|J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Semifinal Part 2
0 – 0
1 – 2
|October 25th 2009, 1:03PM Kickoff at Nihondaira “Outsourcing” Stadium (Shimizu, Shizuoka) Attendance 19,275
|GK K. Yamamoto
MF M. Yamamoto
|GK 20 Shuichi Gonda
DF 25 Yuhei Tokunaga
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 6 Teriyuki Konno
DF 5 Yuto Nagatomo
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 28 Takuji Yonemoto
MF 40 Tatsuya Suzuki
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
FW 24 Shingo Akamine
FW 13 Sota Hirayama
|Fujimoto on for Hyodo (68)
Hara on for Masaki (69)
Takaki on for Arata (78)
||25′ 33 Kenta Mukuhara (for Nagatomo)
76′ 15 Daishi Hiramatsu (for Tatsuya)
85′ 8 Ryuji Fujiyama (for Hanyu)
||3′ Tatsuya Suzuki
39′ Own Goal
||28′ Sota Hirayama
33′ Shingo Akamine
Apologies for the late report, Nabisco Cup preparations are consuming my days.
It was a sunny, blustery afternoon at Nihondaira; perfect for a soccer match. Nihondaira has become one of my favorite stadiums in Japan this season; great architecture combined with a welcoming atmosphere, great concessions, and a passionate supporter base. We took all local trains (3.5 hours but also about 40% of the cost of a shinkansen), so the trip started at about 9AM, but it was worth it to arrive up the mountain.
Oh, and the game was pretty good too, except when it wasn’t. Most of this has to do with the a Mr. Joji Kashihara, a referee so incompetent that he wouldn’t be able to officiate a game of rock paper scissors without calling a foul. Between the constant whistling of non-fouls, whistling of real fouls, and general ineptitude, the game proceeded with a glacial pace at times with the players almost unwilling to go full steam out of fear that the play would just be whistled dead. According to his Wikipedia entry (Japanese only), Kashihara is known for whistling too often, brandishing cards too often, and allowing the game to get out of control too easily. He refereed the Urawa Reds-Manchester United friendly in ’05, as well as a Shonan Bellmare-Tokyo Verdy match in ’07 which saw 12 yellow cards and 2 ejections.
So yeah, as far as I’m concerned in the first half Tokyo were playing against 12 men.
The first half started with a bang as Tatsuya snuck in a fantastic header goal that seemed to set the pace for the day. 4 minutes later, however, Shimizu capitalized on a corner kick to get one back courtesy of Okazaki, who scored about 50 goals in NT play earlier this month. Once again, Tokyo’s ineffectiveness at defending against the set play was plain for all to see, but the team fought back (against both S-Pulse and the ref) and gained control of the game back.
At 25′, a stunning substitution as Nagatomo was pulled out for Kenta Mukuhara. It was later announced that Nagatomo had suffered a dislocated shoulder (!) during pre-game warmups. The team has announced that it will take 3 weeks for him to fully heal but from what I understand they’re gonna tape him up and give him some Tylenol and push him onto the field next Tuesday. In any case, Mukuhara did very well in Nagatomo’s stead so it could have been worse.
At about 35′, Tokyo scored what we thought was goal #2… until it was called back for offsides. I need to see a replay to determine whether or not it was a valid offsides call, but by then the supporters were absolutely exasperated. Fortunately 4 minutes later Shimizu defender Iwashita would give us a gift; in attempting to clear the ball he unintentionally headed it in for an own goal. Thanks #5! Tokyo would go into halftime with a 2-1 lead.
The second half featured less scoring but someone must have warned Kashihara that unless he started calling some fouls against Shimizu someone was gonna file a complaint, because the groans from the home end echoed those of the away end in the first half. Tokyo basically managed to assert complete control of the game and displayed some of its signature passing and created a few more scoring chances that, sadly, didn’t work out. Near the end of the game, lifetime Tokyo veteran Ryuji Fujiyama, who announced earlier this week that he would be leaving the team after 16 years with the organization, came on as a substitution much to the delight of the visiting crowd. After 90 minutes the players were exhausted and a few limped to the visitor end, but the 3 points were ours.
With this victory, Tokyo is in 5th place:
1. Kawasaki Frontale (55)
2. Kashima Antlers (54)
3. Gamba Osaka (51)
4. Shimizu S-Pulse (50)
5. FC Tokyo (49)
and not only are we in 5th place but stunningly, despite all of the problems this team has had to face over the course of the season, we are still in ACL contention. More on that in the next post. For now, back to flagmaking.