S-Pulse 1-3 G. Osaka
Ito 9 ------------------------- Lee 32, 39
-------------------------------- Futagawa 52
GK K. Yamamoto
DF Iwashita (24)
MF Jong a Pin
MF Brosque (93)
FW Omae (34)
Muramatsu on for Tsujio (61)
Sugiyama on for Ota (67)
Takagi on for Edamura (77)
And that, as they say, is that. Another season all wrapped up and consigned to the history books. Well, a league season, anyway. The small business of the Emperor's Cup is merely getting started, and come December 17th we'll all be back at Nihondaira to take on JEF United for a place in the quarter finals. I think the J. League and Emperor's Cup would only benefit from a little mutual promotion. Rather than pretending the cup doesn't exist, if the league got behind the oldest competition in Japan a bit more I bet we'd see increased gates and greater interest generally.
Anyway. Gamba rolled into town needing a victory while hoping that both Kashiwa and Nagoya failed to win. In with a decent enough shout for the title, but around the hour mark, when it was evident both Kashiwa and Nagoya were on the way towards all three points each, this game rapidly became just another dead rubber.
A depleted S-Pulse (no Ono, no Ljungberg) started well. A rare (first time in six months or more) start for Ito Sho saw him score his first goal in orange. Only took him a year. We were the better team for a lot of the first half, but the visitors had to win and after a while found their feet. A couple of cock ups helped them on their way, but I felt like they were always going to win this.
That said, we were moving the ball around well at times and Ota, back at left back, was having a good game. He's been attracting interest from Europe recently, but I hope he goes nowhere for a while. Takahara also went close before half time, and only a fine save denied him.
After the break it felt a bit like we were just going through the motions, and I guess when you have nought to play for with all thoughts turned towards the cup, that's kind of inevitable. We never seemed to get a break and it played out 3-1. Well, that's it for J. League 2011, but with the last 16 of the cup to come don't be going anywhere! Still plenty more blood, sweat and tears to come this year in Japanese football.
A review of the S-Pulse league season will come over the next couple of weeks.
End of season ceremony
Ito scores a goal! No, seriously!