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.

FIFA: Barça outclass Santos to win world title; Al Sadd come third

Posted in Asian Football, European Football, South America Football by peterbein on December 18, 2011

FIFA Club World CupIt may not have been the most difficult challenge that FC Barcelona would have to face in their quest to become FIFA Club World Cup winners. That, however, did not dampen the celebrations as the Spanish and European champions strolled their way past a poor Santos FC team courtesy of a 4-0 victory.

The game was over bar the shouting after the first 45 minutes of the game were played following strikes from Lionel Messi and Xavi, both of whom would go on to win the Golden and Silver balls as the best two players of the tournament after the game, and Cesc Fabregas who helped himself to their third goal on the stroke of half time.

Santos showed slightly more ambition in the second half after being overwhelmed in the first but chances from Neymar and Borges went begging. With eight minutes of the game remaining Barça sealed the deal once and for all after Dani Alves set up Messi for his second goal of the game to complete the rout. South American champions Santos FC were never in the game from the first kick and precocious teenager Neymar found out, just like Cristiano Ronaldo had done a week earlier, that Messi is still the main man on the big occasion.

FC Barcelona’s victory was their second triumph in this competition following their maiden win over Estudiantes de La Plata in 2009. Earlier in the day Asian Champions League winners Al Sadd had claimed third place in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup having got the better of this year’s J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol by virtue of a 5-3 win in a penalty shoot-out following a goalless ninety minutes.

FIFA: Santos ends Kashiwa dream; Monterrey wins 5th place

Posted in African Football, Asian Football, South America Football by peterbein on December 14, 2011

FIFA Club World Cup logoKashiwa Reysol’s FIFA Club World Cup dream ended today at the hands of South American champions Santos FC. Neymar was amongst the goals for the Brazilians as they claimed a 3-1 win against the J-League champions whilst earlier in the day North and Central American champions Monterrey CF won the 5th/6th place play-off, getting the better of African champions Espérance Tunis by the odd goal in five.

Santos, in their first game of the new look Club World Cup, may have won the game against their hosts but Kashiwa continued to do themselves proud in this competition. Following earlier defeats of Auckland City and Monterrey, it was always going to prove tough to jump the final hurdle into the final but Kashiwa certainly weren’t overawed. Nonetheless Santos did what they had to do in a game which could prove to be a useful workout ahead of a potential final against FC Barcelona.

Quality strikes from Neymar and Borges gave Santos a two goal lead at the break but Hiroki Sakai reduced the arrears ten minutes into the second half to provide Kashiwa with a ray of hope. The hosts, however, would suffer a further setback in the 63rd minute when Danilo restored Santos’ two goal lead which they would preserve for the remainder of the game. Santos will now face FC Barcelona or, in the event of a massive shock, Asian champions Al Sadd in Sunday’s final and hope to claim a first world title since their second Intercontinental Cup win in 1963.

The day’s other game saw Monterrey CF restore some pride in the 5th/6th play-off against Espérance Tunis in a game which saw plenty of goals. Espérance, who controversially lost their quarter-final against Al Sadd, went ahead after half an hour to a Yannick N’Djeng goal only to see Monterrey turn the match on its head just before half-time with Hiram Mier and Aldo de Nigris getting on the score sheet.

Monterrey carried on where they left off in the second half with Jesus Zavala’s close range header increasing their lead to two goals but the Tunisians weren’t finished and made it a tight finish when Khaled Mouelhi scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-2 with a quarter of an hour left on the clock. However the Mexicans held out to ensure that they would chalk up a maiden victory in this tournament and they will hope, along with their African counterparts, to win their respective continental titles once more in 2012 and have another shot at world glory in Japan next year.

FIFA: Kashiwa and Al Sadd through to semis; Barça win El Clásico

FIFA Club World Cup logoKashiwa Reysol and Al Sadd have booked their semi-final places in the FIFA Club World Cup following hard fought victories over Monterrey CF and Esperance Tunis respectively.

Kashiwa, representing the host nation Japan as the 2011 J-League champions, needed a penalty shoot-out to get past North and Central American champions Monterrey after the two teams had played out a 1-1 draw. Leandro Domingues gave Kashiwa the lead in the 53rd minute only to see Humberto Suazo restore parity just five minutes later and the rest of the game proved frustrating for both sides as neither team could kill off their opponents. In the shoot-out Ryohei Hayashi converted the crucial final kick as Kashiwa went through 4-3 and secured themselves a meeting with South American champions Santos FC in the final four.

Controversy reigned in the other semi-final between African champions Esperance Tunis and Asian Champions League holders Al Sadd. Khalfan Ibrahim and Abdullah Koni had given Al Sadd a two goal lead by the 50th minute but Oussama Darragi pulled one back on the hour mark. However the Tunisians had two goals controversially ruled out for offside, decisions which so enraged one supporter who ran on to the pitch. Al Sadd, who are based in Qatar, now look ahead to a semi-final clash with European champions FC Barcelona who will be in fine mood following a 3-1 win against Real Madrid in last night’s El Clásico.

Real Madrid took the lead after just 22 seconds as Karim Benzema took advantage of some uncharacteristic woeful defending by Barcelona only for the visitors to equalize on the half hour mark through Alexis Sanchez. Further goals in the second half from Xavi and Cesc Fabregas helped secure the three points for Barcelona who can go into the FIFA Club World Cup knowing that their arch rivals are not going to be so far ahead when they come back from Japan. Had Real Madrid won last night they would’ve been six points clear with a game in hand. Following last night’s result, however, Barcelona are now on the same points but Madrid, nonetheless, still have the advantage of an extra game to play.

FIFA: Double strike helps Kashiwa defeat Auckland

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on December 8, 2011

FIFA Club World Cup logoThe FIFA Club World Cup officially got under way today with two goals just before half-time giving Kashiwa Reysol a 2-0 win over Auckland City in the qualifying play-off to send the Japanese club through to the quarter-finals.

Kashiwa, who clinched the 2011 J-League title last weekend, had Junya Tanaka and Masato Kudo to thank as the pair struck in the 37th and 40th minutes respectively to send the host nation’s representatives into the next round. For Oceania champions Auckland City it was a disappointing result, especially given that they were in confident mood following a 100% record of winning results this season going into today’s game. Alas, the Japanese were too strong for the Kiwis who can now go back and concentrate on defending their domestic and continental titles.

The two quarter-final matches will be played on Saturday with Kashiwa playing CONCACAF North and Central American champions Monterrey whilst CAF African Champions League winners Esperance meet AFC Asian Champions League holders Al-Sadd.

FIFA: Club World Cup Team Guide – Kashiwa Reysol

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 4, 2011

Kashiwa Reysol logoKashiwa Reysol secured the J-League title and a place in the FIFA Club World Cup as the host nation’s representatives following a climatic finish to the season in Japan this weekend. The title triumph was all the more remarkable given that the team had only won promotion from the Japanese second division last season. Kashiwa will face Oceania champions Auckland City in a qualifying play-off this Thursday and, if successful, will proceed to a quarter-final meeting with North and Central American winners Monterrey CF.

After 33 rounds of games Kashiwa led the standings by just one point from defending champions Nagoya Grampus Eight with Gamba Osaka just one point further back and hoping to take advantage of any slip-ups from the front runners. Sadly for Kashiwa’s challengers the league leaders had been in great form recently, only dropping four out of a possible thirty points in their previous ten matches ahead of their last day showdown away to Urawa Red Diamonds whose top flight status had only been secured the weekend before.

For Kashiwa, however, any pre-match nerves would’ve been settled by the half-time break with Jorge Wagner and Wataru Hashimoto giving the league leaders a 2-0 advantage after 45 minutes. Yosuke Kashiwagi pulled one back for Urawa after 53 minutes and a nervous finish to the season awaited for Kashiwa. Mercifully for the leaders Akimi Barada sealed the destination of the 2011 J-League title with a quarter of an hour left on the clock, his goal making the score 3-1 and the celebrations, which had been put on hold for the last few weeks, were finally able to begin. Wins on the road for Nagoya Grampus Eight (1-0 v Albirex Niigata) and Gamba Osaka (3-1 v Shimuzu S-Pulse) ultimately proved academic as Kashiwa secured their first ever J-League championship with a record of 23 wins, 3 draws and 8 defeats, a total of 72 points.

Kashiwa Reysol now only have four days to prepare for their FIFA Club World Cup debut against an in-form Auckland City team whose record this season has brought a perfect 100% record of seven wins from seven games in all competitions. Auckland City also have experience in this tournament having competed twice before in 2006 and 2009 so may handle the big occasion better. However this is a Kashiwa side that has defied the odds in becoming the first ever club to win the J-League straight after winning promotion and, with no track record to speak of in this tournament, are hoping that their relative anonymity might catch their New Zealand opponents off-guard. Plus, with the added motivation of representing host nation Japan, Kashiwa Reysol will be hoping that this season can become even more memorable.

KASHIWA REYSOL WIN THE 2011 J-LEAGUE v URAWA RED DIAMONDS

J-League and K-League champions signal the old and the new

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 7, 2009
Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers have secured their third straight J-League title

Two major championships concluded in Asia this weekend, one championship congratulating a team who have turned winning into an art form on the domestic stage, the other congratulating a club who have finally landed their maiden national title.

Kashima Antlers were crowned champions of Japan this weekend securing a third straight title courtesy of a 1-0 win away at Urawa Red Diamonds. Shinko Koroki’s goal in the 66th minute proved enough as the Antlers finished two points clear of Kawasaki Frontale, whose 3-2 victory away to Kashiwa Reysol ultimately proved fruitless. Kashima cement their place as the most successful club in the J-League era as they have won the J-League championship seven times since its formation in 1993. At the bottom of the table JEF United, Oita Trinita and Kashiwa Reysol were relegated and they’ll be replaced in 2010 by Vegalta Sandai, Cerezo Osaka and Shonan Bellmare.

Things were different in South Korea where the K-League saw Jeonbuk Hyandai Motors lift their first ever league championship trophy. Jeonbuk had already clinched the regular league title finishing four points ahead of FIFA Club World Cup participants Pohang Steelers and FC Seoul. Following the regular season a play-off series was contested, Jeonbuk’s prize for finishing first in the regular table was a bye into the final. Five teams entering at various rounds were hoping to contest Jeonbuk in the final and, after three rounds, it was Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, who had finished fourth in the regular season, who were to be the lucky opponents with a shot at title glory. After the first leg of the final had finished in a goalless draw, Jeonbuk took no prisoners in the second match played at their home stadium in Jeonju. Eninho scored the first goal of the game after 21 minutes to set them on their way. After the Brazilian scored his second just before half-time, former South Korean international Lee Dong-Gook confirmed the match with a 72nd minute penalty for Jeonbuk to seal the deal, Seongnam getting a consolation goal through Kim Jin-Yong in the 84th minute.