Featured Post

Season 2016 Highlights

BARRY WRITES...  I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

S-Pulse 1-1 Nagoya (Nagoya win 5-3 on Pens)

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 1-1 Nagoya (Nagoya win 5-3 on Pens)

Okazaki 16 -------------- Tamada 56 (pen)

Att: 19578

Line Up

GK K. Yamamoto

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Hyodo
MF Honda
MF Edamura
MF Fujimoto

FW Okazaki
FW Nagasawa

Subs used

Johnsen on for Nagasawa (HT)
Tsujio on for Fujimoto (84)
Hara on for Hyodo (112)

Report

I'm back in England right now and didn't manage to raise myself at 4am to watch this one unfold, but my eyebrow did just shoot up when I noticed Nagasawa started ahead of Johnsen. I don't know the full story here, but why, in a game of this magnitude, we'd play a young rookie ahead of any of our better and more experienced strikers is absolutely beyond me. He got subbed at half time for Frode.

It took extra time and penalties to decide this one, with Ichikawa's shoot out miss proving the difference. He beat the keeper, but not the crossbar. The meaningless lottery of the penalty shootout was played out with noone else missing, which meant Nagoya won 5-3 on spot kicks. Another cup semi final loss isn't exactly a joy to behold, but that's football, and all things considered we've had a better season than many.

Gamba Osaka will be Nagoya's opponents in the final on Friday, and it's hard to look beyond the Osaka outfit adding to their impressive six-trophy trophy haul in recent years. If Osaka do defend the title they won on Jan 1st 2009, Hiroshima will receive the fourth ACL spot for next year. For that reason alone I'm kind if hoping Gamba win this one!

Highlights

Here are some extended highlights of the game. There's no replays on any of the goals or for the penalty decision (which looks like the Nagoya player just falls over into Arata), so if I can find a better set of highlights I'll add them.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Eddy Bosnar Signs for S-Pulse

BarryBarry writes:

It was officially announced today that S-Pulse had secured the services of relegated JEF United's Eddy Bosnar for the 2010 season. The 6 foot 4 inch centre back will help fill the void created by Aoyama's continued absence through injury. The big man's arrival will help shore up the one main area we were lacking in this year.

The man himself said, and I quote, S-Pulse are a big and strong team. I like him already. :)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

S-Pulse 3-2 Niigata (aet) Emperor's Cup 1/4 Final

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 3-2 Niigata
Okazaki 11 ----------------Matsushita 15
Johnsen 86 ----------------Yano 88
Kodama 104

Att. 9705

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Fujimoto
MF Honda
MF Edamura
MF Hyodo

FW Johnsen
FW Okazaki

Subs Used

Nagasawa on for Hyodo (72)
Ito on for Fujimoto (88)
Nagia on for Honda (95)

S-Pulse marched on to the semi final of the cup in a pulsating match at a sun-bathed Nihondaira this afternoon. An excellent away support came down from Niigata for what would be the final game of 2009 for one of these two teams. S-Pulse rediscovered the art of goal scoring with both front men getting on the score sheet, but it was Arata Kodama who popped up deep in extra time first half stoppage time to volley home the goal which sent us into the cup semi final.

Nihondaira Stadium, Shizuoka City, Japan
A balmy 23 degree Saturday afternoon (On December 12th!!!)
Everton Santos saw red (but had to be carried off)

The semi final will be played at Ecopa Stadium on December 29th at 1pm. Opponents will be Nagoya, who beat Gifu in their quarter final.

Videos

Highlights taken from the official Albirex channel:



Now for some personal cam captures of our goals, starting with Okazaki's opener:



Johnsen makes it two one:



Arata volleys home the winner:



All three videos courtesy of YouTube user ssnnddttyy.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Okazaki Named in Best 11

BarryBarry writes:

More good news to top off an excellent year for Shinji Okazaki; he was this evening named as one of the two best strikers in the country at the annual J. League awards.

Okachan shortly after banging in a hat-trick for Japan

The recognition comes at the end of his first full season as a starting member, and after netting 14 league goals. Including four league cup goals, he's at 18, with the remainder of the Emperor's Cup still to play. He's worked his way into the national team this year and is all set to head to South Africa next summer.

In the J. League best eleven for 2009, Okazaki is partnered up front by Jubilo forward, and league top scorer with 20 goals, Maeda. It's fitting to see Shizuoka leading the charge for the best 11 this year, but it's high time the orange machine claimed another title or two to ensure people don't forget where the heart of football lies in Japan!

For full details on the 2009 J. League awards, click here (in Japanese). For the official S-Pulse report, click here. In Japanese, but with plenty of pictures.

We also reprised last year's achievement of winning the award for the best pitch in the league. The people in charge always keep Nihondaira's surface in near perfect condition, so it's great to see their efforts rewarded for a second season running. The award this year was actually split three ways, with Urawa and Omiya's Saitama Stadium and Albirex Niigata's Big Swan also being rewarded.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

S-Pulse 0-0 Nagoya Grampus

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 0-0 Nagoya Grampus

Att. 17218

Line Up

GK K. Yamamoto

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Hyodo
MF Honda
MF M. Yamamoto
MF Fujimoto

FW Okazaki
FW Nagasawa

Subs Used


Edamura on for M. Yamamoto (25)
Johnsen on for Nagasawa (69)
Tsujoi on for Hyodo (84)

Videos


Sunday, 29 November 2009

Yokohama Flügels M. 2-0 S-Pulse

BarryBarry writes:

Yokohama Flügels M. 2-0 S-Pulse
Ogura 75
Kurihara 92

Att: 30985

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Honda
MF M. Yamamoto
MF Fujimoto
MF Hyodo

FW Okazaki
FW Nagasawa

Subs Used


Johnsen on for Nagasawa (63)
Edamura on for Fujimoto (73)
Hara on for M. Yamamoto (80)

Report

Oh, my days. Nagasawa starting up front ahead of Nagai, Johnsen, Omae, Hara? WHAT??? Nishibe holding his place in goal over Kaito? WHAT??? And, lo. He gets beaten by two speculative long range efforts to put the icing on the cake. The cake had up till then been comprised of some really nice passing play and positive forward movement from ourselves, but why we had Nagasawa partnering Okazaki I will never know. He was subbed off just after the hour for Johnsen, by which point most the game was already played and Yokohama were getting their claws in.

So glad we're still in the cup, but for the love of all things holy Kenta, please stop making knee-jerk selection changes. Johnsen being injured for a week should not then mean his place is therefore lost to 21 year old rookie. Sorry, I can't type any more. Too angry / bemused / disappointed.

Roll on December 12th - Emperor's Cup v Niigata. :)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

S-Pulse 0-2 G. Osaka

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 0-2 G. Osaka
--------------------------------- Lucas 14
--------------------------------- Jae-Jin 70

Att. 20011

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF M. Yamamoto
MF Ito
MF Edamura
MF Paulo

FW Hara
FW Okazaki

Subs Used

Fujimoto on for M. Yamamoto (61)
Nagai on for Hara (70)
Nagasawa on for Paulo (78)

Report

We lost and we fully deserved to. How long ago our top-of-the-table exploits seem now! Down to sixth, but incredibly we've still lost only the joint least in the league. 3rd is now impossible, 4th is going to be a mission, but we're in the quarter final of the cup which is more than can be said for most other teams, so at least we have that.

???

Kenta was forced into replacing Johnsen who picked up a knock in training, but the dropping of Kaito in goal for Nishibe had me scratching my head before kick off. One dodgy game against Reysol and the keeper is dropped. This is after an excellent season which resulted in a national team call up recently. A keeper's confidence is paramount, so why knock Kaito's even further? He's clearly the best keeper we have. Nishibe didn't have a terrible game, but he was all over the place on the second goal. To get beaten to a cross by an attacker is poor.

Well, the season nears an end, and the best we can hope for is fourth. Again. I think without any silverware between now and the end of next year Kenta Hasegawa will be looking for another team. I dearly hope he proves us wrong, because I like him, I really do. But football is about winning things, and we've been coming up short time and again the last four years.

Another full house

There were a couple of crazy results this weekend which make our recent rubbish form not quite so hard to take. Kawasaki losing to bottom of the table Oita (ex-Pulser Fernandinho netting the only goal) and FC Tokyo losing to already-relegated JEF both go to show that we're not totally unique in our ability to pull shockers like the ones against Oita and Reysol.

With a bit of unfortunate timing, it was this weekend, after four defeats in a row, that the season ticket renewal forms were sent out. Not that it really makes any difference of course. Thousands upon thousands will be signing up for another year, and you know why? Because this is for life. Through the good times and the bad, WE ARE SHIMIZU S-PULSE, and we're bloody proud of that fact. :)

Videos etc

Awesome home support as usual.



Gamba's goals.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

S-Pulse v G. Osaka SOLD OUT ★ Okazaki Nets for Japan

BarryBarry writes:

Saturday's crucial match with Gamba Osaka has officially sold out. The announcement came early this morning, making it one of the fastest selling games in recent memory. It is also our second home league game in a row to sell out, underlining our excellent season at the turnstiles. With just one further home game remaining we are looking set to record an average gate well up on last season, and our highest since 1995 when the J. League boom was at it's peak.

Our final league match of the season with Nagoya on December 5th is also selling fast. As of two days ago, only 3000 tickets remain, with S, SS, and A Zone all sold out. If you're thinking of going, act now!

Okazaki Nets for Japan

In other news, Okazaki was among the scorers last night as Japan beat Hong Kong 4-0 in a qualifier for the 2011 Asian Cup. Okazaki is currently four goals off the pace in the hunt for the J. League Golden Boot, but continues to bang them in for the national team. He should have done enough this year to secure his place in South Africa next year where I'm sure he'll shine.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Emp. Cup 1/4 Final Venue Confirmed: Nihondaira!

BarryBarry writes:

Seems we've lucked out big style. The Emperor's Cup quarter and semi final venues and kick off times were announced today, and we've been handed a home draw in both, should we progress. The quarter final tie with Alibirex Niigata will be played at Nihondaira, kick off 1pm on Saturday December 12th.

If we win we'll go on to face the winner of Nagoya and FC Gifu which will be played Tuesday December 29th at Ecopa. Kick off 1pm. Click here for the official announcement (Japanese). This reporter thinks we've been handed a massive chance to make our first Emp Cup final since 2005, and will be gutted if we don't make it. Come on, boys!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

S-Pulse's Newest Fan!

BarryBarry writes:

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you the newest member to join the S-Pulse orange army, Aisha Ozawa!

Aishachan
Aisha was born around 3.30pm yesterday, November 14th, and the girl herself, Mummy Fuz and Daddy Hiro are all doing well. I'll be heading off to meet Japan's newest S-Pulse fan tomorrow and present her with her first Palchan toy. :)

Expect to see her down Nihondaira with her Mum and Dad as soon as she's big enough.

Fuz and Hiro, Congratulations!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

In unrelated news, the match with Gamba Osaka this Saturday will be the setting for the most recent of our semi-regular stadium-wide choreographed supporter displays. If you're yet to get your ticket, you'd best get one right away as at last count there just a handful left!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

S-Pulse 3-0 Kofu (Emp Cup Rnd 4)

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 3-0 Ventforet Kofu
Hara 33
Own Goal 49
Nagasawa 55

Tottori Soccer Stadium
Att. 3288

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Fujimoto
MF M. Yamamoto
MF Honda
MF Paulo

FW Hara
FW Nagasawa

Subs Used

Nagai on for Hara (63)
Takaki on for Nagasawa (72)
Tsujio on for Paulo (86)

Report

A much needed win for the boys in orange takes us through to the quarter final of 2009's Emperor's Cup. Both teams had very much their second strings out. As for us, we gave a first start of the season for lanky front man Shun Nagasawa and first-starts-in-a-while for Paulo and Hara. Despite (or, going on recent results, perhaps because of) the rests given to regulars Kaito, Hyodo, Teru, Edamura, Okazaki and Johnsen, we didn't show too many problems in dispatching J2's high flying Ventforet Kofu. Kofu are currently battling it out with Hidetoshi Nakata's old team Shonan Bellmare for the final promotion spot to J1, so probably have their minds elsewhere.

I didn't get to see the game, so can't offer anything other than the bare bones of what happened, but the result will be an invaluable boost after the Kashiwa Comedy Show. Goals for Nagasawa and Hara will remind our regular forwards what it is they've got to do these last three league games if we're to claim an ACL spot. In our three Emp. Cup games, we have a combined score of 7-0, with goals coming from Hara, Paulo, Nagai and Nagasawa.

We progress to the quarter finals for the 12th time in our 18 appearance in the tournament, and the fifth season running. We've made the final twice, in 2001 and 2005, winning the trophy once, in 2001. Before we can start thinking of this year's final we have to meet either Albirex Niigata or Meiji University who will face off tomorrow in Yamagata. Meiji Univesity in the last sixteen of this cup is the Japan equivalent of the non-league giant killer. They knocked out J1 Montedio Yamagata last round, so good luck to them tomorrow.

The quarter final with Niigata or Meiji Uni will be played Saturday December 12th, venue and kick off time to be confirmed.

Videos

Hara's opener:



Our second goal, an own goal from a Kofu defender:



Nagasawa grabs our third, and his first professional goal for S-Pulse:

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

As long as the possibility remains...

BarryBarry writes:

This is not a fanbase about to give up any time soon:



A stunning travelling support made it's way over 100 miles north of a Sunday evening only to presented with a shocker of a performance. Even after the final whistle they sang on. But that horrific night is now dead and gone. Not forgotten, but for the time being there are bigger things to worry about. Starting with progressing in the Emperor's Cup on Saturday, then the make or break tie with Gamba Osaka next Saturday (21st).

The tie with Gamba is set to sell out a full week before kick off, making it one of the fastest selling games in S-Pulse history. The stadium will be a boiling orange cauldron as we roar our boys onto a win which which will get everything back on track. As stated at the end of the video above:

0-5, but we won't quit.

ACL.

Emperor's Cup.

As long as the possibility remains...

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Kashiwa 5-0 S-Pulse

BarryBarry writes:

4-1. 5-1. 6-2. So this must be what it feels like to support Jubilo. ><;

I have absolutely nothing to say about this joke of a performance. I'm certainly not going to spend my time writing a report or team listings etc etc.

If the team can't arsed, then neither can I.

Not that I'll be watching them, but here are extended lowlights of the Kashiwa horror show:

Saturday, 31 October 2009

S-Pulse 2-0 Consadore Sapporo (Emp Cup Rnd 3)

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 2-0 Consadore Sapporo
Nagai 0, 20

Att. 5101

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Iwashita
DF Ota

MF Fujimoto
MF Honda
MF M. Yamamoto
MF Hyodo

FW Okazaki
FW Nagai

Subs Used

Arata on for Iwashita (18)
Johnsen on for Nagai (63)

Report

Well, it took the best part of the season, several false starts, and some wretched luck with injuries, but Yuichiro Nagai is finally off the mark! Thanks in main to the first goals to come from our number nine, S-Pulse progressed to the 4th round of 2009's Emperor's Cup by dispatching Consadore Sapporo 2-0.

I call this one "portrait of a hero"
In the few times I've seen him, I've become a big fan of Nagai and I believe he's got so much more to give than he's been able to this year. I was made up to see him in the starting line up and he didn't take long to give Kenta even more headaches when choosing his best two up front. Thirty seconds after the start he was on hand to knock home a shot which back came off the post and grab his first goal in orange. He followed up 19 minutes later after some defensive hesitation from the visitors cost them dearly.
Awesome banner
Worrying was the enforced substitution of Iwashita who twice in three minutes was on the end of the away team's strong approach to the game. The first time he was clattered to the ground which led to a yellow card for the Sapporo player, and not long after in blocking a hard shot he seemed to jar his foot or ankle and had to go off. I'm still waiting for news from the official site as to the extent of the injury, but fingers crossed for him. He's had an excellent season, capped recently with an international call up, so here's hoping it's just knock.
Nagai doubles the lead and half the team celebrate Arata becoming a dad

Sapporo were an entirely different prospect to Sagawa Printing earlier in the month, but the result was fairly comfortable. Despite Sapporo's positive and physical approach to the tie, we never really looked in any real danger of not progressing. A late flurry of attacking play did bring a couple of nervy moments, but the result didn't really feel in too much doubt.

We now go on to play Ventforet Kofu for a place in the quarter final. The game with Kofu, flying high in J2 and who today beat J1 Kyoto, will be played November 15th at the Tottori Soccer Stadium, home to JFL side Gainare Tottori. Given that Tottori (Japan's least populous prefecture, apparently) is three hundred miles from Shizuoka, I think I'll settle for watching on the box. The quarter final will be against either Albirex Niigata or Meiji University. Meiji Uni pulled off a major scalp today by beating J1 Montedio Yamagata, so they'll be fancying their chances against anyone.
Second half action

Attentions now turn back to the league and the race for an ACL spot. We're away to Kashiwa next Sunday at 6:30pm, a kick off time which pretty much put the kibosh on my hopes of getting to the game. Reysol are nine points off safety with a horrendous goal difference. Anything less than three points for the home team will mean relegation. The current bottom three are pretty much dead and gone, with next weekend surely just confirming matters. So much for a riveting relegation battle. However, the fight at the top remains wide open, so don't forget to tune in next weekend for more J. League fun and games!

Videos

A long personal cam clip of the players coming out, kick off, and Nagai's opener. The goal comes on 4:20.



Nagai's second, taken from a personal cam.

Monday, 26 October 2009

S-Pulse 1-2 FC Tokyo

BarryBarry writes:
S-Pulse 1-2 FC Tokyo
Okazaki 7 ---------------- Suzuki 3
-------------------------------- Own goal 39

Att. 19275

Line Up

GK K. Yamamoto

DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Edamura
MF M. Yamamoto
MF Ito
MF Hyodo

FW Johnsen
FW Okazaki

Subs Used

Fujimoto on for Hyodo (68)
Hara on for Masaki (69)
Takaki on for Arata (78)


Videos etc

Waiting for our heroes:



Okazaki's 7th minute equaliser from a personal cam:



Full highlights:


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Throwing it away?

FuzFuz writes:
After a recent run of glory and sitting in first for a couple of weeks, the boys in orange have apparently decided that we don't need to be champions after all and have disappointed us two weeks running. Last week's disaster against Oita, losers of 2009 was nothing short of mortifying and today we presumably felt the need to top that, and literally handed Tokyo victory by scoring their winner for them.

Sound bitter? That's cos I am. Less than impressed with today's performance... FC Tokyo aren't that good and we should have been able to step up to the challenge, especially at home. The fact that we didn't and couldn't equalize even with three strikers on the park is worrying. Oka-chan's goal was a beam of glory in an otherwise lacking match.

We really need to pick up the pace and fight to make sure we at least get a top three finish and place in the ACL next year. We can do it, I believe we can, it just remains to be seen whether or not we actually will.

Still, could be worse. I could be a Hiroshima fan. Losing 4-0 with 5 minutes to go is painful, but not as painful as 7-0 at the final whistle. Ouch.


Friday, 23 October 2009

S-Pulse v FC Tokyo SOLD OUT

BarryBarry writes:

Thinking of heading to Nihondaira on Sunday? If so you better have yourself a ticket. As of this evening, the game has completely sold out.
Another sell out at 'Daira

It's the third sell out this year, will be the fourth plus 20000 gate at Nihondaira and the fifth in total. Our average crowd for the year is already well over a thousand up on last season and with the title race hotting up, the remaining two home games will also no doubt see near full houses.

And all this despite 'Daira being a pain in the backside to get to / park at / get away from / having no protection from the elements etc. So come on Shizuoka City - obtain a compulsory purchase order on a swath of land near Higashi Shizuoka station, build us a 40000 seater stadium and watch the crowds pour in. You know it makes sense!

Now, for no reason at all, here's a video of our fans having a ball after we'd just put our fourth past little jubilo. The chant is called komagome, and when you're 4-1 up against your local rivals with half an hour still to go, it's the best damn thing in the world. :)



So glad they stayed up last year.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Oita Trinita 2-1 S-Pulse

BarryBarry writes:
Oita Trinita 2-1 S-Pulse
Takamatsu 58, 78 --------------- Iwashita 50

Att: 18264

Line Up

GK K. Yamamoto

DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Edamura
MF Honda
MF Ito
MF Hyodo

FW Johnsen
FW Okazaki

Subs Used

M. Yamamoto on for Hyodo (62)
Fujimoto on for Edamura (62)
Hara on for Ito (80)

Report

Well that certainly wasn't part of the plan.

Nothing short of full points at home on Sunday will be enough to maintain any kind of title challenge. A top three finish is of paramount importance, but let's not drift out of the title race when we have a real chance to add to our trophy cabinet.

Videos etc

Just the goals:



Full highlights:

Going for Gold.

FuzFuz writes:
First of all, I should really apologize to poor old Barry for leaving the entire running of this blog to him. I've been busy with the old personal life this year - you know, getting married, making babies and moving house. On that note, keep an eye out for pics of the UK Ultras newest member in a few weeks, because baby-chan is an S-Pulse fan whether he/she likes it or not! (It's not brain-washing, it's education.)

Right, onto the footer then. Recently we have seen the glorious orange soldiers march right up there into number one, and although a glance at the table this morning puts us in 4th place I am confident that by the end of the day we will have reclaimed our rightful position. Also, after the bitter disappointment of last year's Nabisco cup final, I can't say I have any objections to thumping Oita and helping them on their way to J2.

Yesterday was a good day in J1 as far as S-Pa are concerned, Osaka and Hiroshima drawing stopped either team really gaining any ground and Jubilo holding Kashima to 0-0 certainly didn't do us any harm. I couldn't quite bring myself to want Jubilo to win - everyone tells me I should do as they are a "Shizuoka team" but honestly, I'm from Glasgow and old habits die hard - so draws all round were most pleasing. Unfortunately Omiya weren't able to keep Frontale back, but never mind. As long as we get our three points today everything will be just shiny.

Recent form has been good - well, last week's game in the Emperor's Cup was a little slow, but with the stars of the show off on international duty these things can't be helped. We picked it up and Nishibe even managed to keep a clean sheet, despite some hairy moments when he failed to actually catch the ball. Still, Kaito should be back today protecting our goal and if Mr Okazaki would like to score a couple of those crackers he got mid-week against Togo then I will be a very happy woman, and will continue to hound my husband to let me call the baby Shinji if it's a boy.

Come on S-Pulse, WE BELIEVE - let's win today and win the league!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Japan 5-0 Togo - Okazaki Grabs Three (Again)

BarryBarry writes:

In the final match of 2009's Kirin Challenge Cup series, Japan walked all over Togo in one of the most one-sided international games I've seen for a long time. The final score of five to nothing could easily have been seven or eight. From an S-Pulse fan's point of view, the news of the night came as Okazaki scored a second hattrick in two games. After being rested for the 2-0 defeat of Scotland on Saturday, Okachan roared back into the national team and took his international tally up to fourteen.

All three goals had his own unique Okachan mark stamped all over them, with the second especially a finish of pure class:



Full Highlights



With Shinji in such pulsating form, I'm hoping he can get another couple next Sunday away at Oita to keep our title push on track.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

S-Pulse 2-0 Sagawa Printing (Emp Cup Rnd 2)

BarryBarry writes:
S-Pulse 2-0 Sagawa Printing
Hara 46
Marcos Paulo 82

Att. 5341

Line Up

GK Nishibe

DF Ichikawa
DF Hiraoka
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Fujimoto
MF Honda
MF Ito
MF Hyodo

FW Johnsen
FW Hara

Subs used

Marcos Paulo on for Hyodo (61)
Yamamoto on for Ito (68)
Kijima on for Johnsen (84)

Report

Nihondaira was bathed in beautiful October sunshine as S-Pulse progressed to the Emperor's Cup 3rd round without ever really moving out of 2nd gear. The result was a nice little present on the day I turned 25 for the seventh time.
Best view in the league, surely?

A not-too-depleted team took to the field today against Kyoto's Sagawa Printing. The holes created by national call ups for Kaito, Iwashita and Okazaki were ably filled by Nishibe, Hiraoka and Hara respectively. After a rather patchy first half, (which didn't go unnoticed by the faithful behind the goal) we eventually strolled to a comfortable 2-0 victory.

With Kaito off with the national team, Nishibe was in goal

Hara opened our scoring not long after the restart with a brilliant individual goal. The Sagawa defence just couldn't deal with his speedy run deep into the penalty area, and he smashed the ball home with a great finish.

We played well within ourselves for most the remainder of the game, only very occasionally feeling anything close to a threat by the visitors. That said, we had to wait till the 82nd minute to put the game to bed. The second came from Paulo after he'd come on as a 61st minute sub. The big man was there to knock home a shot which the keeper could only parry and it takes his total tally with us up to two. He really enjoyed it, and I'm glad I was there to see it!

A rare goal for Paulo - enjoyed by all!
The win takes us through to the 3rd round to be played October 31st at 1pm when we'll face Consadore Sapporo (victims of Paulo's other goal) at home for a place in the last sixteen. The winner will face the victor of Kobe vs Kyoto. It was far from a testing game today, and a comfortable win, but let's be grateful it was. Several J. League teams were knocked out by non-league or university team opponents, including Tokyo Verdy, Urawa Red Diamonds and Tokushima Vortis. All part of the magic of the cup, and a reminder to take every game seriously!

A (slightly harsh) yellow for their number 9

Next home game is in the league in a fortnight against FC Tokyo. This will probably sell out, so if you're thinking of going, get your tickets early!

Videos etc


Courtesy of YouTube user ssnnddttyy who captured the game on their personal cam, here are both our goals. Hara's opener, not long after the break:



Paulo's goal. You can see how much he enjoyed it!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Japan 6-0 Hong Kong - Okazaki Grabs Three

BarryBarry writes:
In a qualifier for 2011's Asian Cup, S-Pulse legend Shinji Okazaki scored a hat-trick as the national team brushed aside Hong Kong 6-0. Tonight's haul brings Shinji's international goals up to eleven in seventeen games, and nicely marks the anniversary of his first international cap one year ago against the UAE.

Legend
The game was held at Nihondaira, Okachan's home turf, and a sold out crowd roared the Samurai Blues on to an easy victory. For full details of Japan's 2011 Asian Cup qualifying campaign, and the other goal scorers from tonight, click here.

Japan have two more games coming up, with Saturday's Kirin Cup game against Scotland sure to pose a harder test than Hong Kong. Best of luck, Shinji, and remember to keep those scoring boots on for the final six games of the season!

Full highlights:

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Kashima lose again - S-Pulse top

BarryBarry writes:
Well, well, well.

Kashima lose 1-0 at home to Albirex Niigata and our first place position remains intact. The Antlers, who were ten points clear not so long ago, are now second. We have the same number of points, but their goal difference has taken a hammering over their recent shockingly bad run. Out of their last seven, they've lost six.
All over
Should have stayed at S-Pulse, mate
Wondering where their ten point lead went

The remaining 16 minutes of the abandoned Kashima vs Kawasaki game will take place on Wednesday, and if Kawasaki can hold onto their 3-1 lead Kashima will have lost eight - twice as many as us. It's going to be an interesting last six games!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

S-Pulse 1-1 Hiroshima

BarryBarry writes:

S-Pulse 1-1 Hiroshima
Okazaki 44---------------- Sato 29

Att: 18205

Line Up

GK K. Yamamoto

DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Arata
DF Ota

MF Edamura
MF Honda
MF Ito
MF Hyodo

FW Johnsen
FW Okazaki

Subs used

Fujimoto on for Edamura (57)
M. Yamamoto on for Honda (78)
Hara on for Hyodo (82)

Report

We are top of the league, said we are top of the league!

Yeah, well, it's only for a day, but it's been a while. Kashima will reclaim top spot tomorrow if they avoid defeat at home to Niigata, but for now, there's only one team in first place in J1, and that's us. :)

I had no idea what was going on here

Shizuoka had been wet pretty much all week, but praise the football Gods, at 11am this morning the clouds parted and a gorgeous sunny day was the reward for the 18000+ fans who rocked Nihondaira. They had a fast paced (for the most part) game to enjoy with plenty of shots peppering each goal, but the majority, myself included, went home kicking themselves. If we'd made more of our chances we're not only be top, we're be two points clear.
The rain cleared and turned into a beautiful day

Oh, well. I'm not complaining too much. Hiroshima are good, and a hard team to play against. When they have hold of the ball they are not about to give it up easily. If it meant passing it back and forward across their back four till our players (and fans) started falling asleep, then that's what it meant. The moment we grew sick of this private kickabout and committed ourselves, the ball was hoofed 70 metres up the field to their number 14 or 10 who would instigate an attack. To be fair, this style worked, and we had trouble gaining control of the game for most of the first half.
A great away following given the distance, and a rather lovely flag

This was the major theme of the day's play, and it produced a goal for the visitors after half an hour. After the long ball upfield, a good, low cross was played deep into the six yard box and was met by Sato who put it away. Kaito was unlucky not to get down in time to block the shot and it squirmed under him into the back of the net. There was a hint of offside, but that was according to Iwashita, and it's not down to him, sadly. 1-0 to the away team, but it's been nearly a decade and half since Hiroshima beat us at Nihondaira, so they must have known the game was far from over.
A Sanfrecce free kick which came to nothing
Our equaliser came from hero, legend, and all round God-like striker Shinji Okazaki, who placed a header over the keeper and into the far corner with the type of skilled precision many players struggle to manage with their feet. Excellent finish. The second half was mostly ours, but we just couldn't breach their final line of defence. Johnsen went close when he beat the keeper to a cross, but a defender was on hand to clear it off the line.

We swarmed forward incessantly as the clock started running down, but it came to naught. The last chance came when Masaki received a ball in the box with, what appeared to me to be some time to control it before a shot, but he skied it with his first touch. Dang. :(

Next (after cup weekend) is Oita away in a fortnight. If we beat them they go down to J2 with five games remaining. Ouch. A kind of revenge for last year's Nabisco Cup, I guess, but we need to win it to maintain out title challenge and for no other reason. We're top, we're unbeaten in 13 and we have three players off with the national team this week. Things are pretty bloody bright for S-Pulse right now, but now let's get on with the final push to glory - three points in Kyushu, please!

Videos etc

Official pictures here. Full highlights:



And just so you can feel the atmosphere of A Zone, here's Okazaki's equaliser from a personal cam:



The mood was far from downcast at the end despite two points eluding our grasp:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Okazaki, Iwashita, Kaito Called Up

BarryBarry writes:

The twenty-eight man squad for the Japan national team's three upcoming games was announced today. Japan are set to face Hong Kong (Oct 8th @ Nihondaira) in a qualifier for the 2011 Asian Cup, and Scotland (Oct 10th @ Nissan Stadium), and Togo (Oct 14th @ Miyagi), in 2009's Kirin Cup.

In addition to Okazaki, Kaito Yamamoto and Keisuke Iwashita have been reward for excellent seasons with their first full national team call ups. As a result, all three will be unavailable for our Emperor's Cup 2nd round game with Sagawa Printing on October 11th.

Their inclusion comes as no surprise to any S-Pulse fan who has watched them both grow in stature and experience as the season has gone on. Both have been instrumental in our 12 game unbeaten run, and have been frequently praised on these pages, so we're made up to see them join their team-mate Okachan in the dark blue of Japan. Good luck, fellas!

The squad in full:


GK:
Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale)
Kaito Yamamoto (SHIMIZU S-PULSE)
Shusaku Nishikawa (Oita Trinita)

DF:
Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F.Marinos)
Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Urawa Red Diamonds)
Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata)
Yuki Abe (Urawa Red Diamonds)
Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers)
Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo)
Yuhei Tokunaga (FC Tokyo)
Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo)
Keisuke Iwashita (SHIMIZU S-PULSE)
Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers)

MF:
Shunsuke Nakamura (RCD Espanyol)
Hideo Hashimoto (Gamba Osaka)
Junichi Inamoto (Stade Rennes)
Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka)
Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale)
Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble Foot)
Naohiro Ishikawa (FC Tokyo)
Makoto Hasebe (Vfl Wolfsburg)
Keisuke Honda (VVV Venlo)

FW:
Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus)
Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata)
Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe)
Shinji Okazaki (SHIMIZU S-PULSE)
Takayuki Morimoto (Catania)

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Hasegawa Contract Extended to 2010

BarryBarry writes:
It was announced today that manager Kenta Hasegawa has had his contract with the club extended to cover the 2010 season. After taking over in 2005, Kenta has guided us to three top five finishes in a row, and we're looking poised for a serious assault on the championship as this season searches it's climax.

Shimizu born, former player Kenta has managed a total of 218 competitive games with us, winning 101, drawing 53 and losing 64. It's great to have this cleared up, so the man himself can get on with the job in hand - sending us into the ACL next year, hopefully with a first J. League title under our belts!