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Sunday, 19 October 2008

S-Pulse 2-0 Kawasaki Frontale

Special feature: Courtesy of fellow S-Pulse supporter and J. League follower Mike Tuckerman, we present an interview with a Japanese S-Pulse fan. In an interview fully in English, Shimizu-born Yuichi Korenaga discusses S-Pulse's current season and football in Japan in general. Full interview can be found here.

Probably one of the better pictures I've managed at the 'Daira!

A classic Saturday afternoon down the 'Daira. Sunshine, beers, mates, goals, a clean sheet, a near-full house. There are certain days where it all just seems to fall into place, and as I left my flat at 11am and saw the clear blue sky overhead, I had a feeling things were going to go our way.

For those who read anything into past records, Kawasaki, who have never won at Nihondaira, were always going to be fighting fate. As it turned out, their poor record under Fuji's shadow continues, and with it, their title challenge takes a huge knock. With it being as open as it is, they're no means out of the race, but dropping points as both Kashima and Oita won again leaves them with a lot to do to get back into it.

The first S-Pulse goal was a lovely worked piece of play, and it had goal written all over it from the outset. It came on 24 minutes and Edamura, after the cross was headed back across goal, was there to slam it home under the Frontale keeper. Frontale's undeniable ability up front was, for the most part, well neutralised, although a couple of occasions saw them go close.
Our second goal came from one of our 11 corners and it was man of the moment Kazuki Hara who put it home. After a poor clearance attempt the ball fell to his feet and he calmly put into the net in front of the two tiered bank which was full to bursting. The poor lad lost his mother earlier in the month, but he's been one of our several break-though players this season, and another goal was no more than he deserved.

The after-match party was as good as ever, and as we had a do pre-arranged back near the station, we rushed off to that with the win just adding more reason to get happily battered. And get happily battered we did.

Next up, outside title hopefuls Gamba Osaka. They have a game midweek they simply have to win, away to Urawa in the semi-final of the Asian Champions League. Fingers crossed they'll be shattered from that, and we can continue our great run. Last year's Gamba fixture was one of the games of the season, so a repeat of the 3-1 scoreline would be just great, thank you!

Time to go, but thank you S-Pulse - you made my birthday celebrations all the more brilliant! Enough from me, time for the highlights!

And here, taken on my camera, is Oja no Hata, our victory song, and which, after four years, I'm embarrassed to say I'm still learning the words to!