S-Pulse 2-0 Iwata
Nagai 38 -------------------Park sent off 79
M. Yamamoto on for Hyodo (75)
Hara on for Nagai (82)
Omae on for Fujimoto (84)
We comfortably beat Iwata at a packed Nihondaira Stadium to extend our run of unbeaten home fixtures against Jubilo into it's eighth year. The win leaves the Nabisco Cup group B looking like this:
So all we need to hope on Wednesday is that Yokohama don't win. In that case anything can happen in the Iwata v Yamagata game. If Yokohama win, then we'd need the Iwata game to end in a draw to progress. (Not entirely true - see comments.)
As for today, we were the better team; sharper and quicker to the punch than the visitors who, despite getting far enough forward on a number of occasions to shoot, they wouldn't have hit the target if they were still playing now.
Both our goals came from the height of Bosnar and Johnsen creating havoc in the Jubilo penalty area. Johnsen, who admittedly didn't have a great game, was still the main reason we took the lead shortly before the break. A nicely weighted freekick floated in by Ono (who was effortlessly world class again. Okada's unfathomable decision to exclude him from the national team is our gain) was met by the towering Frode. He nodded it into the danger zone, and after another flick on, it was met by Nagai. 1-0.
In the second half it was another freekick which was met by the two metre Bosanr. His powerful header brought a good save from Hatta in the Iwata goal, but it was too much for him to do anything other than parry, and Hiraoka was on hand to smash the rebound home.
Unquestionably helped by the sending off of Park, Jubilo never really looked like scoring, and Nishibe, save for one near catastrophic error of judgement in the first half, was solid as a rock. To be fair, he recovered well from his one mistake and went on to have a great game. As mentioned, Johnsen wasn't at his best with his first touch letting him down more than once, but we all have off days, and his strength in the air was instrumental today.
I'm tired and sunburnt, so I'm going to call it a day. Just before I do, hello to Ken - excellent to meet someone with such a strong English accent!
Now it's all about Wednesday...
Nagai's goal from a personal cam. A hint of the offsides about it to say the least.
Personal cam of Hiraoka's goal: