Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

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: Nagoya claim maiden J-League crown

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on November 20, 2010
Keiji Tamada

Keiji Tamada scored the goal which sealed the J-League title for Nagoya

Nagoya Grampus Eight have finally landed their first ever J-League title following their 1-0 away win at Shonan Bellmare today. Second place Kashima Antlers, champions for the last three years, were finally deposed having only managed a goalless draw at Vissel Kobe which means that they are ten points behind Nagoya with three matches remaining and, therefore, can not catch the league leaders.

Keiji Tamada was on hand to give Nagoya the only goal of a difficult away tie against Shonan Bellmare when converting an opportunity in the 66th minute of the match and gift his side all three points in what was a testing occasion for the league leaders. After the match they didn’t have to wait long to find out that their nearest rivals for the championship had dropped two crucial points and the celebrations could finally begin for Nagoya who have looked and played like champions in the second half of the season.

At the halfway stage of the competition Nagoya Grampus Eight were just a solitary point behind Shimuzu S-Pulse with a record of eleven wins, two draws and four defeats in the first seventeen matches. Since the latter half of the championship began Nagoya have won ten of their last fourteen games and that record has been coupled with title rivals such as Shimuzu, Gamba Osaka and Kashima Antlers dropping points at crucial times. Nagoya were also blessed with having two of the J-League’s top marksman in Australian international Joshua Kennedy, who has hit the back of the net an impressive sixteen times, and Temada whose eleventh league goal of the season proved arguably his most important as it sealed the championship title.

Nagoya Grampus Eight have qualified for the 2011 AFC Champions League and still have the chance to do a league and cup double as they play against Kashima Antlers in the quarter-finals of the Emperor’s Cup, the Japanese equivalent of the FA Cup, in late December.