Sunday, 27 October 2013

Jubilo Iwata 0-1 S-Pulse


Jubilo Iwata 0-1 S-Pulse
---------------------------------------------- Omae 80

Att 12467
Yamaha Stadium, 4pm
Iwata city, Shizuoka prefecture

Line Up

GK Kushibiki

DF Hiraoka
DF Sugiyama
DF Muramatsu

MF Ishige
MF Honda
MF Yoshida
MF Omae

FW Radoncic
FW Ito
FW Takagi

Subs Used

Murata on for Takagi (18)
Okane on for Radoncic (89)
Takeuchi on for Murata (92)


"One free man defending his home is more powerful than ten hired soldiers."

What a game. What a derby. What a truly intense 90 minutes.

I've experienced few games as ferocious, hard fought and just genuinely competitive as today's Shizuoka Derby. It was everything we'd anticipated, with just the right level of needle between teams, and the perfect level of (for the most part) well behaved hostility between fans. Few Shizuoka Derby's have meant as much, with a loss for Iwata ensuring they would be left with an all but impossible task to stay in J1. Given they have won just three games all season, after the first 15 minutes you'd have been forgiven for mistaking them for a different team. This is one game Iwata did not want to lose, and they played with desire almost visibly oozing from their pores.

We were perhaps taken initially aback by the speed and will with which they took the game to us, but after steadying the ship, and regrouping after Takagi's unfortunate early exit to injury, we matched them. That was no mean feat, and well worthy of credit. I hope to watch the entire game again at some point as it was so breathless I struggle to recall with too much clarity the exact flow of events, but one thing I can say with conviction is that when our goal finally came, it was well deserved. Both teams would have scored two or three but for some frantic, at times heart stopping, defending and goalkeeping. Perhaps a penalty was going to be the only way the net would be found.

Got to give some credit to the referee Koichiro Takushima who had arguably the hardest task of anyone on the pitch. A packed stadium screaming at everything he did, and 22 players going at each other full pelt. He did a good job of keeping a lid on things when they threatened to boil over. I've seen others lose control and start throwing cards around, but the man with the whistle played well.

The stadium was a cauldron and when the goal finally arrived it set up a climax even more frantic than the preceding 80 minutes. My nerves, which were running riot already, were pushed over the limit. The away stand was cramped, overcrowded, with an incline steeper than most. It added to the sense of being behind enemy lines, and the feeling of all being in it together was palpable. The closing stages passed in a blur of flags, sweat, samba, swears, and cheers. When it was at last all over, the party could start. Extended kachiloco, Jubilo's own victory song sang at them, Kingdom Shimizu belted out once more and a wall of J2 related banners to rub in the reality that Iwata are all but down.

As for the banners, security had been trying (unsuccessfully) to confiscate them all game, and there has been a lot of reaction on social media against such flags as those shown below. Personally, I didn't see anything in bad taste to warrant such zealous policing (not by actual police, you understand. There weren't any there). Giving each other grief is the name of the game on derby day, and by the reaction of some you would think personal attacks on players or fans had been made. Neither was the case. I've only seen that once in 10 years following S-Pulse (by Iwata fans, funnily enough).

But, enough about that. It's a lot of hoo ha over nothing. It added a bit of spice to the night certainly, but ultimately it's no more than a bit of banter. If there's any Iwata fans genuinely upset, saddened or have had their faith in S-Pulse fans shaken by a few J2 jibes, I'd be happy to buy them a beer and encourage, no demand, they do the same when the tables are inevitably turned some point in the future.

Well, this week's report is a bit of a mess, but for me that's how the day was. A jumble of nerves, flags, singing, swears, sweat, laughter and tears. I can't accurately convey just what it was like to spend 90 minutes within that heaving mass of orange behind the goal, the eruption when we scored, the celebrations when we won, all shot through with the sense of a historical occasion playing out in front of us. It's perhaps my most memorable derby day, even more so than the 5-1 at Nihondaira in 2009, and that is saying a lot.

Thank you Afshin Ghotbi and thank you S-Pulse for giving us a memory to last a lifetime.

Kingdom Shimizu!

 No love lost whatsoever
 This seemed to upset a few people. When did people get so damn sensitive? (Flipped in Photoshop)
 That lot
Yamaha much improved by the opening of the new home end
The away end was cramped, oversold and dangerously overcrowded
 Taken off Twitter. Awesome display by the travelling support
Again from Twitter. J2bilo. Cheeky. :)



Longer, but a bit shaky, highlights can be found here. Personal video of Genki's penalty. Alternative here.

Kachiloco! Damn, this was a good one. :)

Singing their song and name to wind them up, followed by waving them goodbye.

Our heroes get a wonderful send off after the game.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

S-Pulse 6-4 Sagan Tosu


S-Pulse 6-4 Sagan Tosu
Ito 6, 22, 88 --------------- Kim Min-Woo 2, 53
Sugiyama 33 ------------- Toyoda 15
Omae 42 ------------------- Hayasaka 45+4
Hiraoka 79

Att 11846
Nihondaira Stadium, KO 3pm
Shizuoka city, Shizuoka prefecture

Line Up

GK Kushibiki

DF Hiraoka
DF Jong-a-Pin (23)
DF Sugiyama

MF Muramatsu
MF Ishige
MF Kawai (56, 66)

FW Ito
FW Omae
FW Murata
FW Takagi

Subs used

Takeuchi on for Murata (64)
Yoshida on for Takagi (84)
Okane on for Sho (89)


S-Pulse, you never fail to surprise me.
Not a scoreline you see everyday

If there such a thing as perfect game, this might not have been too far off. From the supporter's point of view at least, this has nearly everything you need to make it a Saturday afternoon not to forget. Drama, cards, action and goals. Boy, were there goals. After half an hour we were 3-2 up having been behind twice, and that was only half the story. By the time we sat down at 5:50pm, dazed but happy, the net had been found five more times. Let us recap in Tweet form.

0m Here we go! A grey and drizzling Nihondaira, but the stands are burning bright orange. Come on S-Pulse! Kick off! 

2m Goal for Sagan! Bollocks!

4m Third time this year we've conceded in the first 2 minutes.

5m We won the other two times, by the way. #webelieve

6m 1-1! Sho Ito with a bullet from the edge of the area. #f*ckme!

15m 2-1 to Sagan.

22m 2-2!! Ito Sho from a corner! #expletive

23m Jong a Pin gets a Jellow. Out for the derby. #doubleexpletive

33m 3-2! Our third, poked in from a corner by Sugiyama!

42m 4-2! Omae Genki slams it home from a Murata cross after a counter attack.

45+4m 4-3. On the stroke of half time Sagan Tosu pull one back.

HT Can I catch my breath? 4-3 at half time in a fantastic game of football.

46m 2nd half underway. 7 more goals?

53m 4-4.

61m 5-4 to Tosu... but no! It came back off the inside of the post!

66m Kawai sent off. 20m to go. 4-4. Down to 10 men.

79m 5-4!! Hiraoka nods in from point blank range after a throw wasn't dealt with.

88m 6-4! 10 men! We've only got 10 men! Ito Sho Hattrick!

FT Shimizu S-Pulse 6-4 Sagan Tosu. I need a cup of tea and a sit down. 

As far as memorable matches go, it was right up there with the Kashima game two months ago.We had a couple of enforced changes what with Honda and Radončić out through suspension, but it allowed us to experiment a little and make use of our depth. In particular Kawai and Ito made appearances, not to mention Murata also got a start. With Takagi, Murata and Omae all on the pitch we were as attacking as we've been at any point this season. Sho Ito was the icing on that cake, and he rewarded the boss's faith with a hattrick of some quality.

The first half was a goal rush, but after the break both teams came out determined to settle things down. We especially worked hard to contain Toyoda, and that was a big factor in ensuring the visitors didn't repeat their three goal haul. They only added one, while we went one better, both times with only ten men. Certainly Tosu were pushing for the winner, but we hit them with a couple of sucker punches. Firstly from Hiraoka darting in to nod home a Jong a Pin throw, and secondly with two minutes to go, Ito broke free to put the game beyond doubt.

Negatives are of course four goals conceded at home, but more immediate is the loss Jong a Pin for next Sunday's derby. The Dutchman's absence will necessitate some shuffling of the back line to cover, so we may see a return of Lee Ki-Je or Yoshida to the starting line up. Utility man Kawai will also be out after his two yellows yesterday, so Iwata will be looking toward that news with hope. And they will be needing all the hope they can get, because after they lost again yesterday, on Sunday we can relegate them. Yes, you read that right.


With five games remaining, Iwata sit 10 points off Kofu in the safety zone. Kofu host FC Tokyo at 1pm, and if they win that game, Iwata will be 13 points adrift with only 15 still to play for. Meaning, if we beat them, THEY ARE DOWN.

Regardless of what happens in Yamanashi, a win for us will leave Jubilo in grave danger. They'll probably go down one way or the other, but if it works out that we're the team to do confirm it, it'll be a day unlike any other in the history of the Shizuoka Derby. As it stands it's going to be a derby day unlike any other so far played, and more than enough pay back for our little hiccup in March.

Well, that's a week away, so until then, try to focus on work, family, girlfriends and whatever else you do to fill the gaps between football matches. I know it's dull, but what can you do, eh? Roll on The Derby!!


All out goals in slow motion (no sound).

Highlights taken off a TV.

Monday, 14 October 2013

S-Pulse 3-2 Zweigen Kanazawa (Emp Cup 3rd Rnd)


S-Pulse 3-2 Zweigen Kanazawa
Omae 45+1 --------------- Awatari 20
Takagi 90, 95 ------------- Sato 91 

Att. 4609
Nihondaira Stadium, KO 3pm
Shizuoka city, Shizuoka prefecture

Line Up

GK Kushibiki

DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Hiraoka
DF Ishige
DF Kawai

MF Hattanda
MF Sugiyama (77)
MF Muramatsu
MF Takeuchi

FW Radončić
FW Omae

Subs used

Honda on for Muramatsu (61)
Takagi on for Hattanda (61)


A classic cup tie. Classic in the sense that the underdogs came our roaring (if dogs roared) and the J1 hosts were put in their place as a result. Not even 5000 in Nihondaira against JFL opposition, you can see how we may have had trouble getting ourselves up for this one. Kanazawa on the contrary were all set for a rare game in a top flight stadium and more than motivated. Their early pressure soon paid off with a tidy strike from a corner, and only then did we seem to wake up.

Chances were coming, and when on the back foot Kanazawa were making all kinds of errors, but it was all just a bit too sloppy. The first half stoppage time equaliser was certainly warranted, coming moments after Genki had hit the post. 1-1 was fair at the break, but for all our possession in the second 45, at no point did Kanazawa look out of it. The introduction of Honda and Takagi had a big impact, and that's one of the major differences in J1 and JFL. The big guns will have quality waiting to come on from the bench.

Honda made an impact straight away making a double challenge to prevent a very real goal scoring opportunity for Kanazawa. Up the other end Takagi was doing what he does best, running at defenders, unsettling the opposition and crafting chances. It was in the last minute that he made enough space to rattle off a shot from the edge of the box, and at 2-1 with just stoppage time left to play, the game was won.

Except it wasn't. Not by a long way. Straight up the other end, and the unthinkable happened, an equaliser in the 91st minute for the visitors. The giant flags were out, blocking mine and other's views, so I'm yet to see it properly. Needless to say we weren't happy, but what can you do, but keep cheering the boys on. That we did for the next four minutes, certain that we were headed for extra time. Cue Takagi once more. With the very last action, and the very last kick, he swept it home from the right hand side of the area into the far side netting. Few can place it home from that angle better than him.

Not classic S-Pulse by any means, but a classic cup tie. We were making full use of our squad, rotating to rest legs, and giving Ishige more experience outside his usual position. Glad we avoided extra time, and the game gave those who went something to remember. So with that we're into the hat for the 4th round. To be drawn on Sunday, I believe.

 Kanazawa only have yellow or red kits, both deemed to clash with our orange
 Travelling support
Hideki Ishige
Full time

Taken from the TV with a camera, and don't show anything of the build ups to the goals, but better than nothing. Looks like a lot of fun behind the away goal when they equalised.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1 Shimizu S-Pulse


Hiroshima 3-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Shiotani 76 ------------/---------- Omae 71
Notsuda 79, 88

Att. 15512
Hiroshima Big Arch, KO 4pm
Hiroshima city, Hiroshima prefecture

Line Up

GK Kushibiki

DF Hiroka
DF Jong-a-Pin
DF Sugiyama

MF Muramatsu
MF Honda (22)
MF Ishige
MF Kawai

FW Omae (33)
FW Takagi
FW Radončić (20)

Subs Used

Murata on for Honda (56)
Takeuchi on for Takagi (90)
Ito on for Hiraoka (90)


And that is why Hiroshima won the league and look like defending their crown. The first half was very even and we largely matched the champions, but after the break, or more correctly, after we took the lead, the home team had us making mistakes and eventually their pressure paid off. Their first two goals were belters, but we should have done better to prevent them. Their third hit us as we pushed for an equaliser. Really disappointing after the first three quarters, but I can't have too many complaints about this result.

Positives to take is that, yeah, me matched the defending champions away from home for most the game. Radon went close several times, and generally we created chances. If I'm not mistaken Radončić and Honda both picked up 4th yellows in this game, so while they'll miss Sagan in a fortnight they'll be back for the derby.Tosu at home should be three points, and then the small business of the away derby. Long since sold out, it might, just might, be the game that relegates Iwata. That would be AMAZING.


Extended highlights.