S-Pulse 4-0 Vegalta Sendai
Novakovic 68, 74
7pm, Nihondaira Stadium
Shizuoka city, Shizuoka prefecture
FW Takagi Y.
Novakovic on for Takaki (61)
Kaneko on for Omae (73)
Lee Ki-Je on for Kawai (79)
Tonight was just what we needed. The 4-0 scoreline tells some of the story, but not all of it. Big news aside from the four goals and clean sheet included a first J. League goal for Nagasawa (he got one in the Emperor's Cup a while back, however), successful debuts for both Takagi Y and Kaneko, and a return to action for left back Lee Ki-Je.
Nagasawa's header, albeit a totally free one, was taken perfectly. He was achingly unlucky not add a second when he crashed a shot against the bar in the second half. With only the keeper to beat, a little more composure would have seen him put in the bottom corner. He's certainly accomplished with his head, but seemed a little hesitant when he had the ball at his feet. That touch will come with time, though. He had a decent game, and his unselfishness saw him lay it off for Novakovic's second and our 4th.
Yoshiaki Takagi had a good debut, covering a lot of ground and himself hitting the woodwork at one stage. Kaneko came on for the final 15 minutes and put himself about. Happy to have a go, he sprayed a couple of shots at the Sendai goal, making his presence felt.
At 2-0 Sendai pushed incessantly up the pitch to try and get back into the game leaving them exposed on the counter time and again. Aside from twice hitting the post we might have had a couple more. We put in a good attacking performance and looked dangerous. The win puts us top of our group on goal difference. Our next Nabisco Cup game is April 2nd, when we welcome Kenta Hasegawa back to Nihondaira. He returns with his Gamba Osaka side which should prove a tasty face off.
Quick mention for Hiraoka, who often goes unsung as an indispensable part of our back four. He's grown immensely over the last few years and was his usual solid self tonight. He would definitely be missed.
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...