|J.League Division 1 Week 17|
2 – 0 Second Half
1 – 0 Final
3 – 0
|July 12th 2009, 6:34PM Kickoff at Ajinomoto Stadium (Chofu, Tokyo) Attendance 24,736|
|GK 20 Shuichi Gonda
DF 25 Yuhei Tokunaga
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 6 Yasuyuki Konno
DF 5 Yuto Nagatomo
MF 28 Takuji Yonemoto
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 18 Naohiro Ishikawa
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
FW 9 Cabore
FW 13 Sota Hirayama
||GK 1 Seigo Narazaki
DF 32 Hayuma Tanaka
DF 2 Akira Takeuchi
DF 5 Takahiro Masukawa
DF 6 Shohei Abe
MF 13 Kei Yamaguchi
MF 14 Keiji Yoshimura
MF 10 Yoshizumi Ogawa
MF 8 Magnum
FW 11 Keiji Tamada
FW 9 Davi
| 64' 27 Soutan Tanabe (for Hanyu)
77' 40 Tatsuya Suzuki (for Ishikawa)
80' 24 Shingo Akamine (for Cabore)
|Substitutes||45' 17 Yuki Maki (for Yoshimura)
63' 27 Sho Hanai (for Yamaguchi)
69' 19 Keita Sugimoto (for Davi
| 3' Ishikawa
Last night's match at Ajinomoto Stadium was in many aspects a homecoming. First in the most obvious sense of the word; the match was the first in nearly two months played at Ajinomoto Stadium following a complete re-sodding of the pitch and repairs to the sprinkler system. Second in the sense that the team playing in front of just under 25,000 fans last night has finally returned to where they were in 2008: playing nearly flawless soccer and ascending once again to dark horse status. Though the sidelines were full of cameramen and video crews angling to get a once-in-a-lifetime shot of Naohiro Ishikawa delivering another goal, few in the media have highlighted the fact that Tokyo has now won 4 league matches in a row and has recovered from a dismal first third of the season to once again contend for an ACL bid.
The press didn't have to wait long; in the 3rd minute of play Nao recieved a header from Hirayama and proceeded to shred the Nagoya defensive line like a packet of pachinko hall tissues, stopping just inside the box for long enough to send a sharp grounder into the left side of the net.
With the supporters in a frenzy and Tokyo showing all the poise and confidence of a champion, Nagoya resorted to pettiness of the sort that we tend to expect from Urawa players. Davi risked an ejection by arguing with the official after recieving a yellow for roughing Gonda in the box, and expressed his displeasure minutes later when FCT kicked the ball out of bounds following an injury. Rather than kick the ball towards the opposing goalkeeper as is considered proper sportsmanship, Davi tapped the ball to the sideline, forcing an FC Tokyo throw-in. This was about as civilized as Nagoya would play for the rest of the night, but Tokyo wouldn't rise to the bait and ended the match with a clean sheet. As for Davi, he was neutralized by Bruno and Yonemoto to the point where he was substituted out midway through the second half. His yellow card was the 4th of the season, ensuring that he will recieve a one-game suspension and will thus be absent for Wednesday's Nabisco Cup draw.
Tokyo put an exclamation point on the first half with a beautiful display of teamwork; Nao crossed the ball over to Hirayama, who laid in a solid shot that the goalkeeper stopped but could not get a hold of. Cabore was waiting nearby for an all-too-easy kick-in.
Special notice should be given to Hirayama; although he's still not quite able to find the net his work ethic since he shaved his head has been stunning. He may not get the headlines but Sota is helping to carry this team as much as any other player and even a bit more.
Nagoya attempted to fight back in the second half but shot its load too quickly by bringing in three substitutes in quick succession. Shortly after Davi was substituted a collision happened in front of the Nagoya goal that soiled many pairs of underear in the stadium; mainly because Ishikawa had attempted to drill the ball into the net with his leg fully extended. Though he got up and walked away seemingly unharmed, Jofuku decided that the team's leading scorer had had enough adventure and danger for the night and Suzuki went in for Nao instead of for Cabore as had been planned.
Nagoya player Sho Hanai did not get up, however, and was taken off the field due to injury leaving Nagoya shorthanded. Unfortunately Tokyo tried to get too cutesy with its passing and without firestarters Nao or Cabore on the field the team seemed hesitant to attack at times. Nagoya made its most threatening attacks of the night when they were shorthanded, but Gonda seemed to catch every ball that came his way.
Finally, Tatsuya Suzuki capped off the night in injury time with a goal similar to Ishikawa's at the start.
By The Numbers
5th place – Tokyo's standing after 17 games this season
10th place – Tokyo's standing after 17 games last season
+2 – Tokyo's goal difference after tonight's game, the first time it has been in positive territory all season
10 – Goals scored by Naohiro Ishikawa so far this season
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5 – Ishikawa's previous season high