J2 Midweek review

Goals at Gifu (!), post match crowd frustrations, the big two sliding into position….here’s a brief recap of what happened on Wednesday night.

Vissel Kobe remain 5 points clear at the top after goals from Keijiro Ogawa & Mazinho gave them a 2-1 win against Giravanz Kitakyushu at a sparsely populated Noevir Stadium. Giravanz had leveled thorugh a fabulous strike from Hideo Oshima. Kansai’s other big hitters, Gamba Osaka moved into second after 1-0 over Matsumoto Yamaga at Banpaku courtesy of an early own from Yamaga’s Kazuya Iio, who turned the ball into his own net under strong pressure from the lurking Leandro. The defeat was Matsumoto’s first away from home this season.

V-Varen Nagasaki are up into the heady heights of third after their 2-1 win against Yokohama FC at Mitsuzawa. Yokohama, looking to build on their win at Kyoto, took the lead through a Tetsuya Okubo header but were soon pegged back by a low Sai Kanakubo strike into the bottom corner. Nagasaki got their winner in fortunate circumstances when a Kenta Furube cross/shot deflected off the post, on to the ‘keeper and into the net. According to sources at the game, crowd frustrations spilled over when Yokohama went to salute their fans, as one fan tried to get on to the pitch. Not a nice look for the struggling club. Tomoyuki Arata’s 5th goal of the season was not enough to give Fagiano Okayama a win at the Kanko Stadium as Kyoto Sanga struck back near the end through young forward Takumi Miyayoshi. Arata headed the home side in front early in the second half but Kyoto got the reward their pressure deserved when Miyayoshi beautifully collected a through pass from Fukumura and calmly finished past Nakabayashi. Kyoto suffered a blow in this game as top scorer Kazuki Hara was forced off injured just before half time.

Thespa Kusatsu Gunma continued their horrible form as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Avispa Fukuoka. Kanamori tapped the away side ahead early after some good work down the Fukuoka right hand side. Thespa really should have drawn level on 55 minutes, but Eder put a free header over the bar, but they still would have been encouraged when Avispa were reduced to 10 men when Jun Kanakubo was sent off for his second booking (although it looked VERY harsh, and Avispa coach Pusnik was none too happy with the decision). Gunma however couldn’t make their numerical superiority count despite having a lot of good chances and they remain second bottom.

Mito Hollyhock pulled out a surprise win against a stuttering JEF United winning 2-0 at the K’s Denki Stadium. Mito went ahead half way through the second as Kohei Mishima found himself at the right place at the right time to tap home a cross/shot from Yuki Yamada. Mishima added his second in the 75th minute when he headed in from an acute angle after an initial header had been saved. Another disappointing result for the Chiba side.

Tokyo Verdy continued their climb up the table as they consigned visiting Montedio Yamagata to their third defeat in a row. Verdy took the lead when Satoshi Tokiwa, a summer signing from Giravanz Kitakyushu, tucked home after some enterprising play from Iio. Verdy went two up on 24 minutes. Tokiwa picked up a weak Yamagata clearance and was very unlucky to see his curled effort come off the bar but Jun Koike was lurking and he powered in the rebound. The closest Yamagata came to getting back in the game was when Romero Franck’s very powerful free-kick was turned on to the bar by the Verdy ‘keeper. Verdy have now taken 11 points from the last possible 15.

Gainare Tottori‘s slide down the table continued with a demoralizing home loss against Consadole Sapporo. Consa took the lead in the first half when Makoto Sunakawa curled a free kick from the corner of the area over the wall and into the net and the Hokkaido side went two-nil up after 24 minutes as Yasuaki Okamoto took advantage of some penalty area pinball to strike home. Gainare had chances to get back into the game but Sapporo held firm. One bright spot for Gainare was the appearance of Genki Nagasato for his home debut.

There was a helter-skelter thriller at the Nagaragawa Stadium in Gifu in which Kataller Toyama ultimately prevailed 3-2 over FC Gifu after an incredible last 10 minutes. Kataller were seeming strolling to the win after they 2-0 with goals from Yudai Nishikawa & Seo, but Gifu pulled one back on 82 minutes through Kohei Nakashima. Toyama went straight up the other end and won a penalty after Desmond dived into a challenge. Asahi stepped up, only for Tokihisa to dive low to his left and keep it out. As an aside, it was Tokihisa’s thrid penalty save of the season. Spurred on by this, Gifu went looking for an equalizer and it came from Desmond who was on hand to finish after a bit of a scramble but as they went in search of an unlikely winner, Kataller went and won it in stoppage time when Funatsu lashed in a shot from a tight angle.

Roasso Kumamoto followed up their loss against Nagasaki with another loss, this time at home to Ehime FC. The hosts were beaten with the last kick of the game as Masaru Kato floated a free kick over the wall that left Roasso’s Yuta Minami helpless in goal. The warning signs are there for Kumamoto, whilst Ehime have queitly moved into position just outside the play-offs.

Tokushima Vortis lost their third game in a row as they were beaten a solitary Tochigi SC goal. The winner came in the 70th minute when substitute Sabia was on hand to poke in after Vortis ‘keeper Matsui had pushed out Koji Hirose’s shot.

Full results:

  • FC Gifu 2-3 Kataller Toyama
  • Yokohama FC 1-2 V-Varen Nagasaki
  • Tokyo Verdy 2-0 Montedio Yamagata
  • Vissel Kobe 2-1 Giravanz Kitakyushu
  • Fagiano Okayama 1-1 Kyoto Sanga
  • Tokushima Vortis 0-1 Tochigi SC
  • Roasso Kumamoto 0-1 Ehime FC
  • Mito Hollyhock 2-0 JEF United
  • Gainare Tottori 0-2 Consadole Sapporo
  • Gamba Osaka 1-0 Matsumoto Yamaga
  • Thespa Kusatsu Gunma 0-1 Avispa Fukuoka

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