S-Pulse 3-2 Nagoya
Own goal 4 ---------------- Taguchi 11
Takagi 45+2 --------------- Danilson 86
DF Jong a Pin (61)
FW Takagi (69)
FW França (87)
Shirasaki on for Ishige (67)
A very hard fought victory against very tough opposition. Our incredible victory at Mizuho on Wednesday would have fired up Nagoya even more than normal, and the opening half especially felt everything like a local derby. Hell, there were more visiting fans than jubilo have managed in recent seasons. A pulsating game, both teams attacking, hard challenges flying in (Nagoya with 7 yellows), and most importantly, goals.
We were without Yoshida through injury and Muramatsu who is on his way back from London, so a rearranged starting 11 was required again. Nagoya were also missing Nagai (Olympics) and Kennedy (injured), so with both teams without two key players it levelled the playing field somewhat.
Nagoya, with those two players back, will not finish midtable. And neither will we. We've turned a corner with that win away at league leaders Hiroshima. Then that heroic league cup performance in Aichi raised everybody's spirits, and today we displayed our guts and work rate to overcome 2010's champions for the second time in a week, putting 7 goals past them in the process.
Sugiyama is coming into his own and will probably play a part next season. Given his massive importance in 2010, creating a team that can stand on it's own merits and win games without Ono has always been a priority, and we're pretty much there. I'm fairly sure this will be Shinji's last year for us, and possibly his last year as a pro. He is still class through and through, but who will be willing to pay those not inconsiderable wages for a player with increasing injury problems? Whatever happens, best to luck to him.
This win was all about hard work and fight, and our young team (Omae, Ishige, Shirasaki, Lee and Takagi all 22 or under, and all played vital parts) gave us very encouraging signs for the future. Next up is this year's surprise package Sagan Tosu. Away at the wonderful Best Amenity Stadium, which wouldn't look too out of place in the Premier League. I won't be there, but will endeavour to watch it on the box and tweet my manic and frantic tweets to keep you all updated. If you don't follow me, please do. @spulseukultras
As you probably know by now, Jymmy França announced that this game was his last in orange. In a short but eventful spell, he won over many fans and will be missed. The news comes just as he was starting to find his stride, but this was a decision probably taken a while ago. Jymmy's exit can only mean one thing - a new forward coming in, most likely a foreigner. Watch this space, or better yet, our Twitter, to learn who he is as soon as we do.
Thanks for the memories Jymmy, and the very best of luck wherever the game takes you next!
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