Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Japanese Soccer News July 2007

Japanese Soccer News July 2007.
Japanese Soccer News

J-League News: Gamba lead the way, as the J-League breaks for the summer

Gamba Osaka remain five points clear of defending champions Urawa Reds at the halfway point of the season, as the J-League pauses for a six week summer recess.

Gamba beat Omiya Ardija 3-0 at Komaba Stadium in the last round of matches, with Akihiro Ienaga, Takahiro Futagawa and Magno Alves all getting on the scoresheet.

Urawa overcame Jubilo Iwata 2-0 in front of 35,072 fans at Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi. Former Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono scored twice for the Reds, in a match officiated by Danish referee Nicolai Vollquartz. He handed Jubilo defender Makoto Tanaka a straight red card for a professional foul on the half hour mark, leaving Jubilo to battle on with ten men for the remainder of the match.

Albirex Niigata moved into third place on the table with a hard fought 2-1 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in front of 40,858 fans at Big Swan Stadium. Former Sao Caetano midfielder Marcio Richardes was the architect of the victory, scoring twice for Niigata either side of a Hisato Sato goal.

A massive crowd of 43,117 turned out at Nissan Stadium for the clash between Yokohama FC and JEF United, but the Yokohama fans went home disappointed, as Satoru Yamagishi's early strike proved the difference between the two teams.

Nagoya Grampus Eight veteran Toshiya Fujita became the first player to reach 400 J-League games, however he was unable to fire his team to a home victory against Ventforet Kofu.

Nagoya took the lead through a contentious Frode Johnsen header, after midfielder Keiji Watanabe had seemingly played the ball into touch. Kofu equalised courtesy of a scrappy Daisuke Sudo strike, but the visitors were furious when Sudo had a late winner chalked off by a dubious offside flag, after he headed home a cross from fellow striker Yohei Onishi.

Oita Trinita will spend the summer second from bottom, after they were beaten 3-0 by Yokohama F. Marinos in front of 20,315 fans at the Kyushu Oil Dome. Ryuji Kawai, Yuji Nakazawa and the mercurial Koji Yamase scored the goals for the visitors.


Whilst the First Division breaks for the Asian Cup, the marathon J2 season continues throughout the summer.

Consadole Sapporo lead the way with 50 points, however Vegalta Sendai are six points behind in second place.

Sendai recorded a tough 1-0 win over Cerezo Osaka in front of 15,540 fans at Yurtec Sendai Stadium, with Brazilian midfielder Lopes converting an eighty-fifth minute penalty. That win keeps Sendai in front of third placed Kyoto Sanga FC on goal difference, despite Kyoto's emphatic 4-0 away win over Tokushima Vortis.

Tokyo Verdy and Cerezo Osaka continue to struggle, on 36 and 30 points respectively.

Naoya Kikuchi sacked by Jubilo Iwata

2004 Athens Olympian Naoya Kikuchi has been sacked by his club Jubilo Iwata.

The 22 year old midfielder admitted to having sex with a 15 year old schoolgirl in May, prompting club chairman Hiroshi Ukon to quote in the Japanese media "we need to regain the trust of the fans as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile JEF United have released Bulgarian defender Ilian Stoyanov after the firebrand stopper refused to apologise for claiming that coach Amar Osim did not "understand football" and would lead the Chiba club into the Second Division.

Nabisco League Cup

The quarter-finals of the League Cup kick off on July 7, with Urawa hosting Gamba Osaka in a blockbuster at Saitama Stadium.

Ventforet Kofu clash with Kawasaki Frontale at Kose Sports Park Stadium, while on July 8 Sanfrecce Hiroshima take on Kashima Antlers, and Yokohama F. Marinos face FC Tokyo at Mitsuzawa Stadium.

The return legs take place on the weekend of July 14/15.

Japan National Teams

Japan coach Ivica Osim named his full 23 man squad for the Asian Cup.

There were few surprises, with defenders Marcus Tulio Tanaka of Urawa and Hiroki Mizumoto of JEF United both dropping out through injury.

The five other players to miss the cut were Yohei Nishibe (Shimizu S-Pulse), Masahiko Inoha (FC Tokyo), Keisuke Honda (Nagoya Grampus Eight), Akihiro Ienaga (Gamba Osaka) and Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata).

The full squad is;

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus Eight), Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale)

Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F. Marinos), Keisuke Tsuboi (Urawa Reds), Akira Kaji (Gamba Osaka), Yuichi Komano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)

Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic), Hideo Hashimoto (Gamba Osaka), Naotake Hanyu (JEF United Chiba), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Keita Suzuki (Urawa Reds), Yuki Abe (Urawa Reds), Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Satoru Yamagishi (JEF United Chiba), Yoshiaki Ota (Jubilo Iwata), Koki Mizuno (JEF United Chiba)

Naohiro Takahara (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ryuji Bando (Gamba Osaka), Seiichiro Maki (JEF United Chiba), Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Kisho Yano (Albirex Niigata)

Japan u-20 National Team

Japan have made a great start to the u-20 FIFA World Cup currently taking place in Canada.

Yasushi Yoshida's men recorded a resounding 3-1 victory over the highly fancied Scotland in Victoria.

Japan opened the scoring two minutes before half-time through Cerezo Osaka striker Yasuhito Morishima.

Outstanding Oita Trinita midfielder Tsukasa Umesaki scored a second on fifty-eight minutes, before Nagoya Grampus Eight midfielder Jun Aoyama blasted a thirty yard drive in off Scotland goalkeeper Andrew McNeill.

The Scots struck a late consolation through substitute Ross Campbell.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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