Category Archives: J.League Nabisco Cup 2009

[Match Report] Nabisco Cup Final FC Tokyo 2:0 (1:0) Kawasaki Frontale

2009 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Final
First Half
1- 0
Second Half

1- 0

Final
2 – 0

August 1st 2009, 2:09PM kickoff at “Kokuritsu” National Stadium (attendance 44,308)
GK 20 Shuichi Gonda
DF 25 Yuhei Tokunaga
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 6 Yasuyuki Konno
DF 33 Kenta Mukuhara
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 28 Takuji Yonemoto
MF 40 Tatsuya Suzuki
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
FW 24 Shingo Akamine
FW 13 Sota Hirayama
Starting Members
GK 1 Eiji Kawashima
DF 19 Yusuke Mori
DF 17 Kosuke Kikuchi
DF 2 Hiroki Ito
DF 26 Kazuhiro Murakami
MF 29 Hiroyuki Taniguchi
MF 18 Tomonobu Yokoyama
MF 14 Kengo Nakamura
FW 9  Chong Tese
FW 10 Juninho
FW 34 Renatinho
60′ 5 Yuto Nagatomo (for Akamine)
74′ 15 Daishi Hiramatsu (for Hanyu)
86′ Hideki Sahara (for Suzuki)
Substitutes 70′ 6 Yusuke Tasaka (for Murakami)
79′ 7 Masano Kurotsu (for Renatinho)
84′ 23 Kyohei Noborizato (for Yokoyama)
22′ Yonemoto
59′ Hirayama
Goals
58′ Yonemoto
62′ Hanyu
Cautions 24′ Yokoyama
Ejections

Report

In a season where fans have begun to express concern at the nearly regular showings of diving, complaining, and otherwise poor sportsmanship in the Japanese game, the soccer-kami sat up on their mountain, cracked open a tall can of Sapporo, and declared with a booming voice “on this day, at Kokuritsu, there shall be a good clean 90 minutes of championship-caliber soccer.”

And by Gods, they got it.

This year’s 3rd edition of the Tamagawa Classico played out on the national stage, in front of a sold-out crowd of over 44,000 at Tokyo’s National Stadium with many more watching nationwide on TV.  Supporters for both teams were as ready for combat as the players, with fans lining up throughout the frigid and sometimes rainy night.  We got to the campout at 5am and enjoyed some chatting with fellow supporters as well as delicious dolphin stew.  When the gates finally opened, Tokyo supporters streamed through the turnstiles to hunt for seats, quickly filling the home end of the stadium.  Kawasaki fans soon joined them, and both team’s supporters would complete gorgeous choreography displays suitable for such a grand arena.  But after all of the flag-waving, balloon blowing, and toilet paper throwing, the match finally began, and of course that’s what you’re here to read about, right?

Well, fuck that, let’s watch those tifos:

The game started with both teams attempting to gain control, and was pretty even in the first 15 minutes.  Kawasaki pressed with a couple close shots (including a close-range bullet from Juninho that flew over the crossbar for reasons that defied us at the time), but Tokyo despite their sloppy defensive play somehow fought back and showed that they would not be pushed around.  Then, 22 minutes in, Tokyo pressed with a counterattack that saw the ball fall in front of 18-year old Takuji Yonemoto, who had been awarded the J.League New Hero Award (given to an under-23 player for outstanding contribution to his team in the Nabisco Cup) the night before.  30 yards out and with players swarming around him, Yone did what comes natural to a young player with more balls than brains and shot a curving bullet that everyone expected to fly safely into the hands of Kawasaki’s keeper.

Until it went in and the home end erupted in cheers.

Yonemoto’s goal was a fitting sequel to that daisy cutter against Shimizu in the semi-finals, and it threw Kawasaki back on their heels while giving Tokyo the confidence needed to solidify its defense and push on offense.  This continued till the whistle to end the first half, which passed by in what seemed like a moment.

15 minutes later, both teams came out for the second half seemingly ready to outdo their first-half performance.  Kawasaki pushed hard, committing more men to the attack only to be denied each time as either Gonda or a swarm of Tokyo players practically threw themselves on top of the ball in an attempt to stop the Frontale attack.  The fans in the away end, sensing an opportunity to get back into the game, sang at an even greater volume than before.

Suddenly, a Kengo Nagamura free kick lead to a Tokyo counter with Suzuki and Hirayama screaming down the pitch.  As Kawasaki’s defenders caught up with them, Suzuki flipped the ball that Sota, whose last appearance on the national stage at Kokuritsu was as a high schooler, was waiting for.

The only thought that came to mind was “finally.”  Anyone who’s watched Hirayama play this season knows that he’s had a desire verging on obsessive to score on a header (going so far as to shave his head for aerodynamic purposes), and yet in each game and in each practice shot it appears that once the ball comes into contact with his glittering dome the rebound is almost magnetically attracted to the “anywhere but the goal” area.  Well, this day was different and Tokyo took a commanding 2-0 lead with but half an hour left in the match.

With a 2-goal cushion, Jofuku opted to reinforce defensively by bringing in Nagatomo (who started on the bench b/c of his shoulder) and Dashi Hiramatsu.  This defensive posturing allowed Kawasaki to press the attack in a series of crosses, volleys, and corner kicks, each of which ended in a spectacularly heart-stopping moment as Tokyo’s supporters struggled to see where the ball was.  According to the official statistics Kawasaki took 17 shots in the game, but from where we were standing it seemed like they took 20 in the second half alone.  Crossbars were hit, Gonda was flying everywhere, and I recalled the highlights I’ve seen of Tokyo’s stunning effort against Urawa 5 years ago with each player exerting everything they had to stop the ball.  Yonemoto was everywhere at once, stealing balls from Juninho and Tese and showing why he was the New Hero.  Hiramatsu gave Frontale a free kick minutes after coming on after a hard tackle to stop a Kawasaki drive.  And so it continued, punctuated only by a swift counterattack that should have been a 3rd goal as both Nagatomo and Suzuki failed to find an open net.  Jofuku completed the defensive alignment by subbing out Suzuki for Hideki Sahara, but by then the wind had left the Frontale sails.  Kawasaki pushed, Tokyo didn’t break, and after a surprising 4 minutes of extra time the referee sounded the final whistle, bringing an end to 90 minutes of dive-free, hard-fought soccer and giving Tokyo its first championship in 5 years.  And the soccer-kami smiled.

The MVP award was, unsurprisingly, awarded to Takuji Yonemoto, making him the youngest player to win the Cup MVP; he gets one million yen (US$11,000) and bragging rights for the rest of his life.

Many more photos and video to come in a separate post, including the post-game victory rally at Ajinomoto Stadium.  For now a hearty congratulations to my fellow supporters and a tip of the hat to Kawasaki’s supporters and players.  It seems that the post-game conduct of Frontale’s players has sparked a bit of controversy, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that they played a fantastic match.  Tokyo just played more fantastically, and are deservedly your 2009 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Champions.

[Match Preview] 2009 J.League Nabisco Cup Final: FC Tokyo vs Kawasaki Frontale

November 3rd 2009, 2PM Kickoff at National Stadium “Kokuritsu” (Shinjuku, Tokyo)

J1 Competition Record: FCT 5 wins, 5 draws, Kawasaki Frontale 6 wins

The long, winding road of intra-league supremacy that began in March will finally come to an end at Tokyo National Stadium in about 16 hours when FC Tokyo takes on Kawasaki Frontale in the 2009 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Final.  The two teams, whose matches are dubbed the Tamagawa Classico in honor of the river that borders Tokyo and Kanagawa, will face each other outside of league competition for the first time.

While Kawasaki will attempt to claim its first Cup in 3 attempts (having lost to Kashima in 2000 and Osaka in 2007), Tokyo will try to win its first piece of silverware since the legendary 2004 Nabisco Cup Final, when a 10-man team held off the then-mighty Urawa Reds to win 4:2 in penalty kicks.

While Kawasaki is largely coming into the game at full-strength and leading J1, Tokyo has nearly stumbled into this final having sustained an unfortunate run of bad luck, injuries, and surprise transfers.  Among the players Tokyo will be without are striker Cabore (sold to a Qatar club just after Tokyo secured its finals birth), defender Teriyuki Moniwa (broken right orbital bone sustained in the Nagoya match), and midfielder Naohiro Ishikawa (knee ligament/meniscus sustained vs. Kashiwa).  NT regular Yuto Nagatomo (dislocated shoulder before the Shimizu match) will likely be a mid-match substitute.

Yet, as we dwell on those whose names may not grace the scoreboard tomorrow, we forget the names and accomplishments of those who will: Shuichi Gonda, the rookie goalkeeper who fell into the role of starter when Hitoshi Shiota fell to post-surgical complications, and despite some early difficulties has had one of the most successful rookie goalkeeper campaigns in recent memory.  Takuji Yonemoto, the lithe midfielder who was, tonight, honored with J.League’s “New Hero Award” for his contributions to Tokyo’s Cup run.  Bruno Quadros, the Brazillian defender who bounced back from last season’s injuries to bring control to a defense that was lost and confused early in the season.  Sota Hirayama, whom after several seasons of disappointing play has finally begun to awaken into the player that many expected him to be.  Not to mention Hanyu, Suzuki, Tokunaga, Konno, Kajiyama, and all the others who have taken a part in Tokyo’s rollercoaster of a season.

In previous matches this season, Tokyo gave up a 2-goal lead to lose 3-2 when Bruno got sent off in the second half at Ajinomoto, while in Todoroki Kawasaki came back from an 0-1 deficit to win 2-1 with an extra time goal. Tokyo are considered by most if not all to be the underdogs tomorrow; there is no question about it.  But none of this matters, because that’s why they play the game.

This match will either be decided on offense or on defense; will Suzuki, Akamine, or Hirayama be able to burst open a Kawasaki defense ranked 5th in fewest goals allowed this season (35 goals, tied with FC Tokyo)?  Can Yonemoto and Bruno contain Juninho and Chong Tese?  Will Kajiyama stop doing stupid, stupid things?  Will Tokyo ever learn how to defend against set pieces?  Most believe it to be a close game, and I’m generally apt to agree with them.  A 1-0 or 2-1 result would not be unexpected.  Lord knows if we go into extra time I’ll probably have a heart attack in the stands.

As Jofuku has said in interviews leading up to this match, “We’ve only gotten as far as we have by playing the kind of soccer we want to play.”  And as always, if the team can do that, they along with what are likely to be many more supporters than witnessed their 2004 victory will taste victory.  If by chance they cannot there will be no shame, for this team has met if not exceeded many of our expectations despite runs of bad luck throughout the season.

Really, there’s no description of what this match will be like that’s more fitting than the ad FujiTV placed on the back of today’s El Golazo: “What sort of soccer match sells out in 20 minutes?”

What sort of match, indeed?

As always you can follow @aishiterutokyo on Twitter for live reports.  I encourage anyone else who’s tweeting at the game to tag your tweets with #wearetokyo so that people can find them easier.

Also, for those of you watching on TV, these are the banners we’ll be flying at the game:

I will provide a prize to the first person who can provide a screencap from a live broadcast with at least one of these banners in the shot.  Email the cap to me at dokool[at]aishiteru-tokyo[dot]com.

And now to finish my packing and get some sleep before first train in the morning.

VAMOS!

News Digest: Fujiyama, Ishikawa, Sold Out Games, and Nabisco Cup!

Player News:

-In the hopes that he can possibly return before the end of the season, Naohiro Ishikawa has been recieving rehabilitation treatment at the team’s Kodaira training facility.  The star midfielder has received countless letters of support including many from non-Tokyo supporters.  Nao is scheduled to have a followup checkup on the 28th and the team will release details of his injury that day.

-Tokyo veteran Ryuji Fujiyama, who has been with the team for 16 years (extending back to the Tokyo Gas era), will be released following the 2009 season.  The team has apparently offered Fujiyama a coaching position, but, in his words, “I intend to keep playing until my body falls apart.”

-Yuto Nagatomo rejoined the team in practice this week and is expected to start against Shimizu on Sunday.

-In the last week Touchuu (the FC Tokyo edition of Chunichi Sports) has ran articles claiming that Tatsuya Suzuki, Naotake Hanyu, and Sota Hirayama are all ready/willing to fill the goal-scoring gap left by Ishikawa.  Where were they all season…?

Ticket News:

It appears that FC Tokyo may play up to 4 consecutive sold out J.League games in the next month:

-Tomorrow’s match against Shimizu sold out as of Thursday (10/23)

-the Nabisco Cup Final has long been sold out

-The team announced earlier this week that the lower bowl of Ajinomoto has been sold out for the 11/8 matchup versus Urawa

-Visitor end tickets for the late-November tie against Chiba sold out within minutes upon going on sale Friday.

And this morning the ‘remaining’ tickets went on sale for the Nabisco Cup (pretty much all credit card-only); I nearly got a ticket but Visa fucked things up and so no SB ticket for me (which if one looks at the prices at scalper shops, I could have sold for enough profit to pay for tomorrow’s trip to Shimizu).  Me? Bitter.  Somewhat.  In fact very.  But see below.

Note that this doesn’t include the 11/11 Emperor’s Cup Game, which takes place on a Wednesday night in Nagasaki and will attract maybe a couple dozen Tokyo supporters.  Seriously, JFA, knock this neutral venue bullshit off.

Nabisco Cup News:

-J’s Goal is getting choreography fans pumped up with a 6-year retrospective of pre-game tifos.  Y’all know I love this shit.

-Dunno what LA12’s tifo display will be but ours (as in me and previous special reporter Andre) will be awesome.  Pics this week, hopefully!

-Design tickets are in the mail!  Here’s my haul:

38093640

Original Design Ticket 4x, FC Tokyo ticket lottery allotment 2x, SOCIO allotment 1x.  These are all going for at least 6-7,000 yen each on the open market, but I am being a good supporter and giving them to friends at face value.  Because lord knows I’m immoral in every other way so I might as well make up for it 😉

News Roundup: Cabore's Departure, Nabisco Tickets, Kyot

I'm a little busy so I've fallen behind on postings, here's the latest from Tokyo:
%%anc%%

-Cabore has officially signed with Qatar club Al Arabi, with a reported transfer fee of 500 million yen (roughly $5.5 million at the current exchange rate).  The club has offered a formal apology to fans for not being able to set up a proper farewell from the star forward, and he expressed his heartfelt thanks to the fans and support for the club in a message published on the team website.

-Nabisco Cup tickets went on sale on Saturday morning at 10AM and were completely sold out less than an hour later.  The stage is set for a packed house at Kokuritsu on November 3rd

-Tokyo lost 1-2 to Kyoto.  In addition Hirayama recieved his 4th yellow, meaning he will be out for the Gamba match.  Let's move on until I have time to compose all of my thoughts.

zp8497586rq
zp8497586rq

[Match Report] Nabisco Cup Semifinal Part 2 – FC Tokyo 1:0 Shimizu S-Pulse

J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Semifinal Part 2
First Half
1- 0
Second Half
0 – 0

Final
1 – 0

September 6th 2009, 6PM Kickoff at Ajinomoto Stadium (Chofu, Tokyo) Attendance 22,181
GK 20 Shuichi Gonda
DF 25 Yuhei Tokunaga
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 2 Teriyuki Moniwa
DF 33 Kenta Mukuhara
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 28 Takuji Yonemoto
MF 18 Naohiro Ishikawa
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
FW 9 Cabore
FW 13 Sota Hirayama
Starting Members
to be added
72' 40 Tatsuya Suzuki (for Hanyu)
80' 3 Hideki Sahara (for Hirayama)
82' 15 Daishi Hiramatsu (for Ishikawa)
Substitutes
17' Sota Hirayama Goals
Cautions
Ejections

Report

On a triumphant night at Ajinomoto Stadium, I… was in Shibuya, shooting PUNKAFOOLIC SHIBUYA CRASH.  I was fortunate enough, however, to catch the result right before I went to shoot dustbox, and as they say in the local parlance テンション上がった!  While being a Tokyo supporter comes with its ups and downs, such is the life of all soccer supporters, as similarly expressed by the chorus of dustbox's Hurdle Race:

Just like a hurdle race!
Gotta get over again and again.
Just like a hurdle race!
What's waiting for me!?

…okay, yeah, that's a bit of a stretch, but give me some credit for trying to tie it all together.

With this victory, FC Tokyo advances to its first Nabisco Cup final in 5 years, when it defeated Urawa in a much-storied penalty shootout to claim its only silverware in club history.  Tokyo's opponent will be Kawasaki Frontale, a team that has so far stymied Tokyo twice this season but faces one of the roughest schedules out of all J.League teams in the next month:
Sept. 12 — Antlers
19 — Urawa Reds
23 — Grampus (ACL)
26 — Gamba
30 — Grampus (ACL)

Yeah, wow, that's brutal.

In October, Kawasaki has to play against Yokohama FM, Omiya Ardija, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima, plus the Round 2 Emperor's Cup Match (I assume that their hypothetical Round 3 match, like Tokyo's, will be moved to November 11th due to their Cup Final appearance).  Additionally, should Kawasaki beat Nagoya in the ACL quarterfinal series, they would advance to the semifinals and play matches on the 21st and 28th of October.  While both of Kawasaki's prospective opponents are located in the Middle East, it appears that the 28th would be played at Kawasaki so there's less hope that the team will be horribly jet-lagged before the 3rd.

Anyway, while I can't personally report on the match, I've made friends this summer with Andre, a Canadian supporter of FC Tokyo who's spending nearly half a year travelling around Japan and seeing lots of FCT matches.  He was there on Sunday and so I've asked him to share his thoughts with our readership:

For those of us overseas cats who can only follow our favorite Asian squads via the internet, to actually be able to watch that favorite Asian squad reach a cup final, live, during your travels is a unique experience. I had the opportunity to sing, chant and scream as the Red and Blue won a convincing 1-0 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse last night at Ajinomoto. Having the advantage from the 2-2 draw on Wednesday night in Shimizu, Tokyo could have defended, sat back and hoped for the best. A draw, the better nil nil draw, would have seen the team back into the finals it won in 2004. And if you, like myself, watched how poorly the team played at the start of this campaign; not to mention the last several weeks before Oita, you can understand the collective sigh of relief many of us had after the final 4 minutes of stoppage time was whistled down. What needed to happen, and happen quickly was the return of Hirayama to form, as he has been having some extremely frustrating games as of late. The slump is officially over. A cross was met by Hirayama and found its way into the back of the net comfortably.  Hirayama was all smiles and cheers.  In replay it kinda looked like an S Pulse defender deflected it in the 50/50 between himself and Hirayama in the box, but who cares about such details. Tokyo was up 1-0, albeit fairly early in the game.

The rest of the match reflected how this series began at Shimizu and is ultimatly, I believe won us the the semi-final: defense. The defending was strong, more so than in last weeks' first leg. Bruno, my dear Bruno, was a menace on the back line preventing many a Shimizu attack. The most dangerous  player on Shimizu, and someone who Tokyo had a hard time dealing with on Wednesday was the big Norwegian Johnsen.  Frode was finally kept quiet by the Tokyo defenders last night. The chances went Tokyos' way for most of the match, with Cabore and Ishikawa having some difficulty in linking up, as opportunities were flying everywhere in the middle and late parts of the second half. Cabore was giving it his all and if what is rumoured turns out to be true, and this was Cabore`s final game for Tokyo, he went out flying. Ishikawa is still looking like he's trying way too hard to get back to where he left off before his injury, making silly errors, but he still looked fast and strong the only way Ishikawa can. What I liked, and it seemed that Jofoku gave the team the same advice at halftime, was to not let Shimizu dictate or pressure the game. There was a lot to lose during the match and Tokyo never allowed Shimizu to  bully or rally. Shimizu can be a difficult team to play,  playing particularly well before these semi-final legs in regular league play.

November 3rd is closer than you think, and with Kawasaki defeating Yokohama, this final is going to be something to write home about. I can hardly wait.

Andre

Thanks for the report, Andre!

If you haven't seen the sticky on the top of our website, you can go here for our special Nabisco Cup Ticket Info page.  For the next two months, look to Aishiteru Tokyo for the net's most comprehensive English coverage of FC Tokyo and their journey to Kokuritsu for the final battle against Tamagawa Clasico rivals Kawasaki Frontale.

zp8497586rq

NABISCO CUP FINAL – TICKET INFO

(this post will be stickied until the Cup Final or tickets sell out, whichever comes first.  Scroll down for the latest news!)

Want to support FC Tokyo in the Nabisco Cup Final?  Here's how to get a ticket to what is sure to be one of the fiercest Cup finals in recent memory:

First, mark your calendars:

2009 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Final

FC Tokyo vs. Kawasaki Frontale

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 (it's a national holiday)

Tokyo National Stadium (Kokuritsu)

2:05PM Kickoff

Want to be there yourself?  Here's the ticket info:

NOTE FOR ALL TICKET PURCHASES – FC TOKYO WILL BE ON THE 'HOME' SIDE OF THE STADIUM, SO DON'T FORGET TO SELECT 'HOME' FOR ANY TICKETS WHEN GIVEN THE OPTION.

SOCIO Season Ticket Holders

The club is mailing out information to season ticket holders on September 7th, 2009.  Fans can apply for their tickets between September 8th, 2009 at 10AM and September 23rd at 9PM.

-Fans who do not receive this information by September 11th, 2009 are encouraged to call the club at 03-3635-8985.

-Due to the difference in seating arrangements between Kokuritsu and Ajinomoto, the club has listed the seating conversions on this page.  I would hazard a guess that they are the same as a regular season match at Kokuritsu would be.

-At this time I have no clue what the pricing will be or if SOCIO members will get the “Original Design Ticket” (see below).

J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Original Design Ticket

Attendees of the semifinal matches on both sides received special 'Nabisco Cup Calendars' that include a special URL through which 'original design tickets' can be purchased through Ticket Pia.

You can get to that URL here.  The site does not open until tickets go on sale on Wednesday, September 9th 2009 12:00PM.

Notes:

-These tickets will only be available until September 30th or when their allotment has sold out, whichever comes first.  Some sections may sell out quicker than others.

-Payment may be made by credit card, conbini payment, Pay-easy, or internet banking.

-On the first day of sales (Sept 9th), tickets are limited to 4 tickets per person.

General Sales

General ticket sales begin on September 12th at 10AM.

-Tickets will be available through all places tickets are usually sold: conbinis (am/pm, Family Mart, Sunkus, Circle-K, 7-11, Lawsons), Ticket Pia shops, online ticket vendors, phone reservations, yadda yadda.

Ticket Pia Code (P-CODE): 814-716

-Lawson Ticket Code (L-CODE): 31227

-Prices: Free Seating 2000y, SB Zone (back stand) 3000y, SA Zone (back stand) 4000y, Family Pack (back stand) 4000y, S Zone (main stand) 4500y, SS zone (main stand) 6000y, Celebrate Seat (main stand) 8000y.

BECAUSE THIS MATCH WILL FEATURE TWO KANTO TEAMS WITH STRONG SUPPORT, TICKETS WILL LIKELY SELL OUT QUICKLY.  WANT TO GO? DO NOT HESITATE!

zp8497586rq

Halfway Home

Full report and photos from the wonderful Outsourcing Stadium are a bit delayed; I'm on my backup computer while my MacBook Pro gets some needed repairs before the 3-year warranty runs out next week and all of the photos are on my Mac-formatted RAID server
essay services

For now what you need to know is this: Tokyo tied Shimizu 2-2 in the away leg of the semifinal on Wednesday night and is coming home to a must-win (or at least must-scoreless-draw) situation.

The result was unfortunate as Tokyo pretty much blew a 2-1 lead up a man; this is as much an indictment of Tokyo's sloppy play in the second half as it is recognition of Shimizu's tenacity.  Oddly enough they scored when down a man against Tokyo in their Nabisco Cup Group Stage match as well, so this is a very unfortunate trend.  Bruno matched up well against Shimizu's big man Frode Johnsen in the first half, Kenta Mukuhara was not as effective in the second.

Yonemoto's goal was a shocker; he seems to have picked up a tendency to score goals he has no right to get.  But hell, I could think of worse habits.

Anyway I'm glad I made the trip out to Shimizu; their stadium is FANTASTIC and I recommend it to anyone who wants to check out a game in Japan.  Wonderful sight lines, beautiful backdrop, great concessions, superb atmosphere.  I even got to meet up with Barry over at S-Pulse UK Ultras; bringing my total of fellow J-Bloggers I've met up to 3 thus far.  We've got a tight little community going and I hope that the planned upgrades to the Rising Sun will help us spread the word even further.

But now we look ahead to Sunday; disappointingly I won't be able to attend the match (I've been given the chance to shoot a major punk festival in Shibuya and I can't turn that down no matter how deep my soccer loyalties lie) but I have high hopes that the fans at Ajinomoto can help the team carry through to the finals.  Here's the result breakdown:

Result – Consequence

Tokyo win (any score) – Tokiyo advances to Nabisco Cup Final
0-0 draw – Tokyo advances to Nabisco Cup Final (away goal rule)
1-1 draw – Tokyo advances to Nabisco Cup Final (away goal rule)
2-2 draw – Following the second half, teams play 30 minutes of extra time followed by penalty kicks if necessary
3-3 draw or higher – Shimizu advances to Nabisco Cup Final (away goal rule)
Shimizu win (any score) – Shimizu advances to Nabisco Cup Final

So as it is with most of these affairs, the safest way in is to win.  I think Tokyo is more than capable of doing so (especially if they play as they did in the first 45 minutes on Wednesday), but that's why they play the full 90 minutes.

As it is, Hirayama apparently caught a fever and has been bedrested for a day or so, whether or not he recovers by Sunday will be crucial.

zp8497586rq
zp8497586rq

Live from Shimizu!

Sorry about the last couple match reports being delayed; I've been really busy with the end of summer and getting ready to start work at my new job.  Additionally, due to a sizable photography gig on the 6th, I will not be able to attend the home leg of the FCT/Shimizu Nabisco Cup Semifinal.

Fortunately, due to a good day at the pachinko parlor, I've got more than enough funds to attend tomorrow's away leg.  So if you're on Twitter, follow @aishiterutokyo for the latest from Outsourcing Stadium.  I'll probably spend some time before the game chilling with Barry over at S-Pulse UK Ultras, and that should be fun as I always look forward to meeting other writers in the English J-Soccer Blogosphere.

Shimizu is 4 points ahead of us in the standings; we've also beaten them two times already this season.  None of this matters of course because this home-and-away series will determine who goes to the finals of the 2009 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup.

Additionally, with Nagatomo and Konno in the Netherlands with the national team, tomorrow's lineup will probably look something like this:

GK: Gonda
DF: Tokunaga, Bruno, Moniwa, Mukuhara
MF: Yonemoto, Kajiyama, Ishikawa, Hanyu
FW: Cabore, Hirayama

The most important thing for Tokyo will be scoring precious away goals; a win would be fantastic of course but even a draw would have huge ramifications as long as it's not 0-0.  The team seemed to awaken from its slumber against lowly Oita on Saturday and it was a welcome relief to see Ishikawa back on the field.  Tokyo seemed to have a bit of rust in the first 30 minutes but dominated the second half, so I think they'll be going into Shimizu with the right mentality.

S-Pulse has had a much better summer than Tokyo, going undefeated (5 wins, 4 draws) in league play since their loss at Kokuritsu.  Additionally, the Orange… whatevertheyares bounced back from a 2-1 loss at Saitama Stadium to beat Urawa 3-0 at home and advance to the semis.  They are certainly one of the most formidable teams in the league right now and to underestimate them is to do so at one's own peril.

Anyway this will be my 3rd time visiting a new stadium this year (2009 has also marked my first trips to Hitachi Stadium and Kashima Stadium), thus fulfilling one of my New Years Resolutions.  So, either way I'll have accomplished something!

zp8497586rq
zp8497586rq

Match Report: Nabisco Cup Quarterfinals Second Leg: Nagoya Grampus vs. FC Tokyo

Nabisco Cup Quarterfinals Second Leg: Nagoya Grampus vs. FC Tokyo
First Half
1 – 0

Second Half
1 – 1

Final
2 – 1

July 29th 2009, 8PM Kickoff at Mizuho Athletic Stadium (Mizuho, Nagoya) Attendance 6,463
GK 30 Koichi Hirono
DF 32 Hayuma Tanaka
DF 3 Milos Bajalica
DF 4 Maya Yoshida
DF 6 Shohei Abe
MF 10 Yoshizumi Ogawa
MF 14 Keiji Yoshimura
MF 13 Kei Yamaguchi
MF 19 Keita Sugimoto
FW 17 Yuki Maki
FW 16 Joshua Kennedy
Starting Members
GK 1 Hitoshi Shiota
DF 33 Kenta Mukuhara
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 6 Yasuyuki Konno
DF 5 Yuto Nagatomo
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
MF 40 Tatsuya Suzuki
MF 27 Sotan Tanabe
FW 9 Cabore
FW 24 Shingo Akamine
55' 18 Tomohiro Tsuda (for Keiji Yoshimura)
62' 28 Taishi Taguchi (for Keita Sugimoto)
83' 26 Masaya Sato (for Kei Yamaguchi)
Substitutes 55' 25 Yuhei Tokunaga (for Cabore)
58' 18 Naohiro Ishikawa (for Naotake Hanyu)
77' 13 Sota Hirayama (for Sotan Tanabe)
33' Yuki Maki
65' Maya Yoshida
Goals 85' Sota Hirayma
15' Keiji Yoshimura Cautions
Ejections

Report

We came with an adjusted lineup from the previous 8 games, they scored 2 goals, but Hirayama put one in the net late to seal Tokyo's victory.  Sadly the game wasn't broadcast so I had no way of seeing it, but the 1-2 loss was enough to get Tokyo to the semifinals 6-3 on aggregate.  Our next opponent will be Shimizu S-Pulse (again), with the away leg on 9/2 and the home leg on 9/6.  Winner plays the winner of Yokohama vs. Kawasaki in the final.

zp8497586rq