Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Japan: Kashiwa secure 2012 Emperor’s Cup

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 1, 2013

In the first major footballing showpiece final of this year, Kashiwa Reysol secured Japanese football’s major domestic knockout competition when defeating Gamba Osaka 1-0 in the 2012 (yes, that is 2012 as opposed to 2013) Emperor’s Cup final in the National Stadium in Tokyo.

Kashiwa Reysol went into the game as favourites, the team having finished the 2012 J-League 1 season in a respectable sixth place. In contrast their opponents Gamba Osaka finished the most recent league campaign in seventeenth place in the 18 team league and were relegated into J-League 2 for next season. Despite this Gamba Osaka gave it their all and were unfortunate to have a goal chalked off for offside early in the game. Kashiwa Reysol, however, would ultimately make Osaka pay as Hirofumi Watanabe’s goal in the 35th minute proved the difference between the two teams.

Kashiwa’s victory was the third time that the club had won Japan’s version of the F.A. Cup, the other two Emperor’s Cup titles coming in the 1970s when Reysol were known as Hitachi Sports Club, whilst today’s success ensures that Kashiwa have won a major trophy for the third season in succession following their 2010 J-League 2 and 2011 J-League 1 successes. Kashiwa Reysol will also take part in the 2013 AFC Champions League as their reward for today’s cup heroics.

Japan: Four way title battles ensures tight finish to season

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on August 20, 2011

J-League logoWith twelve rounds of matches to play in the Japanese J-League there is an intriguing four way battle for title honours. Last season’s champions Nagoya Grampus Eight are, along with Yokohama Marinos, just one point behind the top two of Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol (22 games, 43 points).

Gamba Osaka were involved in the tie of the weekend getting the better of  Kawasaki Frontale by six goals to three with Brazilian Rafinha scoring a hat-trick and helping stretch Gamba’s unbeaten run to seven matches. They have the privilege of first place due to a better goal difference over second place Kashiwa Reysol who also triumphed at home this weekend with a 3-2 win over bottom club Avispa Fukuoka. Kashiwa were a goal down early on but came back to ensure the three points and second place.

Champions Nagoya could have been top of the table but were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home to Vegalta Sendai. Noaki Sugai’s 17th minute strike for the visitors proved to be the difference as Nagoya went down to their first league defeat since May, bringing a sixteen match unbeaten run to an end. Nagoya are now looking over their shoulders at Yokohama Marinos for whom Yuji Ono’s late winner six minutes from time gave the fourth placed side a 1-0 win over Jubilo Iwata.

Fifth placed Kashima Antlers, who won the J-League title three years in a row from 2007-09, have now won their last five games in a row, the latest being a 2-0 victory over Sanfreece Hiroshima today with both goals coming in the second half, but they are still some way off the leaders trailing Gamba by ten points.

At the bottom of the table it was a mixed bag of results for those teams in relegation trouble this weekend. Following their defeat to Kashiwa, bottom club Avispa Fukuoka’s position wasn’t helped by 16th place Ventforet Kofu’s 3-2 home win against Urawa Red Diamonds whilst second bottom Montedio Yamagata gained a point away to 15th place Omiya Ardija who are four points outside the relegation zone as the table currently stands.

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FIFA: Japan clinch maiden title against the odds

Posted in International Football by peterbein on July 18, 2011
Japan Women's National Team

Japan defeated the USA to win the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup saw a new name adorn the trophy as Japan completed their epic odyssey in this year’s tournament by defeating two-time champions the United States in a penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw after extra-time.

After a route to the final which saw them get the better of Mexico and New Zealand in the group phase and eliminate Germany and Sweden in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, the Japanese were expected to fall at the final hurdle against a country which had the experience of winning on the big occasion. But the determination and never-say-die spirit of the new champions ensured that they came away from Frankfurt’s Waldstadion with the trophy.

The game was tight in the first half, a fact reflected by the 0-0 score line at the break, but came to life in the second half when Alex Morgan gave the Americans the lead on 69 minutes. Japan equalized with nine minutes of regular time to go with Aya Miyama scoring the goal which took the game into extra-time. Abby Wambach, who has impressed for the Americans throughout the tournament, regained the lead for her team on the edge of half-time in extra-time and the USA needed to hold out for another fifteen minutes to reclaim the trophy for a record breaking third time.

However it was fitting that tournament top scorer Homare Sawa got the crucial second for Japan with just three minutes of extra-time to play to send the game into a penalty shootout. The Americans fluffed their lines from the spot with three of their four penalty takers missing their efforts. The Japanese, on the other hand, only missed once and when Saki Kumagai scored the crucial fourth spot kick to seal the 3-1 victory it sparked mass celebration from the touchline as this most unlikely of winners sealed their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph in front of a healthy 48,000 crowd.

It proved to be an incredibly rewarding tournament for Homare Sawa who not only won the Golden Boot award for finishing tournament top scorer with five goals but also won the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament. The Japanese team were also rewarded with the FIFA Fair Play trophy to go alongside their World Cup title which they will hope to defend in Canada in 2015 but, similarly to the Men’s version, the Women’s World Cup winners don’t get an automatic place in the next tournament and will have to qualify.

Japan: Champions Nagoya prevail in Super Cup

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on February 26, 2011

J-League champions Nagoya Grampus Eight and Emperor’s Cup holders Kashima Antlers began the season in Japan on Saturday with the traditional curtain raising Super Cup match.

Nagoya won their maiden league title in 2010 having beaten nearest challengers Gamba Osaka by ten points whilst Kashima Antlers, the team deposed as league champions by Nagoya, had the consolation of winning Japanese football’s main knockout tournament defeating Shimuzu S-Pulse 2-1 in the final. Kashima were hoping to win their third consecutive Super Cup whilst Nagoya were hoping to win a second Super Cup crown fifteen years after their first.

The game was a tight affair in the first half and, to nobody’s surprise, remained goalless at the break. Thankfully the game opened up in the second half when Takahiro Masukawa headed home to break the deadlock nine minutes into the second half and this gave the game the spur it needed. Twelve minutes later the game was back on level terms following Takuya Nozawa’s free-kick and this was how the game would end up following 120 minutes of action.

Therefore a penalty shoot-out was needed and it was looking bad for the champions after Australian international Joshua Kennedy missed with the first spot-kick but Kashima were unable to capitalise as captain Daiki Iwamasa also failed to convert his opportunity. Nagoya scored from three of their remaining penalties as Jungo Fujimoto, Alessandro Santos and Yoshizumi Ogawa were all successful whereas Kashima could only watch in despair as Alex and Toru Araiba had their kicks saved by Nagoya keeper Seigo Narazaki. This allowed the champions to prevail by a 3-1 scoreline in the shoot-out and meant that Nagoya could savour their second triumph in this competition.

Japan: Kashima claim Emperor’s Cup title

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 1, 2011

Emperor's Cup logoKashima Antlers have won the 2010 Emperor’s Cup with a 2-1 win in the final against Shimuzu S-Pulse. The win means that the Antlers have won this competition for the second time in four years and fourth time overall.

Fellype Gabriel gave Kashima the lead after 26 minutes in the National Stadium, Tokyo, but Frode Johnsen, a two-goal hero in Shimuzu’s semi-final win over Gamba Osaka, restored parity in the 59th minute. The winner came with thirteen minutes to play as Takuya Nozawa struck the decisive goal to gift the Antlers the second major prize in Japanese football. Following Nagoya Grampus Eight’s J-League championship win and Jubilo Iwata’s triumph in the J-League Cup it was important for either team to win the last remaining piece of silverware in the 2010 season and Kashima Antlers managed to hold out, leaving Shimuzu S-Pulse without silverware for a ninth consecutive year.

Kashima Antlers will participate in February’s 2011 season curtain raising Fuji Xerox Super Cup match against league champions Nagoya Grampus Eight.

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Japan: Kashima and Shimuzu reach Emperor’s Cup final

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 29, 2010

Emperor's CupThe semi-finals of the Emperor’s Cup, Japan’s equivalent of the FA Cup, were held today and for Kashima Antlers and Shimuzu S-Pulse the dream of lifting silverware on Saturday became one step closer to reality with wins over FC Tokyo and Gamba Osaka respectively.

Kashima Antlers had to come from behind in order to force extra-time in their semi-final match-up. Kenta Mukuhara gave FC Tokyo the lead just six minutes before the break but the Antlers restored parity midway through the second half thanks to Yuya Osako. With no further goals in normal time the game needed an extra thirty minutes and the crucial moment came in the last minute of the match when Shinzo Koroki struck to give Kashima a place in the final in the most dramatic of circumstances.

In the other semi-final Shimuzu S-Pulse had a much easier time of it defeating Gamba Osaka 3-0 at home to claim their place in the final. Norwegian striker Frode Johnsen scored a brace and Akihiro Hyodo scored the other as Shimuzu wrapped the scoring up by the hour mark to comfortably secure their passage into Japan’s showpiece knockout final which will take place in Tokyo’s National Stadium on Saturday.

Japan: Nagoya out of Emperor’s Cup

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 25, 2010

Emperor's CupThe 2010 J-League champions Nagoya Grampus Eight are out of this year’s Emperor’s Cup. The main knockout tournament in Japanese football plays its final three rounds this week and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the quarter-finals which were played today.

The Emperor’s Cup grants a berth to the 2011 AFC Champions League for the winner so there was a lot at stake in each of today’s last eight showdowns. Champions Nagoya Grampus Eight’s chances of doing a league and cup double were dashed by Kashima Antlers, who are guaranteed the fourth place to Asia’s top club competition if this year’s Emperor’s Cup winners have already qualified via the league. Shinzo Koroki gave Kashima the lead after just seven minutes and it took a long time for Nagoya to restore parity. The equalizer came in the 76th minute thanks to Yoshizumi Ogawa but the joy was short-lived as the Antlers scored the winning goal just two minutes later through Yuya Osako.

Kashima Antlers’ reward for progressing is a semi-final date with FC Tokyo who eventually knocked out Avispa Fukuoka after a pulsating 120 minutes of football. Avispa took the lead when Tetsuya Okubo scored on 13 minutes and the home side were preparing to celebrate progression tothe final four until FC Tokyo’s Naohiro Ishikawa took the game into extra-time with an equalizing goal three minutes into second half stoppage time. Suto Hirayama gave the capital side the lead on 94 minutes and when Ishikawa got his second four minutes later all seemed lost for the home side. Avispa reduced the deficit with two minutes of extra-time remaining, Daiki Niwa ensuring a tense finish but the game finished at 3-2.

The other semi-final will see Gamba Osaka take on Shimuzu S-Pulse. The former ensured their passage with a 2-1 win over Urawa Red Diamonds in extra-time. Takashi Usami was the man whose goal in the 103rd minute broke the hearts of Urawa supporters gifting his team a 2-1 win following strikes from Yasuhito Endō (Osaka) and Tomoya Ugajin (Urawa) in normal time. The final match of the last eight stage went all the way to a penalty shoot-out as Shimuzu S-Pulse and Montedio Yamagata couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes of football. Yūzō Tashiro gave Yamagata the lead on 107 minutes only to see Australian defender Eddy Bosnar restore parity for Shimuzu two minutes later. Montedio Yamagata missed one spot kick in the subsequent shoot-out whilst Shimuzu had a 100% success rate from twelve yeards to ensure that they advance to the next stage.

The semi-finals will be played on Wednesday, December 29th.

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Asian Games: Japan win maiden title; Koreans come third

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on November 25, 2010

Asian Games LogoThe Asian Games football tournament concluded in the Chinese city of Ghangzhou today with a tense final which was eventually settled by a late Yuki Saneto strike to give Japan a maiden title. In the third place play-off, which took place directly before the final, South Korea were minutes away from losing to Iran only for a late double strike from Dong Won-Ji to give the Koreans the bronze medal.

In the third place play-off Iran started well and were worthy of their 2-0 lead at the end of the first half. Gholamreza Razaei gave Iran the lead after just five minutes with Ali Asgari doubling the advantage on the edge of half-time. The second half would provide many a thrill for the watching spectators as the goals flew in; Ja-Cheol Koo halved the deficit to 2-1 after 48 minutes only for Iran to restore their two goal lead sixty seconds later through Karim Ansarifard. As the game wore on it seemed the Iranians were going to hold out for the bronze but the Koreans came back again. Chu Young-Park pulled a goal back in the 78th minute to make the score 3-2 and, with just two minutes remaining, Dong Won-Ji performed his cameo with a brace in the dying moments to overturn the deficit and take a 4-3 lead as the game entered stoppage time. It was a great way to end the opening match of the day.

Japan went into the Gold Medal match against a United Arab Emirates side who had defied expectations to reach their first ever final. Perhaps this expectation weighed heavily on the UAE who were unable to break the stubborn resistance of a well organised Japanese side. The eventual champions had to wait a long time themselves before settling the contest in their favour. The winning goal was scored in the 74th minute by Yuki Saneto, whose strike gave his country a long awaited first tournament win in the Asian Games.

Japan: Jubilo Iwata win J-League Cup in extra-time thriller (+video)

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on November 4, 2010

Jubilo Iwata won their second J-League Cup at the expense of opponents Sanfreece Hiroshima in a thrilling cup final played on Wednesday. With the game tied at 2-2 after ninety minutes an extra half-hour was needed to determine the latest winners of Japan’s second cup competition.

A crowd of just under 40,000 were present in the National Stadium, Tokyo and they witnessed what proved to be a classic cup final. Keisuke Funatani opened the scoring for Jubilo Iwata after 36 minutes but, just as it seemed that they would hold on to the lead going into the break, Tadanari Lee equalized in the 43rd minute for Sanfreece, who were hoping to win this trophy for the first time in their history. With three minutes played in the second half Sanfreece’s chances of a maiden title increased after Satoru Yamagishi gave the Hiroshima club the lead. With time running out in the game it looked like Jubilo’s cup dreams were dying out but they were resurrected in the 89th minute after Ryoichi Maeda restored parity for Jubilo and, with extra-time looming, the late strike dashed Sanfreece’s hopes and confidence going into the added period of thirty minutes.

Jubilo Iwata took charge in the first half of extra-time with Minoru Suganuma and Ryohei Yamazaki hitting the back of the net and this left Sanfreece with a mountain to climb. They did pull one goal back in the second half of extra-time through a wonderfully struck Tomoaki Makino free-kick but the last word went to Jubilo Iwata’s Ryoichi Maeda. Having taken the game into extra-time with his first goal of the game he sealed the deal with his second goal in the 109th minute and the cup was heading its way back to Iwata for the second time in the club’s history. The win also means that Jubilo Iwata will compete for the 2011 Suruga Bank Championship in which they will meet the winners of the 2010 Copa Sudamericana.


Asia: Too close to call in Big Three nations

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on July 18, 2010
Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers remain on top of the J-League after a 2-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale

Things are getting interesting in the three biggest league championships of Asian football. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog highlights the latest developments in Japan, China and South Korea.

The top of the J-League table shows the top three teams separated by just two points after thirteen games. Champions Kashima Antlers are back on top of the table after a 2-1 win at home to Kawasaki Frontale with Jung Soo-Lee scoring the winning goal for Kashima in the 78th minute. Kawasaki had played with ten men for all of the second half after former Eintracht Frankfurt star Junichi Inamoto was sent off late in the first half and would eventually be made to pay after resisting the Kashima attack for so long. Shimuzu S-Pulse were top of the table before the weekend’s matches but drop into second place after a disappointing goalless draw at home to twelfth place Jubilo Iwata whilst Nagoya Grampus Eight closed the gap thanks to a Joshua Kennedy strike in the 76th minute to gain a slender 1-0 win over Omiya Ardija. Omiya are second bottom after Shonan Bellmare managed to jump from bottom (18th) place into 16th thanks to a 1-0 win away at Kyoto Sanga who now occupy the bottom spot thanks to that defeat.

In South Korea four points separate the top seven teams in another closely fought championship race. Ulsan Hyundai occupied the top spot before the weekend’s matches began but suddenly found themselves in fifth place after their 1-0 defeat at home to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. Jeju United are now at the top of the table following a 5-0 rout over second bottom club Gangwon FC. Seoul FC stay in third spot despite their 1-0 defeat away at Incheon United while Gyeongnam occupy fourth place after they defeated mid-table outfit Gwangju Sangmu 1-0. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Busan I’Park lie in sixth and seventh respectively having each put four goals past their hapless opponents. Jeonbuk beat lowly Daejeon Citizen 4-0 while Busan ensured that 2009 Asian Champions League winners Pohang Steelers remain in domestic despair following a 4-2 win. The Steelers are just two points and three places clear of bottom team Daegu FC as their K-League form remains in stark contrast to their performances at Asian level.

China’s Super League also sees a neatly bunched selection of clubs at the top of the table with six teams separated by four points. Shanghai Shenhua remain top despite dropping two points at home to fifth place Henan Jianye following a spectacular match which finished 3-3, the away side coming from 2-0 down to take the lead before Shanghai equalized fifteen minutes from time thanks to Duvier Riascos. This allowed Luneng Taishan to close the gap between themselves and Shanghai to just a point after they defeated Nanchang Bayi 1-0 with Zheng Zheng’s 55th minute goal enough to settle the match in Luneng’s favour. Hangzhou Greentown also remained in the running after a 2-0 victory over Shaanxi Chanba while Liaoning jump into fourth place on the back of a 2-1 win over Jiangsu Shuntian. Defending champions Beijing Guo’an missed the opportunity to close the gap and remain in sixth place following a heavy 3-0 defeat away at Dalian Shide