セレッソ大阪 (Cerezo Osaka) 1 サンフレッチェ広島 (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) 4

(Highlights of all the goals from the KINCHO Stadium as Sanfrecce Hiroshima cantered to a 4-1 win against Cerezo Osaka, and remained in touch with league leaders Vegalta Sendai)

A cynical foul from the unexpected quarter of Toshihiro Aoyama forced Hiroshi Kiyotake to limp from the pitch with a quarter of an hour of this match to play, and depending upon the severity of the injury sustained may have played his last of what would otherwise have been his penultimate J.League appearance at the KINCHO Stadium. Of equal, if not greater concern to manager Sérgio Soares is how to replace the young midfielder at a time in which Cerezo look likely to be drawn into the relegation fight which has already engulfed their city rivals Gamba. Kiyotake was his side’s outstanding player as he displayed his full repertoire of two-footed passing in a performance brimming with wit and invention, and had Kempes not once again flattered to deceive in attack, Kiyotake, Kim Bo-Kyung and Yoichiro Kakitani could each have recorded assists and provided a more respectable outcome to this encounter.

Continue reading

J. League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup: Matchday Five Live-blog – セレッソ大阪 (Cerezo Osaka) v 川崎フロンターレ (Kawasaki Frontale)

0 Min: As J.League Division 1 action is suspended for the international break, the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup takes precedence domestically, and I’ll be live-blogging Matchday Five’s Group A contest between Cerezo Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale from the Kincho Stadium.

With Jubilo Iwata having a bye week, Cerezo will end the day topping the group on goal difference provided they can secure a victory, while Frontale must find a win if they are realistically to stand any chance of making the quarter-finals. I’ll have team news for you very soon.

0 Min: Cerezo Osaka – Matsui; Moniwa, Fujimoto, Sakemoto, Takahashi; Ogihara, Yamaguchi, Branquinho, Maruhashi; Kempes, Kakitani

Substitutes – Ogino; Kim S-G; Funatsu, Yoshino, Yokoyama, Murata; Nagai

0 Min: Kawasaki Frontale – Nishibe; Tanaka Yusuke, Saneto, Igawa, Noborizato; Shibasaki, Oshima, Kusukami; Tasaka, Renato, Yajima

Substitutes – Sugiyama; Tanaka Yudai; Santos, Tanaka Junichi; Kobayashi, Tanio

0 Min: Today’s referee is Koichiro Fukushima, kick-off expected to be exactly 19:00. It’s a cloudy night in Osaka but otherwise fairly mild, the thermometer reading approximately 19 degrees.

0 Min: The players are out on the field in their final preparations for the kick-off.

1 Min: It will be the home side to get us underway, and we’re off and running in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup.

3 Mins: A quick turn from Yoichiro Kakitani from Kempes’s pass finds the forward up-ended, and Cerezo have the first chance of the game, a free-kick which Branquinho takes from 6 yards infield and slams straight into the two-man wall. The ball is returned to Branquinho once more, and this time his cross is into the centre of the penalty area. Kempes’s misses the ball completely with his attempted overhead kick, but the ball falls to Yusuke Maruhashi. His left-footed strike is wild and sails several feet clear of Yohei Nishibe’s crossbar.

6 Mins: Kyohei Noborizato is tripped by Branquinho, who gesticulates to Fukushima that the left-back had failed to keep the ball in play.

7 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka’s delivery from the left curls across the six yard area, and Kenya Matsui fails to get a hand to the ball. It’s just beyond Takuro Yajima at the back post.

11 Mins: The first corner of the match is Frontale’s, Renato and Yusuke Tanaka combining to good effect on the right which the Brazilian takes, and it’s a very good header from Teruyuki Moniwa to clear away.

13 Mins: And Cerezo immediately reply with a corner of their own. Branquinho crosses to the edge of the penalty area for an intended volley, but the ball is played to high. It finds its way back to Branquinho infield on the left, who plays the ball to teammate Maruhashi, and a shot is weak and comfortably held by Nishibe.

15 Mins: POST! Branquinho’s swerving effort from 22 yards is just the wrong side of the right upright with Nishibe well-beaten. A superb strike from the Brazilian.

16 Mins: Yusuke Igawa half-clears a Yusuke Maruhashi cross, which is volleyed left-footed first-time into the side netting.

18 Mins: Cerezo Osaka starting to dominate, and they win another corner as Yoichiro Kakitani’s shot on the spin is deflected behind the goalline. It’s taken short, and doesn’t prove fruitful.

20 Mins: Takahiro Ogihara clips Ryota Oshima from behind, and Frontale have a free-kick roughly 35 yards from goal. Renato and Oshima are both over the ball. Working it out to the left-hand side, a cross comes in low but Kota Fujimoto hacks clear.

22 Mins: Takuro Yajima does well under pressure from two defenders to earn Frontale a corner on the left. Tasaka plays it short to Renato, who returns it to the wide player. His cross is then too deep for Takura Yajima, who is unable to head the ball back across goal, and it’s behind for a Cerezo goal-kick.

23 Mins: Mid-way through the first period, it’s Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 0.

25 Mins: Branquinho forces Nishibeinto making the first save of the match which a curling shot from 20 yards. Diving to his right, he’s unable to hold at the first attempt, but recovers quickly to claim with Kakitani following-up.

27 Mins: Takahiro Ogihara is booked for a silly foul well inside the Kawasaki Frontale half, as he prevents Renato from turning away from him.

30 Mins: GOAL! The KINCHO Stadium falls quiet. Jumpei Kusukami beats Cerezo’s offside trap with a superb run across the defensive line. It’s poor goal-keeping from Kenya Matsui, as he fails to defend his near post, and he doesn’t force the midfielder to shoot across the angle.

30 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 1

33 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka then has an attempt from long range, cutting in from the left-hand side. He tries to find the top-right corner with a bending effort, but it doesn’t trouble Matsui, staying well clear of the right upright.

35 Mins: Less than ten minutes left in the first period, as Branquinho diverts a ball to Sakemoto on the right touchline. An aimless cross from a good position is much too close to Nishibe, who catches and clears long downfield.

37 Mins: Two crosses from Yusuke Maruhashi in quick succession are cleared.

39 Mins: Kenya Matsui is very fortunate to see Takuro Yajima shoot into the side-netting, as he comes off his line unnecessarily with Yajima attended by Teruyuki Moniwa. He could well have been embarrassed had Yajima’s effort been better-directed.

40 Mins: Cerezo Osaka have a further two corners, the first of which is palmed behind by Yohei Nishibe, and the second Frontale are able to bring away from their penalty area.

43 Mins: A pass from the right touchline into space gives Renato an opportunity to shoot. His low, left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area is curling, but it’s into the legs of Matsui, who ensures his full body is behind the strike.

45 Mins: As Yusuke Tanaka’s run pulls Daisuke Takahashi away from the penalty area, Renato is able to test Matsui once more. He tries to beat the goalkeeper at the near post from eighteen yards, but he is wise to the effort this time and stops low at his left post.

45 Mins+1: One last chance for Cerezo Osaka, as they win a corner in stoppage time, which Branquinho will take from the right.

45 Mins+2: It’s headed away, but a one-two between Sakemoto and Branquinho allows the defender to cross and earn his team another corner. The set piece delivery is poor and easily cleared, and with that, the official blows his whistle to signal for half-time.

HT: Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 1

HT: Dynamism in midfield, aided by the willing runs of Daisuke Takahashi from defence, has not been allied to a cutting edge for the home side at the KINCHO Stadium, who finds themselves a goal behind at the break to the only clear chance for either side of this match. Branquinho came very close to opening the scoring for Cerezo, a powerful strike crashing back off the right, but otherwise some promising build-up play has been followed by low-quality crosses.

45 Mins: One substitution being made at half-time as Takamitsu Yoshino enters the fray for Cerezo Osaka. Takahiro Ogihara is the man replaced.

46 Mins: Referee Fukushima gives the signal to resume play, and Kawasaki Frontale get the second half underway.

47 Mins: GOAL! Kempes brings his side level two minutes after the restart. Fine control from Yoichiro Kakitani brings in Branquinho, and he finds Kempes. He cuts across the penalty area and sends a perfectly placed low left-footed shot into the net.

47 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 1 Kawasaki Frontale 1

54 Mins: Branquinho just manages to keep an over-hit ball in play on the right, but with several players surging forward, the opportunity is wasted and Frontale are able to bring the ball away.

55 Mins: Rene Santos is ready to come on, and looks to be replacing Yusuke Tanaka, who has a problem with a contact lens, however the change is withheld for the time being.

57 Mins: A yellow card is shown to Naoriyuki Sakemoto for pulling back Renato. Rene Santos now does make his entrance, and it’s for Kosei Shibasaki.

58 Mins: GOAL! Cerezo Osaka have turned this match around. Poor control from Yusuke Tanaka allows Yoichiro Kakitani to intercept in midfield, and he bursts forward. He cuts past Yuki Saneto, and the recovering Kakitani’s lunge is in despair as Kakitani’s lovely dinked effort with the edge of his right boot from 15 yards clears the advancing Nishibe and into the net.

58 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 2 Kawasaki Frontale 1

59 Mins: Kempes is booked, the third player for the home side to enter Fukushima’s notebook.

63 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka exits play for Yu Kobayashi. Frontale have made little advance in this second half, and miscontrol from Yusuke Igawa gives Branquinho the chance to deliver a corner from the right. It’s short, and the cross is bent across goal. Nishibe almost misjudges the flight of the ball, having to re-adjust as it nearly clears him, but he catches safely enough.

65 Mins: Branquinho links with Kakitani, who then feeds Kempes on the edge of the penalty area. It’s a woeful effort from the striker who under little pressure clears the bar.

68 Mins: GOAL! Kawasaki Frontale are back on level terms. A stunning left-footed lob from Takuro Yajima has beaten Matsui, but not the crossbar, and Renato cushions the rebound home with his left foot. Cerezo defenders are appealing in vain for the offside, the Brazilian clearly played onside by Noriyuki Sakemoto when the ball left Yajima’s foot.

68 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 2 Kawasaki Frontale 2

71 Mins: Ryota Oshima is currently down for Frontale, stretching to clear a Branquinho throughball, possibly damaging a hamstring or calf muscle in the process. He exits the pitch on a stretcher, and is back gingerly to his feet on the sidelines.

73 Mins: Rene Santos barges Yusuke Marushashi as the ball is running out for a throw-in, but no free-kick is given for a poor challenge.

73 Mins: Renato blazes over the bar with an overlapping Rene Santos the better option to his right.

75 Mins: Oshima has played his final action in this match, and Yudai Tanaka is on in his place.

75 Mins: A crossfield pass from Yusuke Tanaka is too strong for Yu Kobayashi.

<strong<75 Mins: Renato has a corner, looking to give his side the lead for the second time in this match having recovered from being a goal behind after 58 minutes.

75 Mins: The referee spots an infringement in the penalty area with Jumpei Kusukami backing into Kenya Matsui, who was able to punch clear in any case.

77 Mins: Noriyuki Sakemoto, under the close attention of Yu Kobayashi, retains possession well, and draws a free-kick out of the forward for some shirt-pulling.

78 Mins: Rene Santos is down in the Kawasaki Frontale penalty area after he rose to contest a header with Kempes, holding his back after falling to the floor. Upon exiting the field, he sprints to rejoin the play.

80 Mins: Daisuke Takahashi is shown a yellow card as he impedes Yusuke Tanaka on the right edge of the penalty area. A chance for Renato to shoot.

81 Mins: Renato’s powerful effort is on target as it beats the wall, but too close to Matsui who pushes behind for a corner. The resulting delivery is then headed away for a throw-in on the right, five yards from the goalline.

81 Mins: A second substitution for Cerezo Osaka, as Kasuyz Murata replaces Branquinho.

85 Mins: The first yellow card for Frontale is shown to Renato, who clambers over Kakitani to prevent him passing him on the right. Lovely skill from the winger.

86 Mins: GOAL! And it’s Kakitani who thumps home. A clipped free-kick by Noriyuki Sakemoto meets with a poor clearance from Yuki Saneto, and Kakitani’s first-time strike is through the legs of Hyohei Noborizato and sneaks inside the right upright, leaving Nishibe with no chance of making a save.

86 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 3 Kawasaki Frontale 2

88 Mins: As Nariyuki Sakemoto exits play on a stretcher, Tetsuya Funatsu is the last Cerezo replacement.

90 Mins: A corner for Frontale taken by Renato, and a subsequent cross as his corner is returned to him, are cleared.

90 Mins: Cerezo break quickly on the counter-attack, but a smart stop is made by Nishibe from Kakitani’s shot.

90 Mins+1: Into three minutes of added time and Frontale are pressing for a second equaliser, but Takuro Yajima is judged to be offside.

90 Mins+2: A few players have been affected by cramp in this match, and it’s Kyohei Noborizato’s turn to receive some treatment.

90 Mins+3: Fukushima blows his whistle for the end of this encounter, and with it he ends Kawasaki Frontale’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Cerezo will end Matchday Five at the top of Group A, two fine strikes from Yoichiro Kakitani and a Kempes equaliser early in the second half sufficient to give the home side three points.

FT: Cerezo Osaka 3 Kawasaki Frontale 2

FT: Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage.

大宮アルディージャ (Omiya Ardija) 0 セレッソ大阪 (Cerezo Osaka) 3

Hiroshi Hiyotake celebrates after scoring a 52nd minute penalty to give Cerezo Osaka the lead against Omiya Ardija at the NACK5 Stadium. Cerezo went on to win the match 3-0 in their first ever J.League Division 1 victory at The Squirrels' home ground (Image courtesy J's Goal/J.League Photos)

Three goals in fifteen second-half minutes gave Cerezo Osaka a victory which lifts them temporarily to fourth place in the table on goal difference, and they will remain for at least a week there provided FC Tokyo don’t win in Sunday’s match away to Kawasaki Frontale. A penalty from Hiroshi Kiyotake and two goals from Bo-Kyung Kim were sufficient to maintain an excellent unbeaten away record, and with city rivals Gamba Osaka collapsing to a 4-1 defeat to Sanfrecce Hiroshima and a nine point gap between the two sides, they may sense the possibility of toppling their local adversaries in J.League Division 1 for the first time since 2003.

The first period was insipid and scratchy, giving no indication of the rewards in terms of technical quality and goals which were to follow in the second-half. In particular, Carlinhos looked out of sorts, and shifted to a more defensive role in a 4-2-3-1 may have found the role compromised his passing ability. It was Ardija who began the brightest, however, Daigo Watanabe and Daisuke Watanabe linking well together on the Omiya right on four minutes, and feeding Rafael, only a timely challenge from Kota Fujimoto prevented the Brazilian forward from advancing on goalkeeper Jin-Hyun Kim. Two minutes later Kim saw his first action of the game, Rafael turning well on the Omiya left flank and finding left-midfielder Young-Cheol Cho in space, the South Korean shot from distance which Kim gathered low to his right.

Shortly after, Takashi Kitano was forced into his first of what would become many responses, Bo-Kyung Kim receiving a short pass from a free-kick in the middle of the Ardija half, and he struck a fierce rising shot which the Omiya goalkeeper parried and then collected at the second attempt. On 20 minutes the 29 year-old stopper made an excellent save from Kempes, the forward picking the ball up on the left, bringing the ball inside two Squirrels defenders and shooting left-footed which Kitano stretched to divert beyond his left post.

With 20 minutes remaining in the first half Ardija had one of their very few clear sights of goal. A Carlinhos corner from the right was half-cleared, and Takumi Shimohira bent a cross into the penalty area which defender Daisuke Kikuchi controlled well on his chest, before shooting narrowly wide of Kim’s right post with the goaslkeeper well-beaten.

Ardija and Cerezo would continue to trade shots, but with half an hour played it was Cerezo who were slowly starting to turn the screw, and Hiroshi Kiyotake nearly opened the scoring for the visitors on the 30 minute mark, rising to meet a Branquinho cross which was heading goalwards until a deflection off the shoulder of an unwitting Rafael sent the ball wide, and just two minutes later Kitano dived shaprly to his right to keep out a Kempes header, another Branquinho cross the source of the opportunity.

When the home side did have the opportunity to break, errors crept in, with an unusually quiet Young-Cheol Cho wasting a superb chance to find Rafael in a one-on-one situation, drifting a cross straight into the hands of Kim. Ardija weren’t the only side who were wasteful in the first period, however, and on 44 minutes Branquinho found the post when he should have netted. A quick Cerezo counter-attack allowed Hiroshi Kiyotake to break in left midfield, and his pass to Kempes was sent first time into the path of his fellow Brazilian teammate. Under little pressure he drove powerfully but with too little accuracy, and the ball cannoned off the right upright and away for a goal kick.

Cerezo had the upper hand as the first period drew to a close, and they began the second half in a similar vein. Three minutes had elapsed when Branquinho missed a simple chance to open Cerezo’s account. Kempes received the ball 8 yards from the goal-line on the left, and drove into the penalty area. Staying on his feet brilliantly despite the close attention of Takuya Aoki for which a penalty could almost certainly have been awarded, he pulled the ball back to Branquinho. Barely four yards out he fired left of the upright with the goal at his mercy.

On 50 minutes, however, Cerezo were given even more cause for a penalty, which this time referee Yuichi Nishimura duly awarded. A Branquinho set piece did the damage, the ball lofted into the 18-yard box from 40 yards, and Daisuke Watabe pulled back Kempes who would have had a clear sight on goal. Watabe’s protestations fell on deaf ears, and he was booked for an offence for which he should have little complaint. The pressure of taking the penalty fell on the young shoulders of midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, but he made no mistake in slamming a superbly taken spot kick into the bottom right-hand corner, well beyond the reach of Kitano’s dive.

Cerezo’s sustained pressure had been rewarded, and they were further in front just two minutes later when a catastrophic defensive error from Young-Gwon Kim allowed compatriot Bo-Kyung Kim to score. Kiyotake, now beginning to seize control in advanced midfield positions, exchanged passes with Hotaru Yamaguchi, and he directed a ball to the feet of Kempes. The forward’s attempted flick should easily have been cut out by the South Korean centre-back, but he miscontrolled, allowing Bo-Kyung Kim to steal, and in his attempt to rectify the error deflected Kim’s shot past Kitano.

Squirrels’ manager Jun Suzuki made an immediate substitution, removing full-back Daisuke Watabe for Kota Ueda, who had been dropped in favour of the largely ineffectual Daigo Watanabe, which provided for a period of pressure for the home side but always ran the risk of leaving the three defenders exposed to a counter-attack. A chance very quickly presented itself for Ardija, but Daisuke Kikuchi planted a powerful header from a Carlinhos free-kick straight at goalkeeper Kim, and with 25 minutes remaining Ardija had the ball in the net but found their celebrations cut short. Daigo Watanabe placed a lovely chipped ball to Rafael near the right edge of the six yard box, which he controlled and shot on the turn to find the bottom left corner, but a late and marginal offside decision from the assistant referee meant the goal was disallowed.

Halfway through the second half, and having failed to heed warnings about their defensive frailties on the counter-attack, Cerezo ended the match as a contest. A rapid counter-attack left Branquinho with the ball midway into Ardija’s half, and spotting Bo Kyung-Kim overlapping to his right, he placed a simple ball into his path, the 22-year old South Korean international lashing past Kitano into the left of the goal. From there it seemed simply a matter of how many more the visitors would score, but substitute Yoichiro Kakitani twice and fellow replacement Ryuji Bando both wasted gilt-edged opportunities to further their advantage. Most importantly, however, Cerezo would collect all three points, and with it, their first J.League Division 1 victory away to Omiya Ardija in their history.

Omiya Ardija Cerezo Osaka
Goalscorers Min Goalscorers Min
Hiroshi Kiyotake 53
Bo-Kyung Kim 55
Bo-Kyung Kim 67
Substitutes Min Substitutes Min
Daisuke Watabe
Kota Ueda
57 Branquinho
Yoichiro Kakitani
70
Jun Kanakubo
Yu Hasegawa
77 Kempes
Ryuji Bando
82
Hiroshi Kiyotake
Ryo Nagai
84
Cautions Min Cautions Min
Takumi Shimohira 9 Bo-Kyung Kim 58
Daisuke Watabe 52 Daisuke Takahashi 60

Omiya Ardija: 4-2-3-1 (Orange); Cerezo Osaka: 4-2-3-1 (Grey)

J.League Division 1 live-blog: 大宮アルディージャ (Omiya Ardija) v. セレッソ大阪 (Cerezo Osaka)

0 Min: Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s liveblog in which I’ll be providing minute-by-minute coverage of Omiya Ardija versus Cerezo Osaka at the NACK5 Stadium. I’ll be bringing you team news within the next 5 minutes.

0 Min: Omiya Ardija – Kitano; Watabe, Kikuchi, Kim, Shimohira; Aoki, Carlinhos, Watanabe, Cho, Kanakubo; Rafael

0 Min: Cerezo Osaka – Kim; Moniwa, Fujimoto, Sakemoto, Takahashi; Ogihara, Yamaguchi, Kim, Kiyotake, Branquinho; Kempes

0 Min: Omiya Ardija Subs – Ezumi; Kataoka, Fukaya; Kanazawa, Ueda; Ichikawa, Hasegawa

0 Min: Cerezo Osaka Subs – Matsui; Yamashita, Funatsu; Kakitani, Kurogi; Bando, Nagai

0 Min: Just the one change for Omiya Ardija from last week’s draw with Nagoya Grampus, Daigo Watanabe replacing Kota Ueda in the midfield, while there are two changes to the Cerezo defence, Kota Fujimoto and Daisuke Takahashi coming in at the expense of Masato Kurogi and Tatsuya Yamashita.

0 Min: And we’re underway, Cerezo Osaka commencing proceedings.

3 Mins: A bright start from Ardija, plenty of possession and good linking play, combined with Cerezo giving the ball away much too cheaply.

4 Mins: An exchange of passes between Daigo Watanabe and Daisuke Watabe finds Rafael on the right edge of the penalty area, but his attempted turn into the box is cut out well by the Cerezo defence.

6 Mins: Young-Cheol Cho with the first shot of the game following good work from Rafael to find him on the Omiya left, his shot at distance testing Jin-Hyun Kim who gathers low to his right.

8 Mins: Takumi Shimohira is the first in the book, although he may feel hard done by as he was withdrawing his leg when Yamaguchi tripped over.

9 Mins: From the resulting free-kick, Bo-Kyung Kim unleashes a powerful shot from 30 yards which Takashi Kitano parries and then collects at the second attempt.

9 Mins A lovely pass from Hiroshi Kiyotake nearly finds Kempes, but defender Young-Gwon Kim takes the ball away from the Brazilian forward with an excellent interception.

12 Mins: Rafael seeing plenty of possession in these early stages for Omiya Ardija, and attempts to play a pass from the left-wing for Jun Kanakubo which is a little too heavy and goes through for a goal kick.

14 Mins: Branquinho, who finds himself alone in plenty of space in the Cerezo left channel, brings the ball closer to goal, and with options around him and under pressure, chooses to shoot, which hits Daisuke Watabe.

18 Mins: Carlinhos with what appears to be his first major contribution of the match drifts a lovely pass to Young-Cheol Cho, who fails to control. Cho then strikes from outside the area, attempting to bend into the top right from the left side of the penalty area, but his effort is some way off target.

20 Mins: Kempes goes very close for the visitors, bringing the ball inside two defenders and shooting left-footed. Takashi Kitano just gets his hand to it to force the ball past his left post. Kitano punches strongly from the corner, and the danger is cleared.

22 Mins: Midway through the first half, and a fairly scrappy game so far. There have been a number of misplaced passes from both sides, Rafael and Carlinhos particularly at fault for the home side, and so far it’s an even contest in midfield, both sides opting for a 4-2-3-1 and cancelling each other out to a large degree.

23 Mins: Hiroshi Kiyotake wins a debatable corner from Daisuke Watabe. Branquinho takes it short, and the ball is returned to him, his cross is punched away by Kitano and Ardija launch a counter attack, Daigo Watanabe and Takumi Shimohira seeing efforts blocked but the centre-back winning a corner for Ardija.

26 Mins: The corner from Carlinhos is cleared, but Shimohira swings in a cross, and lovely control on the chest from Kosuke Kikuchi gives him time to shoot left footed in the penalty area which is just wide of Kim’s left post.

29 Mins: Shimohira nearly sends Young-Cheol Cho through on the Cerezo goal, but Kim is out quickly to thwart the left midfielder.

30 Mins: Branquinho takes a free-kick from the left parallel to the 18 yard line, which Hiroshi Kiyotake meets. The ball is heading goalwards but a deflection from Rafael sends it seemingly for a corner, the referee wrongly awarding a goal kick.

32 Mins: Another free kick in a dangerous area for Cerezo, this time on the right, Branquinho crossing and Kempes directs his header to the bottom right, Kitano diving and sharply saving. Signs Cerezo just starting to dominate.

36 Mins: Corner for Cerezo, a cheeky flick from Kempes coming off Watabe after clever play on the right from Bo-Kyung Kim.

39 Mins: Young Cheol-Cho, following a pass from Rafael, wastes an opportunity for an Omiya Ardija break, directing his floated cross straight into the hands of Kim.

42 Mins: Cho, better this time, confuses Noriyuki Sakemoto on the left touchline, pulling the ball back to Young-Gwon Kim, but his cross finds Rafael in an offside position.

43 Mins: Rafael finds Daigo Watanabe in the penalty area, but an excellent tackle from Kota Fujimoto takes the ball away from his feet just as he was lining up to shoot.

44 Mins: POST! Cerezo break, Hiroshi Kiyotake passing to Kempes, and his first time pass to the right of the penalty area is collected by Branquinho. He fires a shot which hits the right post and goes for a goal kick. The closest we’ve come to a goal so far.

45 Mins: Into first half stoppage time, a match that thus far has been light on quality and incident, save for Branquinho’s quality at set pieces and his shot which hit the post, and the occasional piece of skill from Kempes, Hiroshi Kiytake and Young-Cheol Cho.

45 Mins+1: And there’s the half-time whistle. Omiya will be expecting better from Carlinhos in the second period, whose passing and decision making has been uncharacteristically poor to this point.

HT: Omiya Ardija 0 Cerezo Osaka 0

45 Mins: The referee blows for the start of the second half, and we’re back underway at the NACK5 Stadium.

48 Mins: Cerezo should be leading in this match. Kempes receives the ball on the left, and doing brilliantly to stay on his feet – arguably he could have been given a penalty with Takuya Aoki’s challenge little more than a a hold and barge – passes to Branquinho. He takes a first time shot from four yards but fires wide of the left post with the goal at his mercy.

50 Mins: PENALTY! Branquinho takes a free-kick from 40 yards, and Daisuke Watabe is clearly pulling Kempes back, who would have been clean through on goal. Watabe is booked, and while he protests, there should be little complaint about the decision.

52 Mins: GOAL! Hiroshi Kiyotake is the man to take the penalty. While Kitano guesses correctly, Kiyotake drives a superb penalty into the bottom right corner. There’s nothing Kitano could do about that.

52 Mins: Omiya Ardija 0 Cerezo Osaka 1

54 Mins: GOAL! Kiyotake links well with Hotaru Yamaguchi, and Kiyotake’s pass into the box is collected by Kempes. His flick should be cut out by Young-Gwon Kim, but his miscontrols, and the ball falls to Bo-Kyung Kim, who shoots, deflecting off Young-Gwon Kim and into the net.

54 Mins: Omiya Ardija 0 Cerezo Osaka 2

56 Mins: Omiya Ardija make their first change, Daisuke Watabe being replaced by midfielder Kota Ueda.

58 Mins: Carlinhos bends a free-kick from the Omiya right, which is headed powerfully goalwards by Daisuke Kikuchi. Unfortunately for the Squirrels, it’s straight at Kim.

59 Mins: Hiroshi Kiyotake goes into the book for kicking the ball away, shortly after Bo-Kyung Kim had also received a yellow card for Cerezo.

60 Mins: Ardija attacking at will, but with one fewer in defence they are vulnerable to quick counter-attacks. Branquinho releases Kempes on the right, but he is on his own, and shut down by Young-Gwon Kim, slices a shot well wide of the right post.

62 Mins: Bo-Kyung Kim collects a pass from Branquinho on the right, and turning inside, bends a left-footed shot narrowly over the left upright.

65 Mins: Cerezo under sustained pressure, and Rafael finds the net with a shot into the bottom left corner, a lovely chipped cross from Daigo Watanabe allowing the Brazilian to control and turn, but it is ruled out for offside. It seems a marginal decision.

67 Mins: GOAL! My worries about Omiya’s depleted defence were accurate. A quick counter-attack leads to Branquinho finding the ball midway in the Omiya half, and with Bo Kyung-Kim overlapping, he lays the ball off to the Korean, and his shot is too strong for Kitano, beating him on his left side.

67 Mins: Omiya Ardija 0 Cerezo Osaka 3

68 Mins:Kempes goes close for Cerezo this time, shooting across the angle from the left, and with Kitano beaten, it just beats Kitano’s left post.

70 Mins: The first substitution for the visitors, Yoichiro Kakitani replacing Branquinho.

71 Mins: It’s safe to say the two goals for Cerezo in the space of two minutes changed the complexion of this match entirely, and the third has killed off any attempted Ardija fightback.

73 Mins: A terrific run from Yoichui Kakitani turns Kosuke Kikuchi inside out following a move which began with goalkeeper Kim, and Kitano stops at his near post to prevent what would have been an outstanding goal. Kitano, who has probably been Ardija’s best performer, then collects the corner in the centre of his six yard box.

76 Mins: A further replacement for Ardija, Jun Kanakubo making way for Ju Hasegawa. His first action is to defend another Cerezo corner, which Kitano catches easily.

78 Mins: Daigo Watanabe tries his luck from distance on the Omiya right, but his left-footed effort fails to trouble Kim, sliding well over the cross bar.

80 Mins: The eighth corner for Cerezo is taken short, but Omiya defend well and draw the ball away from the penalty area. Takumi Shimohira crosses from close to the goalline on the left, which goalkeeper Kim takes. The goalkeeper requires some attention in the meantime, colliding with an Omiya forward when landing.

81 Mins: Ryuji Bando will have ten minutes for Cerezo, Kempes’s contribution to this match now over.

83 Mins: Cerezo making their final change of the afternoon, goalscorer Hiroshi Kiyotake being substituted for Ryo Nagai. Kiyotake had been warned of his conduct following his booking.

86 Mins: A deflected shot from Kosuke Kikuchi from 25 yards is seen early enough by Takashi Kitano to change direction and catch in the right of his goal.

87 Mins: Assuming Omiya don’t score three goals in as many minutes, this will be the first ever J.League Division 1 victory for Cerezo Osaka at Omiya Ardija.

88 Mins: A moment which sums up Ardija’s frustrating afternoon. Ju Hasegawa miscontrols in the penalty from a Rafael pass. Had he controlled, he would have had a very good chance to score.

90 Mins: There will be four minutes of stoppage time. Takuya Aoki lines up a shot from 23 yards, but it’s wide of Kim’s left post, who had the shot convered.

90 Mins+2: Cerezo Osaka have a 4 v 2, Kakitani’s run taking him to the edge of the penalty area. He turns inside a defender and is one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but Kitano closes down the angle and Kakitani shoots straight at him. It should really have been four.

90 Mins+3: It should really have been four again. Ryuji Bando collects a pass inside the Ardija penalty area, but his left footed shot across the angle from 8 yards is just wide of Kitano’s left post.

90 Mins+4: The referee blows his whistle to bring this match to a close.

FT: Omiya Ardija 0 Cerezo Osaka 3

FT: Three goals inside fourteen minutes ended Omiya’s hopes, a Kiyotake penalty and then two added by Bo-Kyung Kim sealing the victory for Cerezo which lifts them into third in the table on goal difference as it stands.

FT: Thank you for joining me. A full match report will follow later today.

J.League Division 1: Matchday Five live-blog schedule – 大宮アルディージャ (Omiya Ardija) v. セレッソ大阪 (Cerezo Osaka)

From 7:30 BST/15:30 JST I’ll be live-blogging the J.League Division 1 match between Omiya Ardija and Cerezo Osaka at the NACK5 Stadium. Of the two sides Cerezo have started the season more brightly, sitting comfortably in the upper half of the table, having taken all three points in the Osaka derby and at Kawasaki Frontale, with the only defeat occurring at the hands of table-topping Vegalta Sendai. The Squirrels, meanwhile, occupy the same thirteenth position in which they ended the 2011 campaign, and will be looking to improve on an opening in which they have averaged just a goal per game and managed a single victory. Omiya may take some comfort in knowing that they have never been beaten at home in a J.League Division 1 fixture by Cerezo, and it promises to be an intriguing match-up between the teams which finished just one space apart last season. Join me from 8:00 BST/16:00 JST for kick-off.

The Daily Round-up

(Masanobu Matsunami, promoted to the managerial position at Gamba Osaka following the sacking of Jose Carlos Serrao, and who becomes the youngest current J.League Division boss at 37 years of age, reflects on his achievement as the youngest player in J.League history to score a hat-trick. Matsunami was one day shy of his 19th birthday when he netted three times on 20 November 1993)

The Japan universities’ selection scored a goal in extra-time to seal a comeback victory against the South Korean universities’ side, emerging with a 2-1 win in the 9th Annual Denso Cup competition, the Asahi Shimbun reports. Played on 25 March at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Seung-Woo Nam gave the visitors the lead in the second-half, before half-time substitutes Nobuyuki Shiina and Jin Izumisawa responded for the home team, with Izumisawa’s goal coming in the final period of extra-time. It was the All Japan University Selections’ first triumph over South Korea in four years, their record now four wins, three losses and two draws.

Daisuke Suzuki, the 22 year-old Albirex Niigata centre-back and Under-23 Samurai Blue, will be out of action for a short period after damaging his right medical collateral ligament during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Nagoya Grampus, the Mainichi Shimbun confirms. Suzuki, who was an ever-present during Japan’s successful AFC Group C qualification for the London 2012 games, is expected to return in two to three weeks.

The Mainichi Shimbun adds that Kenyu Sugimoto will be leaving Cerezo Osaka on loan to J.League Division 2 outfit Tokyo Verdy. Sugimoto has been named as a substitute just once in the 2012 season, and will leave for the Ajinomoto Stadium immediately with the loan set to expire on 17 July. The 19 year-old forward, who made his sole appearance for the Japan U-23 side in February’s 4-0 London 2012 qualification victory over Malaysia as an 83rd minute substitute, joins a side currently sitting fourth in the table and with its sights set on promotion to Division 1.

And finally, The Sankei Shimbun has more on the upheaval at Gamba Osaka following Jose Carlos Serrao’s sacking. Masanobu Matsunami, who at 37 becomes J.League Division 1’s youngest current manager, admitted that his promotion is a big challenge to take on, but that he wants to revive the aggressive, attacking approach Gamba is known for and that neither qualification for the latter stages of the AFC Champions League or the J.League title are out of reach. With a large number of supporters watching the training session in Suita, the former Gamba player, who admitted that he was approached to take over immediately following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Jubilo Iwata, and who describes himself as having “blue blood running through his veins” looked visibly at home and calmly dissected Gamba’s current predicament. Acknowledging a return of four goals scored and twelve conceded in just five games is insufficient, he added that “[if] you are able to sustain an attacking rhythm, the defence will follow accordingly.”

The Daily Round-up

The Mainichi Shimbun reports that the Yokohama F-Marinos defender Takashi Amano faces eight months on the sidelines in his fight to recover from the anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained during pre-season training in October.

The newspaper also confirms that Italian giants AC Milan have opened their second soccer school in Japan. The soccer school is located in the small city of Yufu, Oita Prefecture, which joins the school in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture in the Rossoneri’s growing overseas operations.

The Mainichi Shimbun adds that the date of the All Japan Women’s Football Championship, the L.League equivalent of the Emperor’s Cup, is being changed from the traditional New Year’s Day fixture to 24 December. The change has been made in the hope of attracting more spectators to the women’s final, with what is regarded as the final match of the football season previously being only a prelude to the Emperor’s Cup.

Bad news for Shinji Okazaki and VfB Stuttgart, notes the Asahi Shimbun. Okazaki damaged ligaments in his right knee during training on 14 March, and will miss the next two to three weeks including the 16 March fixture against TSG Hoffenheim.

The Nikkei Shimbun leads with a story confirming that the Nadeshiko remain at third place in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking. There have been no changes to the first seven places, but only 52 points separate the top three of United States, Germany and Japan.

And finally, the Sankei Shumbun turns its attention to the Osaka derby. As outlined in the Matchday 2 preview here, Gamba’s hold over Cerezo Osaka is almost total. However coach Jose Carlos Serrao has apologised to supporters following a poor start to the season in which Gamba began with a 3-0 home defeat to South Korea’s Pohang Steelers in the AFC Champions League, with Vissel Kobe taking three points at the Osaka Expo ’70 Stadium on the opening day of the J.League Division 1 season. In an interview at a closed training session held on 16 March, Serrao stated that “if we win [at Cerezo] tomorrow, it will be a turning point”.

Cerezo Osaka’s coach Sérgio Soares, meanwhile, has included Under-23 Samurai Blue players Hiroshi Kiyotake, Hotaru Yamaguchi and Takahiro Ogihara in his squad for the match, despite their exertions in the 2-0 victory over Bahrain which secured a berth at London 2012.

J.League releases fixtures for 2012 season

The J.League has released the opening fixtures for the 2012 season. The Japanese Super Cup, the traditional curtain raiser for the professional football season and contested by the current champions of J.League Division One and the holders of the Emperor’s Cup has been pencilled in for 3 March. A new name will be inscribed in the history books as neither Kashiwa Reysol nor FC Tokyo have previously been successful in the one-off fixture.

The Sun Kings, having become the first team in J.League history to capture the Division One title while being reigning Division Two championship holders, will begin what they hope will be a strong defence at home in an intriguing fixture against Yokohama F-Marinos. While the Marinos finished in fifth position in 2011, the appointment of Yasuhiro Higuchi as manager following the sacking of Kazushi Kimura in December has puzzled. Higuchi fared poorly during his managerial reign at Yokohama FC and had a mediocre record in spells at both Omiya Ardija and Montedio Yamagata.

In what is sure to be an emotional fixture, Vegalta Sendai will meet Kashima Antlers at the Yurtec Stadium almost exactly a year to the day the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region. Both the Yurtec Stadium and the Kashima Soccer Stadium were badly damaged as a result of the earthquake, which with the subsequent tsunami ravaged the northeast coast of Honshu causing thousands of fatalities and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

The promoted Consadole Sapporo will open their campaign at the Sapporo Dome pitched against Júbilo Iwata. Consa will be aiming to avoid a repeat of their one previous appearance in the top division in 2008, when they mustered only four victories, suffered twenty four defeats, and conceded seventy goals in limping to a paltry eighteen points.

J.League Division One, 10 March

Consadole Sapporo vs Júbilo Iwata
Vegalta Sendai vs Kashima Antlers
Omiya Ardija vs FC Tokyo
Kawasaki Frontale vs Albirex Niigata
Nagoya Grampus vs Shimizu S-Pulse
Gamba Osaka vs Vissel Kobe
Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Urawa Red Diamonds
Sagan Tosu vs Cerezo Osaka

J.League Division One, 11 March

Kashiwa Reysol vs Yokohama F-Marinos

(This fixture has been moved to 11 March by the J.League. On 7 March Buriram PEA FC will entertain Kashiwa Reysol in Thailand, in what is the first of their 2012 AFC Champions League Group H qualification games. Both Gamba Osaka and Nagoya Grampus play their opening 2012 Champions League fixtures at home on 7 March, while FC Tokyo meet Brisbane Roar in Australia a day earlier)

J.League Division Two, 4 March

Mito HollyHock vs Yokohama FC
JEF United Ichihara Chiba vs Montedio Yamagata
Shonan Bellmare vs Kyoto Sanga FC
FC Gifu vs Gainare Tottori
Tokyo Verdy vs Matsumoto Yamaga
Ventforet Kofu vs Tochigi SC
Fagiano Okayama vs Kataller Toyama
Ehime FC vs Machida Zelvia
Avispa Fukuoka vs Roasso Kumamoto
Giravanz Kitakyushu vs Tokushima Vortis
Oita Trinita vs Thespa Kusatsu

The Daily Round-Up

The return of Consadole Sapporo to J.League Division One after an absence of three years caught the interest of The Asahi Shimbun. Hokkaido’s sole representative in the professional game in Japan held a social event on 15 January to “Kick Off 2012″. Approximately 6,000 fans gathered at the Sapporo Dome to hear the thoughts of manager Nobuhiro Ishizaki and his players.

Consadole’s squad numbers some thirty-three players for the 2012 season, with seven transferring from other clubs, including the veteran forward Hideo Oshima. The 31 year-old striker has scored 106 goals in 403 appearances since his debut in March 1998, but whose playing time last season on loan at JEF United Chiba from Albirex Niigata was limited to just nine matches, scoring three goals in that time.

Ryuji Kawai captained the side during its successful push for promotion in 2011, and will see his attacking options bolstered by the recruitment of Shunsuke Maeda from Oita Trinita. The feisty 25 year-old forward scored eight times in 28 starts for the Azzurro, but also collected ten yellow cards and a sending off in that time. One interesting addition to the squad could be that of Issei Takayanagi, the former Sanfrecce Hiroshima player whose prolonged absence through a cruciate ligament injury ensured he missed all but the final two months of the J.League season and which resulted in his release by Sanfre.

Following Tatsuya Yamashita’s decision to return to Kansai and his former club Cerezo Osaka, Naoto Matsuo was signed from Shonan Bellmare to provide some additional cover in the defence, while five former youth team members have been promoted to the senior squad.

Consadole have begun their pre-season in Sapporo, with a camp in Guam to follow at the end of January, before moving to Kumamoto from February 12.

The Daily Yomiuri notes that Yokohama F-Marinos manager Yasuhiro Higuchi has set a target of qualification for the AFC Asian Champions League for the season. The 50 year-old from Mie believes that a tally of 68 points is sufficient to secure a berth in the competition, despite three teams breaking the 70 points barrier in the 2011 season.

And finally, Nippon Sports focuses on the Samurai Blue’s quest to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic football tournament. Preparations for the match against Syria in Jordan on 5 February have been hit by the withdrawal of Cerezo Osaka ace Hiroshi Kiyotake from the training camp in Guam owing to tonsillitis. The 22 year-old attacking midfield player, who has featured on several occasions for the senior national team, is a key member of the U-23 unit, and a failure to recover in time will come as a significant blow to the squad.

(The Sapporo Dome in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The dome features a retractable grass pitch which is moved into the stadium on a bed of air when football matches are played)