In a tight, tactically interesting affair light on entertainment, Nagoya Grampus limited their own attacking instincts and shackled Vegalta Sendai to record their first goalless draw of the 2012 campaign at the Toyota Stadium, and prevented Makoto Teguramori’s men from scoring for only the third time this season.
Two defensive lapses either side of the half-time break handed Jubilo Iwata their second consecutive defeat, goals from Jungo Fujimoto and Kensuke Nagai giving a competent but uninspiring Nagoya Grampus team the three points, and delivering a jolt to any championship pretensions the Shizuoka Prefecture side may have. Compounding Jubilo’s difficulties was the early enforced substitution of goalkeeper Naoki Hatta, damaging a finger after colliding with teammate Yuichi Komano inside seven minutes, and after lengthy treatment for what appeared to be either a dislocation or break, saw him replaced by Akihiko Takeshige, whose contribution would prove critical to the outcome of this contest.
Dragan Stojković and his Nagoya Grampus team were left to reflect on what might have been had they taken one of many chances and not faced an opposition goalkeeper in Eugene Galekovic who was in excellent form and who produced one of the saves of the tournament so far. Instead, one of the three Japanese sides through to the knockout stage bade farewell to the 2012 AFC Champions League, losing to a 42nd minute goal from Adelaide United defender Jon McKain, who scored in slightly fortuitious circumstances.
After Grampus goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki had been forced to push behind a teasing cross from the effervescent left-midfielder Iain Ramsay, Dario Vidosic’s corner was headed goalwards by Nigel Boogard, the defender another Reds player who acquitted himself well during this match. Taking a deflection off Daniel, McKain somehow managed to insert himself in between Shohei Abe at the back post and Narazaki, to find the touch needed to send the ball into the net and out of reach of Josh Kennedy’s desperate goalline lunge.
Beyond Fabian Barbiero passing up a glorious opportunity of wrapping up victory seven minutes from the end of play, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the Grampus eighteen-yard box and haring past Takahiro Masukawa before blazing over Narizaki’s crossbar, and a thunderous twenty yard strike from substitute and Adelaide favourite Sergio Van Dijk which didn’t dip enough and cannoned back off the woodwork, control of the tie, most particularly in the second period, was largely that of the visitors.
Eight minutes of the first period remained when Jungo Fujimoto and Josh Kennedy linked well on the left, the Australian striker unselfishly pulling the ball back for Keiji Tamada when he could have taken the option to shoot, but his fellow forward lashed his shot over the crossbar under little pressure and when he should certainly have found the target.
On 63 minutes Fujimoto, whose set piece delivery would trouble United regularly during the course of the contest, bent a free-kick beyond the penalty spot, Masukawa meeting the ball but directing it too close to Galekovic from eight yards. While the keeper did well to scoop the ball behind for a corner, the defender failed to place the ball in the yawning gap to Galekovic’s left, and surely would have scored with a more precise finish.
Masukawa nearly made amends fifteen minutes from time, as he intercepted to the right of the Adelaide eighteen yard area and whipped a delivery that substitute Mu Kanazaki, who surprisingly replaced Keiji Tamada at half-time, attempted to steer into the net with a falling header, but again Galekovic pushed it away from goal.
Moments later Masukawa was again involved, this time to Grampus’s deficit, a Fujimoto corner from the right finding Kennedy’s head on the edge of the six yard box. It was on the way to goal when it was diverted away from danger by the defender’s shoulder, and Tulio was unable to apply the necessary contact amid complaints that he had been pulled down by Bruce Djite, a potential offence being one of many missed by official Abdul Malik who proved maddeningly inconsistent over the 90 minutes.
Fujimoto came within inches of levelling for his side in the dying moments of the match. Evan Kostopoulos, who had only been on the pitch for ten minutes, gave away a free-kick 25 yards from goal in stoppage time. With Malik failing to add additional time on to the three already specified while ensuring the United defensive wall had retreated to the required distance, it became Grampus’s last chance of the match. His set piece cleared the wall, but while Galekovic was beaten on this occasiion, the ball clipped the wrong side of the right upright.
The goalkeeper’s best moment was reserved for the first half, however, and it came seven minutes before McKain had bundled home. A wicked delivery from Shohei Abe was headed downwards by Kennedy, who would have been convinced that he was going to score. Galekovic confounded his expectations with an extraordinary reaction save, flinging out a strong palm to turn the ball high behind for a corner and drawing admiring comparisons to Gordon Banks’s famous stop from Pele in the 1970 World Cup, and he then immediately followed up with two punches to clear dangerous crosses from either side of the penalty area.
It was fitting that the final action of the match would see the ball in man of the match Galekovic’s hands, before he cleared long downfield and started his team’s celebrations. In his most-match comments Stojković paid tribute to United’s stopper, saying “[He] was absolutely fantastic today, the most valuable player and hero of the game – his saves were incredible.” Grampus now face the challenge of attempting to qualify for the 2013 incarnation of the competition, the most immediate task being to break out of the number of teams around the relegation places, and only then building a series of results which could see them challenge for the top four when J.League Division One resumes on 16 June.
|Adelaide United||Nagoya Grampus|
Sergio Van Dijk
Three Japanese teams are in AFC Champions League action this week, and Nagoya Grampus will be the first to attempt to qualify for the quarter-finals as they travel to Australia to meet Adelaide United on Tuesday 29 May for the single-tie elimination contest.
United’s progress through the competition has been interesting, a third placed-finish in the 2010-11 season enough to secure their place in the tournament, but they were elevated to an automatic group position only after China’s Liaoning Whowin and Indonesian club Persipura Jayapura had withdrawn their participation. They made the most of the opportunity, topping Group E and losing only once on the way to the Round of 16, and will provide a stern test at the Hindmarsh Stadium.
The two draws Dragan Stojković’s side completed versus Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma cost them the chance of winning Group G outright, particularly allowing Héverton’s 93rd minute equaliser on Matchday One, and which prompted the trip overseas. They may need to be ruthless with any openings which come their way against a defence which only conceded two goals across their six group games, though they may be encouraged by a team whose form in the Champions League has not been replicated in the domestic competition. That, however, could apply equally to Grampus themselves.
Join me from 10:30 BST/19:30 JST when I’ll be covering the match in full here at Football Japan, with kick-off scheduled for 11:00 BST/18:00 JST. I do hope you can join me for this encounter.
(A fan in the Yurtec Stadium captures Ryang Yong-Gi’s 38th minute opener for Vegalta Sendai, giving the home side the platform to run out 4-0 winners and extend their lead at the top of J.League Division 1 to five points)
Vegalta Sendai ruthlessly exploited Nagoya Grampus’ lack of composure in front of goal and defensive frailities to run out 4-0 winners at the Yurtec Stadium, in a match the visitors could quite easily have been leading at half-time. Grampus Manager Dragan Stojković will bemoan his side’s inability to convert their domination of possession, territory and chances, both Taishi Taguchi and Josh Kennedy having opportunities to properly reflect their side’s superiority, while poor decision-making in midfield prevented the guests from further benefitting from their authoritative display in the first period.
Although Vegalta had provided a warning of their ability to counter-attack with Sekiguchi’s astonishing miss from two yards, the opening goal seven minutes before the interval was unexpected and almost entirely against the run of play. Shingo Akamine, stationed on the left, clipped a pass for Sekiguchi to run on to, which deflected off Hayuma Tanaka. The right-back was the clear favourite to pick up the loose ball, but inattentive and careless in not noticing the Vegalta left-winger behind him, Sekiguchi’s acceleration allowed him to burst clear. Driving into the penalty area, his low cross was blocked away by Seigo Narazaki, but fell kindly to Ryang Yong-Gi to drive low into the goal at the near post. Narazaki, who had done so well to prevent Sekiguchi from finding a teammate inside the penalty area, had recovered his position and may consider himself at fault for allowing the North Korean international to beat him on his right-hand side so easily.
Having taken the advantage and fortunate not to be going into the interval behind, Vegalta benefitted from a dreadful Takahiro Masukawa error on the stroke of half-time to double their lead, dealing a significant blow to any possibility of a Grampus fightback in the second period. Five minutes had been added on owing to a serious injury to Danilson and the consequent enforced substitution, and Grampus were required to defend two corners in quick succession. Ryang’s second delivery found a deep-lying Shingo Akamine, and aided by some very poor positioning on the part of Kensuke Nagai, the forward headed back across goal. Facing his own net, Masukawa attempted to clear behind for a further corner, but merely succeeded in diverting the ball via his thigh over the head of Jungo Fujimoto on the goal-line.
As fortunate Vegalta had been to be ahead at the break, defending more compactly and better able to withstand any Grampus attempts to bring themselves into the match, they proved devastating on the counter-attack for a third goal which put the result beyond any doubt. Grampus centre-half Tulio Tanaka, taking up a familiar advanced role in search of gaining a foothold in the match, strode down the left-wing before cutting past Makoto Kakuda on the edge of the penalty area. His right-footed shot was through the legs of Takuto Hayashi, but a superb clearance on the goal line from Jiro Kamata led to Yoshiaki Ota receiving the ball on the right just inside the Grampus half. The 28 year-old midfielder skipped inside Daniel, and he found the perfect defence-splitting pass to send Wilson clear between Hayuma Tanaka and Takahiro Masukawa, the Brazilian finishing with aplomb low to Narazaki’s right from twelve yards. Wilson had been anonymous for most of this contest, his contribution to this point limited to twice appealing for penalties under the most minimal of pressure, but he underscored his importance to this Vegalta side with a clinical finish.
Naoki Sugai completed the scoring as the match entered added time, and Grampus were again at fault from a set piece. As an outswinging Vegalta corner curled into the penalty area from the right, Makoto Kakuda ran to the edge of the six yard area unimpeded, rising above Masukawa to powerfully head downwards. Narazaki made an excellent reaction stop diving to his right, but Sugai followed-up to send the rebound home.
With Shimizu S-Pulse defeated earlier in the day by Urawa Red Diamonds, Vegalta’s first victory in May allowed them to move five points clear of S-Pa and Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who joined the Shizuoka Prefecture side on 22 points following their 3-2 victory over Vissel Kobe.
|Vegalta Sendai||Nagoya Grampus|
|Makoto Kakuda||58||Tulio Tanaka||37|
0 Min: Vegalta Sendai have the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of J.League Division 1 to five points, after Shimizu S-Pulse fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Urawa Red Diamonds. However, while the Miyagi Prefecture outfit have led the table for a prolonged period, they are yet to win a fixture in May, and face a Nagoya Grampus side now able to give their full attention to the domestic campaign on the back of a 3-0 victory over Central Coast Mariners which ensured their progress to the latter stages of the AFC Champions League. Stay with me as I bring you team news from the Yurtec Stadium, on an overcast but relatively mild evening in Sendai.
0 Min: Vegalta Sendai – Hayashi; Sugai, Kamata, Uemoto, Tamura; Tomita, Kakuda, Sekiguchi, Ryang Y-G; Wilson, Akamine
Substitutes – Sakurai; Watanabe, Uchiyama; Matsushita, Ota; Muto, Yanagisawa
0 Min: Nagoya Grampus – Narazaki; Tanaka Hayuma, Tanaka Tulio, Masukawa, Abe; Taguchi. Danilson, Fujimoto; Nagai, Josh Kennedy, Tamada
Substitutes – Takagi; Daniel, Alessandro Santos; Yoshimura, Tanabe; Kanazaki, Tanaka Teruki
0 Min: Vegalta Sendai supporters have launched into a stirring, full-blooded rendition of the club anthem “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. Incredibly impressive.
0 Min: Both sides have taken to the field, the routine handshakes are undertaken, and the captains Ryang Yong-Gi for Vegalta Sendai and Seigo Narazaki for Grampus decide the coin toss, in a match which will be overseen by Masaaki Uemoto.
1 Min: Nagoya Grampus kick-off, and a long pass from midfield runs all the way through to Takuto Hayashi in the Vegalta goal, who clears downfield for a Grampus throw-in.
2 Mins: Kensuke Nagai finds teammate Jungo Fujimoto on the right, and he plays the ball off Jiro Kamata to earn his side a corner, which Fujimoto takes.
3 Mins: Shingo Tomita heads away for another corner at the near post. The second delivery is headed clear of the penalty area, and although Kennedy makes a clean connection with his shot from the edge of the area, it’s blocked and Vegalta clear.
6 Mins: It’s a positive opening from Nagoya Grampus.
10 Mins: Taishi Taguchi heads narrowly wide of Hayashi’s right upright.
15 Mins: Danilson has a set piece from 35 yard, awarded after Taikai Uemoto had been deemed to be holding Josh Kennedy, and Vegalta choose to only place two men in the wall. Danilson’s strike clears the wall easily, and although headed straight at Hayashi, the goalkeeper fumbles, and Makoto Kakuda is required to knock the ball away for a corner to tidy up with Kennedy and Takahiro Masukawa looming.
18 Mins: A terrible miss from Kunimitsu Sekiguchi after excellent play from Shingao Akamine and Ryang Yong-Gi. Akamine’s pass down the left channel released Ryang, and his pass across the six yard area was weighted perfectly for Sekiguchi to tap-in from two yards. Astonishingly, he knocks the ball wide.
20 Mins: Twenty minutes played, it’s Vegalta Sendai 0 Nagoya Grampus 0.
22 Mins: It seems Grampus are going to be forced into making an early change. Danilson, whose knee buckled in a challenge with Shingo Timota, signals to the bench that he can no longer continue. He exits the field on a stretcher, and is replaced by Keiji Yoshimuira.
26 Mins: Josh Kennedy and Keiji Tamada exchange passes, Kennedy bringing the ball down wonderfully from Tamada’s lobbed ball, but the volley is mis-hit and it’s well wide of Hayashi’s right upright.
28 Mins: A player from either side are down on the field, Tulio Tanaka who took a kick to the foot in challenging for an earlier ball with Akamine, while Taikai Uemoto struggles to his feet after an off-the-ball incident with Kennedy.
30 Mins: Nagoya Grampus have five attempts on goal thus far, the home side with just one. Ryang Yong-Gi attempts to even up the count a little as he delivers a set piece from forty yards deep into the penalty area, but Akamine is unable to reach it and the ball is over the touchline for a goal-kick.
32 Mins: Keiji Tamada surges down the left-wing past Naoki Sugai, before turning back and passing to Jungo Fujimoto two yards infield. He finds Shohei Abe, whose vicious cross is superbly headed away by Naoya Tamura.
34 Mins: This is a very dominant performance from Grampus at this stage. The early enforced absence of Danilson has done little to blunt the attacking flair of the forward three, and Keiji Yoshimura is proving a more than capable deputy.
36 Mins: A lovely turn in midfield from Keiji Tamada allows him to pick out Jungo Fujimoto on the left. Fujimoto chooses the wrong option for the pass, however, intending to slip a pass through to Kensuke Nagai when Tamada would have proved the simpler and better option.
37 Mins: The first booking of the match. Tulio Tanaka had given the ball in midfield, and was struggling to get back into position, so chose to clip the ankles of Makoto Kakuda.
38 Mins: GOAL! It’s completely against the run of play, and it’s Vegalta who take the lead. Shingo Akamine clips a pass for Kunimitsu Sekiguchi to run on to, the ball deflecting off Hayuma Tanaka. Tanaka may be caught unawares as he appears to think he has time and space to clear, but the the acceleration of the left-winger allows him to burst clear of the right-back, and although his low cross is blocked out by Seigo Narazaki, Ryang Yong-Gi is on hand to drive low into the goal at the near post. Goalkeeper Narazaki may have been expecting Ryang to cut the ball across goal, and having recovered from his earlier block, might have done better.
40 Mins: More pressure from Grampus, two good deliveries from Jungo Fujimoto on the left into the penalty area but expertly dealt with by an impressive Vegalta defence.
43 Mins: Vegalta retaining possession of the ball in defence, attempting to impose a slower rhythm than they had been allowed to play by a very dynamic, attack-minded Grampus side.
45 Mins: There will be five minutes of added time to play at the end of a very exciting first period.
45 Mins+4: GOAL! Grampus are required to defend two corners in quick succession, and it is the second they are unable to prevent from finding the net. Ryang Yong-Gi whipped the corner to the back post, Makoto Kakuda heading goalwards. In attempting to clear out for a further corner, Takahiro Masukawa only succeeds in putting the ball into his own net over the head of Jungo Fujimoto on the goalline, and Vegalta double their lead after a first-half in which they should really have gone into the interval behind.
45 Mins+4: Vegalta Sendai 2 Nagoya Grampus 0
45 Mins+5: Masaaki Uemoto blows his whistle to bring the first period to a close.
HT: Vegalta Sendai 2 Nagoya Grampus 0 HT: Grampus Manager Dragan Stojković will doubtless be bewildered as to how his side are behind at the break after dominating possession, territory and chances. Whether the second goal, which came on the stroke of half-time, will prove the decisive blow remains to be seen, but Grampus will almost certainly need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to retain any hope of taking something from this match.
46 Mins: A second change for Grampus, Mu Kanazaki coming on for Taishi Taguchi.
50 Mins: Grampus could be three behind, defensive foibles exemplified by Seigo Narazaki who is unable to hold on to the simplest of crosses, presented to him by Sekiguchi, and Shohei Abe is called upon once more to clear away down the left-hand side.
57 Mins: Makoto Kakuda is shown a yellow card.
58 Mins: Makoto Kakuda attempts to strike from distance, and he forces Seigo Narazaki to go low to his right to make sure of the save. Kunimitsu Sekiguchi, who together with Ryang Yong-Gi has been at the heart of nearly everything Vegalta have created, was the player who provided the pass to find Kakuda in the hole.
60 Mins: Daniel is on as a substitute, and it is Keiji Tamada who makes way.
62 Mins: Tulio Tanaka rises well in the air to meet Jungo Fujimoto’s cross from the left, but it’s well clear of Takuto Hayashi’s crossbar. He looks disappointed, but it wasn’t the easiest of balls to control.
65 Mins: Vegalta have now fully imposed themselves on this encounter. Set up to counter-attack against what now seems an unbalanced away side, they are very comfortable in resisting Grampus attacks.
65 Mins: Wilson and Akamine link on the left-hand side, and gain a corner after Akamine plays the ball off Naoki Sugai.
68 Mins: Ryang’s initial cross is put behind for a further corner, to the consternation of his own defenders, by Daniel. Ryang strolls over to the opposite side of the field to take, which first Tulio and then Kanazaki clear.
72 Mins: Taikai Uemoto is in some considerable pain as he takes a knock to his knee during a challenge with Keiji Yoshimura, and he is immediately replaced by Kodai Watanabe.
76 Mins: The pace of the match has dropped somewhat, as Grampus try to find a way through a more compact Vegalta midfield. A cross is sent over from the left by Jungo Fujimoto, but it’s easily claimed by Takuto Hayashi.
77 Mins: Seigo Narazaki makes a good stop, diving to his right as Akamine unleashed a powerful drive from outside the penalty area.
79 Mins: Toshihiro Matsushita is on the field, in place of Shingo Akamine.
82 Mins: Mu Kanazaki undoes all his good work on the right-wing with a single touch. Dispossessing Naoya Tamura, he fired a quick pass to Fujimoto, who played the ball back into his path. He has the opportunity to play the ball square across goal, but he skews his cross and it is straight into the hands of Hayashi.
84 Mins: Yoshiaki Ota replaces Ryang Yong-Gi, who has been excellent today.
85 Mins: A deep cross from the right touchline, is headed back across by Daniel, which is easily taken away from the box by Naoya Tamura at pace. It seems he is going to go all the way, his run taking him to the edge of the penalty area, but he is just crowded out as he looks to get a shot away. A wonderful run from the defender.
86 Mins: GOAL! Immediately after Tulio Tanaka has a shot superbly cleared off the line by Jiro Kamata, Vegalta break. Yoshiaki Ota, collecting the ball on the right just inside the Grampus half, skips inside Daniel and finds a defence-splitting pass which allows Wilson to run unimpeded into the area. He calmly slots the ball to the right of the out-rushing Seiko Narazaki from 14 yards. This match is over, seconds after Tulio Tanaka must have through he had given his side a lifeline.
86 Mins: Vegalta Sendai 3 Nagoya Grampus 0
90 Mins: GOAL! Vegalta have a corner, and it’s curled right footed into the penalty area. Takahiro Masukawa is not in the best position to challenge Makoto Kakuda for the ball, and the Vegalta midfielder is able to direct his header on target. Narzaki makes a fine save, but Naoki Sugai is the first to react to the rebound and he knocks home to add a fourth for the home side.
90 Mins: Vegalta Sendai 4 Nagoya Grampus 0
90 Mins+3 With five minutes of added time to play, the crowd are in full voice after a second half in which Vegalta were well worth all four goals.
90 Mins+5: Masaaki Uemoto looks at his watch and brings the match to a close, having booked Takahiro Masukawa.
FT: Vegalta Sendai 4 Nagoya Grampus 0
FT: Dragan Stojković was forced into taking a risk by adding an extra forward to his side and destabilising his midfield in seeking a toehold in the game, and Vegalta were ruthless in exploiting the space in midfield and quickly breaking from defence. Vegalta’s third goal in particular serves as a tactician’s textbook example of how to counter-attack. Despite a first-half in which Grampus were dominant, Vegalta were well worth the four goals by the close of play, exposing gaps in midfield time and again as the away side looked for a way back into this match. Vegalta now go five points clear at the top of the table, and have their first win in May after a small stumble earlier in the month.
FT: Thank you for joining me. A match report will follow on 20 May.
(All the goals from the Mizuho Athletics Stadium as Nagoya Grampus eased to a 3-0 victory over Australia’s Central Coast Mariners in the final round of Group G matches)
Nagoya Grampus will travel to either Australia or South Korea in the Round of 16 to play one of Adelaide United and Pohang Steelers respectively, as they successfully ended their Group G campaign by downing Central Coast Mariners 3-0 at the Mizuho Athletics Stadium.
A free-kick from Keiji Tamada and a delicate Jungo Fujimoto lob in the first period were added to by Tulio Tanaka’s header late on, but the margin of victory was not quite sufficient to finish at the top of the table. Winners Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma matched the Grampus scoreline in defeating Tianjin Teda in China, and subsequently took Group G by way of a superior goal difference.
|3||Central Coast Mariners||0|
|Tianjin Teda||0||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma
Bit Garam 33′
Jovancic 48′, 68′ (pen.)
|1||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||6||4||2||0||13||5||+8||10|
|3||Central Coast Mariners||6||1||3||2||7||11||-4||6|
(Brief highlights of Matchday Five’s AFC Champions League Group G fixture featuring South Korea’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Japan’s Nagoya Grampus)
Nagoya Grampus failed to make the most of several late opportunities to secure victory both in this match and in Group G, but they were fortunate to come away from the Tancheon Sports Complex with a draw in a game the K-League side had dominated from the outset. Grampus now face a decider at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium on 15 May, where they must avoid defeat to Australia’s Central Coast Mariners to progress to the Round of 16.
Manager Dragan Stojković made two changes to the team which slipped to a home defeat by Urawa Red Diamonds at the weekend, and his selection almost cost him dear within the opening thirty seconds, as Shohei Abe, a replacement for Takahiro Masukawa, misjudged the flight of a ball into the penalty area. The cross cleared the left-back and was collected by Yoon Bit-Garam lurking at the back post. The impressive midfielder drove the ball into the ground, forcing Seigo Narazaki into making an excellent early stop to clear for a corner.
Four minutes after Yoshizumi Ogawa had slammed a free-kick into a seven-man Chunma wall from 25 yards, with one of the few sights of goal Grampus had in the first half, and looking uncharacteristically jittery, the home side took the lead with their own set piece. Twenty yards from goal and slightly to the right of the penalty area’s arc, Han Sang-Woon guided an expertly executed left-footed shot over the wall and into the top right corner.
Grampus’s ability to build moves from the defence was frequently stifled by Chunma’s energetic, hard-working midfield and forward lines, a fluid shape changing between 4-3-3 and 4-5-1, with the attacking triumvarate of Lee Chang-Hoon, Hong Chul and Han pressing high up the pitch to prevent Tulio Tanaka and Danilson from retaining possession, Chul and Han then dropping deeper into midfield if their original shape had been circumvented. It was a tactic which worked for all but the last 15 minutes of the match when a number of Chunma players began to look fatigued, and most particularly in the opening period with Jung San waiting until stoppage time before he was required to make a save. Mu Kanazaki wasted Grampus’s only chance from open play, beating the offside trap with a perfectly timed run to control Kensuke Nagai’s cleverly lobbed pass, but ignoring the possibility of closing in on goal he instead volleyed wildly over the bar.
The second half followed a very similar pattern, and Chunma nearly extended their advantage on fifty minutes, Kim Sung-Hwan striking a rising shot which left Narazaki beaten but skimmed the crossbar on the way out for a goal kick. The half-time introduction of Keiji Tamada for Abe nearly paid off with quarter of an hour played, a mazy run from the forward finding Kanazaki in space, but the 23 year-old attacking midfielder, who was unable to reproduce his good form in the J.League in this match, could not adjust his feet to shoot and the ball was blocked out for a corner. The resulting set piece, sent deep to Tulio, allowed the centre-back to control, but a deflection took all the pace of his attempted volley and spun into the midriff of Jung San.
The equaliser when it arrived was as unexpected as it was welcome, and completely silenced a hitherto vocal crowd. Jungo Fujimoto advanced with the ball to the edge of the penalty, and passed into the path of an overlapping Yoshimizu Ogawa. His powerful first-time cross along the six yard box was heading in the direction of a waiting Nagai, but struck the chest of defender Park Jin-Po and flew beyond San.
The equaliser stirred Grampus, and they began to exert pressure on a tiring Chunma outfit, whose introduction of star forward Everton Santos was of no consequence, while Tulio began to take more advanced positions in search of the killer goal. While Grampus would have to wait until stoppage time for an opening, three would follow in quick succession, each of which could easily have been finished had Daniel once and Kensuke Nagai twice shown greater compusure. Daniel was the first to throw away a golden opportunity, a corner dropping to the defender eight yards from goal, but he blasted over the crossbar, Stojković’s frustration palpable on the sidelines as he pounded the turf with his fists.
Moments later, Nagai’s superb run saw him speed past Kim Seong-Jun, but driving into the penalty area his clipped effort evaded Jung San but also the right upright. With time dying out, Nagai then squandered perhaps the best chance of all, latching on to Fujimoto’s cross but heading straight at San when unmarked from six yards and with most of the goal gaping.
Grampus’s hopes of winning the Group were all but extinguished with the result. Seongnam travel to bottom of the table Tianjin Teda on Matchday Six and should be expected to win, the Tianjin Tigers unable to progress to the knockout stage of the tournament following their heavy defeat to Central Coast Mariners today.
|Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||Nagoya Grampus|
|Han Sang-Woon||12||Park Jin-Po (OG.)||72|
|Lee Chang-Hoon||18||Yuki Maki||85|
|1||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||5||1||4||0||10||5||+5||7|
|3||Central Coast Mariners||5||1||3||1||7||8||-1||6|
0 Min: Nagoya Grampus will complete qualification for the last sixteen of the AFC Champions League with a win over South Korea’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma today, three points enough to seal victory of Group G, and leading to a Round of 16 game against Group E’s Runner-up at home.
Seongnam equally have their sights set on topping the group, and Héverton’s 93rd minute equaliser at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium gave them a share of the spoils as they played out a 2-2 draw on Matchday One. Their qualification for the Asian Champions League was achieved by victory in the Korean FA Cup, an indifferent 2011 K-League season ending with Chunma in tenth place, and their campaign in 2012 has been equally inconsistent to date, 13 points from 10 games ensuring they sit in the same league position. However, they have fared supremely well in the Asian Champions League at home, undefeated in the competition since 2004 at the Tancheon Sports Complex.
Kick-off in this crucial fixture is scheduled for 11:30 BST/19:30 JST, and I will be bringing you all the team news shortly.
0 Min: Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma – Jung San; Sasa Ognenovski, Park Jin-Po, Hong Chul, Namgung Woong; Lim Jong-Eun, Kim Seong-Jun, Yoon Bit-Garam, Kim Sung-Hwan; Han Sang-Woon, Lee Chang-Hoon
Substitutes – Ha Kang-Jin; Yun Young-Sun; Kim Pyung-Rae; Everton Santos, Lee Hyun-Ho, Jeon Hyeon-Chul, Kim Hyun-Woo
0 Min: Nagoya Grampus – Narazaki; Tulio Tanaka, Shohei Abe, Daniel, Hayuma Tanaka; Naoshi Nakamura, Jungo Fujimoto, Yoshizumi Ogawa, Danilson, Kanazaki; Nagai
Substitutes – Takagi; Masukawa, Ishibitsu; Isomura, Yoshimura; Tamada, Maki
0 Min: A clear evening at the Tancheon Sports Complex, and referee Ali Hamad Albadwawi gets us underway.
1 Min: Yoon Bit-Garam nearly opens the scoring for the home side within 30 seconds. A cross from the left clears Shohei Abe at the back post, and Bit-Garam fires his shot into the ground, Narazaki’s excellent save low to his left forcing the ball over the bar. The resulting corner nearly falls to Han Sang-Woon inside the six yard area, Daniel’s acrobatic overhead kick clearing to outside the penalty box. Almost the worst possible start for Grampus.
6 Mins: A jittery start from the Nagoya side, Chunma settling into a passing rhythm early on. However, Ognenovski trips Yoshizumi Ogawa 25 yards from the goal, and Grampus have an excellent opportunity to test Jung San in the Chunma goal.
8 Mins: Daniel, Nagai and Kanazaki are all standing in front of the seven man Chunma wall, Ogawa directing where they should position themselves. It all goes to waste, however, as he slams his set piece into the defenders.
10 Mins: Ten minutes played, it’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 0 Nagoya Grampus 0.
11 Mins: A free-kick for Chunma twenty yards and slightly to the right, Grampus with a five man wall.
12 Mins: GOAL! Han Sang-Woon lifts the ball over the wall and into the top right corner. An expertly executed free-kick gives the home side the lead. They have been much the better side so far.
12 Mins: Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 1 Nagoya Grampus 0
14 Mins: Grampus nearly strike back immediately. Mu Kanazaki’s cross is delivered to a very dangerous area, but no Nagoya player can connect.
19 Mins: Daniel attempts a strike from distance after skipping past Kim Seong-Jun, but under pressure from Yoon Bit-Garam he can only skew his shot wide of Jung San’s right upright.
24 Mins: A spirited run from Hong Chul down the left wing causes Tulio trouble, and his crossfield pass into the penalty area reaches Han Sang-Woon. Narazaki is off his line quickly, however, and he blocks the ball away.
26 Mins: Nagoya are struggling to create any opportunities, Chunma’s fluid formation switching between a 4-5-1 and 4-3-3. They are dominating in midfield, and Jungo Fujimoto, with few attacking options available to him, sends an aimless shot wide of Jung San’s goal. Danilson in particular has been absent, and Kensuke Nagai is completely isolated in attack.
28 Mins: Mu Kanazaki beats the Chunma offside trap, but with time to control and close in on goal, he volleys wildly over the bar across the angle. A potentially precious chance wasted.
30 Mins: Nagai has his first chance of the match, Kanazaki deftly flicked a pass over the Chunma defence to the forward, but he’s ruled narrowly offside as he sends his shot just over Jung San’s crossbar.
34 Mins: A period of pressure for Grampus gives them their first corner, to be taken by Yoshizumi Ogawa from the right.
35 Mins: Ogawa’s corner is met by Danilson, but his header is turned away from the post for another corner.
35 Mins: Ogawa to take the second corner from the same position. It’s low to the near post, and easily cleared by Kim Sung-Hwan.
38 Mins: Kim Seong-Jun is pulled down on the edge of the 18-yard box by Naoshi Nakamura, and as it’s slightly to the left of the ‘D’, Lee Chang-Hoon will look to curl a shot right-footed.
39 Mins: Lee’s shot clears the wall, but this time it’s off-target as it drifts harmlessly wide of Narazaki’s right post.
40 Mins: Five minutes remaining in a forgettable first period for Nagoya Grampus, it’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 1 Nagoya Grampus 0.
45 Mins: There will be one minute of added time, and Shohei Abe forces Jung San to make his first save of the game with Grampus’s first shot on target, albeit from the left touchline which drifts towards goal and the Seongnam keeper saves easily.
45 Mins+1: Referee Albadwawi draws the first half to a close.
HT: A difficult first period for Dragan Stojković’s men, who have been outwitted in midfield by the invention and the fluid formation of Chunma. Several options are available to the Grampus manager, not the least of which is Keiji Tamada who may play some part, potentially to support Kensuke Nagai upfront.
45 Mins: Action recommences, and Keiji Tamada has indeed come on, as he replaces Shohei Abe. A slight tactical and positional adjustment will be required for Grampus.
46 Mins: Naoshi Nakamura and Kim Sung-Hwan both feeling the after-effects of a crunching challenge in midfield.
50 Mins: Kim Sung-Hwan’s rising shot from outside the penalty area has Narazaki beaten as it skims the top of the crossbar.
52 Mins: Jungo Fujimoto delivers a set piece to the back post, but captain Sasa Ognenovski is on hand to head up in the air, presenting goalkeeper Jung San with an easy catch.
55 Mins: Right-back Park Jin-Po gathers a pass and unleashes a strike from 25 yards. He’s leaning back and it doesn’t trouble Narazaki.
60 Mins: A mazy run inside the penalty area from Keiji Tamada is laid off to Mu Kanazaki, who earns a corner for Grampus.
60 Mins: The corner is deep and controlled on his chest by Tulio, but a deflection takes all the pace off his volley, and it’s into the midriff of Jung San.
62 Mins: Referee Albadwawi has shown welcome restraint so far, not reaching into his pocket to show any cards thus far.
64 Mins: A change due for Chunma, Lee Hyun-Ho readying himself on the sidelines.
65 Mins: Danilson tries from distance, but his left-footed shot from 30 yards is some way off target.
65 Mins: Namgung Woong’s match is over, and Lee Hyun-Ho enters the field of play.
67 Mins: Tulio Tanaka concedes a corner under pressure from Hyun-Ho, and it will be taken by Han Sang-Woon, but not before Yuki Maki comes on to the pitch replacing Mu Kanazaki.
67 Mins: The corner is poor, along the ground and cleared from danger.
71 Mins: Grampus have found no solution to Chunma’s three attacking players pressing high up the pitch, of whom the wide players then quickly shut down both left and right channels.
72 Mins: GOAL! The home support is completely silenced. A short pass from Jungo Fujimoto releases Yoshizumi Ogawa on the right of the penalty area, and his dangerous cross is diverted off the chest of Chunma’s Park Jin-Po for an own goal.
72 Mins: Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 1 Nagoya Grampus 1
74 Mins: A goal which on the balance of play is undeserved, but with the discrepancy in goal difference between the two teams, Grampus still need to find another goal and win this contest outright if they want to win Group G.
76 Mins:Keiji Yoshimura now on for Naoshi Nakamura.
78 Mins: Seongnam’s star forward Everton Santos has come on for Lee Chang-Hoon.
80 Mins: Fujimoto holds the ball up superbly on the Grampus right, and sends Ogawa free. Ogawa’s first touch is much too strong, however, and it runs for a goal-kick.
82 Mins: Kensuke Nagai gathers a throughball and Jung San rushes off his line, bringing the forward down outside the penalty area. San escapes being sent off, Albadwawi brandishing a yellow card instead, and with two covering defenders it may just have been the correct decision.
83 Mins: Keiji Tamada takes responsibility for the free-kick this time, but it’s off the top of the wall for a corner.
84 Mins: Tulio Tanaka is penalised for a push in the penalty area, and Seongnam clear the ball downfield. Yuki Maki then picks up a caution for a high challenge.
86 Mins: A further change for Chunma, as the impressive Yoon Bit-Garam makes way.
88 Mins: Left-winger Hong Chul is booked for a cynical trip on Danilson.
89 Mins: Grampus are finishing this match more strongly. The free-kick is delivered to the back post, Danilson heading on to Tulio, who lays off to Fujimoto. His cross is diverted behind for a corner.
89 Mins: Daniel misses a great chance to win this match for Grampus. Seongnam are unable to deal with the the set piece, and it drops to the defender eight yards from goal. He volleys over the crossbar and Dragan Stojković pounds the ground in frustration.
90 Mins: Three minutes of added time to play.
91 Mins: Nagai this time has the opportunity to give Grampus the three points. He speeds past Kim Seong-Jun on the right-wing, and driving into the penalty area, he clips the ball over Jung San but the wrong side of the Sun’s left post.
92 Mins: Nagai then nearly turns provider, a weaving run on the left followed by a pull back which is just behind Tulio and he can’t crane his neck back far enough to niod towards goal.
93 Mins: A third attack for Grampus and another simple opportunity goes begging. Nagai wastes a free header after a cross from Fujimoto, which he can only direct at Jung San with most of the goal at his mercy.
93 Mins: Albadwawi stops a Grampus attack in its tracks as the final whistle blows.
FT: Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 1 Nagoya Grampus 1
FT: Nagoya Grampus nearly stole a victory from a match in which they had largely been second best. Three simple opportunities to take all three points were wasted, and with it the chance to top Group G is almost certainly lost based on the respective goal difference of the two teams. Further complicating matters is the 5-1 victory for Central Coast Mariners against Tianjin Teda, and Grampus must avoid defeat at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium n 15 May by the New South Wales outfit to proceed to the next round.
FT: Thank you for joining me. A full match report will follow later today.
(Nagoya Grampus and Tianjin Teda leave with honours even after a 0-0 draw in their Group G AFC Champions League fixture on 18 April. Keiji Tamada squandered a 59th minute penalty for the hosts, but the other result in the group ensures that the Nagoya outfit still stand an excellent chance of qualifying for the latter stages of the competition)
|1||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||4||1||3||0||9||4||+5||6|
|4||Central Coast Mariners||4||0||3||1||2||7||-5||3|