sapporo Dome, while there's a Kanagawa derby in Hiratsuka when Shonan Bellmare welcome Yokohama FC to Hiratsuka Stadium.

In Round 2 cash-strapped FC Gifu welcome fellow strugglers Ventforet Kofu to Nagaragawa Stadium, while Tokyo Verdy host Cerezo Osaka at Ajinomoto Stadium in a match-up between two fallen giants.

With four J. League teams competing in a revamped AFC Champions League this season the format of the Yamazaki Nabisco League Cup group stage has once again been altered, with two groups of seven set to face off for the right to progress to the quarter-finals - while J2 teams have once again been overlooked by the J. League's premier knock-out competition.

Full fixture lists for J1, J2 and the Yamazaki Nabisco League Cup can be found at the J. League's official English-language website.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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