Another Sunday, another set of J2 fixtures and there is no doubting the big game of the weekend.
It is 1st v 2nd at the NOEVIR Stadium as leaders Vissel Kobe host Montedio Yamagata. Vissel recorded a good win last time out in Matsumoto, coming from behind to win 2-1, while Yamagata were busy easily disposing of Yokohama. For Vissel, Popo is bang in form as witnessed by his fantastic double last weekend although it is not just the veteran striker Yamagata have to contend with as they have threats from all over, whether it be from Mazinho, Ogawa, Estiven, Tashiro etc. but Montedio go there full of confidence. They had a horror start to the season, losing their first two games, and many observers (myself included) wondered whether their nosedive that had started last season had continued into this. However, since those first two defeats they have won four on the spin culminating in that 5-1 demolition of Yokohama. Should be a cracker in Kobe.
Gamba Osaka will look to capitalize on whichever team slips up (or the draw) in Kobe when they face Tokyo Verdy at Banpaku. Verdy won their first game of the season last weekend against Gifu, but they will be hard-pressed to repeat that feat against a Gamba team that has ominously slipped into third place despite not playing anywhere near their capabilities. Fagiano Okayama welcome unpredictable Consadole Sapporo looking to consolidate their place in the top six, while for the other teams occupying the play-off spots, Tokushima Vortis play V-Varen Nagasaki and Kataller Toyama host Tochigi SC.
FC Gifu will look to end the #GreatGifuGoalDrought (trademarked) when they host a hot-and-cold blowing Kyoto Sanga at Nagaragawa. Kyoto are looking to get back on track after back to back defeats while I’m sure Gifu will just be happy to get a goal. For Gifu, Desmond will miss this game after his (very harsh) red card against Verdy. Kempes will take his white-hot scoring boots to north Kanto as his JEF United side travel to Thespa Kusatsu Gunma in a Kanto derby. Gainare Tottori will be hoping to get back on track when they host a stuttering Avispa Fukuoka side at the Torigin Stadium. Tottori were comprehensively beaten in Nagasaki last week but prior to that had been playing very well. In a clash of two teams near the foot of the table, Roasso Kumamoto play host to Yokohama FC. The Kanagawa side will be looking to right-the-wrongs of last week when they were completely outclassed in Yamagata while the Kumamoto Reds are looking to add to their solitary win this season. Finally Mito Hollyhock, looking nervously over their shoulder at the foot of the table take on Matsumoto Yamaga at the K’s Denki stadium. Matsumoto are unbeaten away from the Alwin so far and will look to extend that run to four games.
Full J2 Fixtures
- Thespa Kusatsu Gunma v JEF United
- FC Gifu v Kyoto Sanga
- Gainare Tottori v Avispa Fukuoka
- Fagiano Okayama v Consadole Sapporo
- Tokushima Vortis v V-Varen Nagasaki
- Gamba Osaka v Tokyo Verdy
- Mito Hollyhock v Matsumoto Yamaga
- Yokohama FC v Roasso Kumamoto
- Kataller Toyama v Tochigi SC
- Vissel Kobe v Montedio Yamagata