Editor’s Note – With the 2009 season I hope to make Aishiteru Tokyo even better than it was last year; that is to say even when my life is hectic there will still be fresh content. To that end I’ve enlisted my good friend Lantis to help out with “maintenance” posting – injury reports, transfer news, YouTube roundups, and all the things I always seemed to never have time to take care of last season. He’ll also poke me to update my game reports at a regular pace, which will help matters greatly. Hooray more writers! –dokool
Thanks to a reliable source, it appears that the 2009 Nabisco Cup groups have been decided. This year’s format has two groups of seven teams in a single round-robin set of fixtures, with the top two teams from each group joining the four ACL teams in the knockout stage:
JEF United Chiba
Kyoto Sanga FC
Shimizu S-Pulse (again)
Yokohama F. Marinos
Bye to Quarterfinals
From the source, JEF is coming to Ajinomoto (or possibly Kokuritsu), but who the other home matches are isn’t clear. The full J.League schedule should be out later this month, so the timer is ticking for the 2009 season to kick off.
From Yahoo Sports! Japan:
Following a meeting held on April 15th by the J.LEAGUE Rules Committee, Tokyo Verdy player Hulk has been punished with a three-game suspension. The affected matches are April 16th vs. Shimizu S-Pulse (Nabisco Cup Preliminary Round), April 19th vs. Kashiwa Reysol (J.LEAGUE Round 7), and April 26th vs. Nagoya Grampus Eight (J.LEAGUE Round 8).
Hulk, upon receiving two yellow cards and being ejected from Verdy’s match against FC Tokyo on April 12th, was alleged to have directed insulting language towards the match officials. According to league officials, “Insulting language towards one a match official or sub-official, or committing other pubicly slanderous acts, is deserving of a 2-game penalty.” This penalty has been added to the standard one-game suspension for receiving a red card for a total of three games.
What will this mean for Verdy? In the short term, their chances of defeating Shimizu in roughly 18 hours have dropped significantly. The match against Kashiwa is muddled even further, and Verdy will now be at a severe disadvantage against Nagoya, the current league leader. I wonder how long it’s going to take the team to change the image on their front page.
In the long term, given his behavior during his short stint in Kawasaki, getting ejected and then additionally suspended only a short two weeks after signing a ¥500 million ($5 million) contract doesn’t look good under any circumstance. Verdy snapped up Hulk as quickly as they could to shore up their lackluster offense, and if he doesn’t have the presence of mind to not do stupid things that result in him getting ejected, Hulk may find himself a free agent sooner rather than later.
In honor of this decision, here’s Hulk about to tear up after he got served by Nagatomo late in the game:
Hulk smash! Hulk cry! Hulk sit in the corner and listen to Linkin Park!