J.League Division 1 Liveblog: 大宮アルディージャ (Omiya Ardija) v. FC東京 (F.C. Tokyo)

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

90+3 Min: FULL-TIME. Omiya Ardija 0: FC Tokyo 1.

90+1 Min: FC Tokyo make their final substitution, Sotan Tanabe coming on for Aria Hasegawa in midfield.

90 Min: Ardija fans clearly not giving up. I’d expect three to four minutes injury time.

89 Min: Carlinhos very wasteful from 35 years, shooting well over the bar.

87 Min: Naohiro Ishikawa, the FC Tokyo right-midfielder, shoots from the right-hand side of the penalty area, collected low and well by Takashi Kitano.

87 Min: Roughly three minutes remaining in normal time. Do Ardija have anything left?

86 Min: Gonda now back on his feet. Good to see from the outstanding performer in this match. And clears up another Ardija attack with his head, to confirm his recovery.

84 Min: Gonda seems to have hurt his neck after sprinting to the edge of his area and clearing with a header, colliding with Hayato Hashimoto in the process.

83 Min: Ardija finally hit the back of the net, which is disallowed for handball, Yu Hasegawa using his left hand to control the ball. The correct decision, and Gonda again saved superbly from Hasegawa’s effort before the follow-up.

81 Min: Takuya Aoki sends in a long range effort down the left-hand side, which Kitano collects easily in the Ardija goal.

76 Min: Naohiro Ishikawa, through a wonderful turn, creates an opportunity for himself on the right-hand side of the Ardija penalty area, but the subsequently woeful shot is screwed out for a throw-in on the Ardija left.

75 Min: A glimmer of an opportunity for Kazuma Watanabe, but he is closed down by Hayato Hashimoto before he can get the shot away. The ball deflects away for an FC Tokyo corner, which is sent too deep and wasted.

75 Min: 29 minutes played in the second half. FC Tokyo dominating both possession and territory.

70 Min: Yu Hasegawa replaces Kazuhiro Murakami for Ardija. FC Tokyo making their second substitution, Naotake Hanyu leaving the field for Kazuma Watanabe. The Watanabe brothers, Daigo and Kazuma, of course play for opposing teams. Kazuma currently has the bragging rights.

70 Min: Excellent play on the edge of the Ardija area leads to Ishikawa fnding the net, but his effort is ruled out for offside. A let-off for Ardija.

67 Min: Carlinhos, who has been very impressive for Ardija, beats three FC Tokyo players before drifting a cross which Gonda comes to collect.

63 Min: If the scoreline remains the same, Ardija will be bemoaning their poor finishing and an excellent goalkeeper.

63 Min: Omiya Ardija 0: FC Tokyo 1

60 Min: GOAL! Intricate, one-touch passing between several players, captain Yohei Kajiyama at the heart of it, on the edge of the area finally reaches Lucas, who takes one touch before firing past Kitano into the roof of the net. FC Tokyo take the lead, and the odd statistic of Ardija never winning in Saitama now looks like continuing into 2012.

58 Min: Rafael misses dreadfully following a lovely chipped pass from Carlinhos to Young-Cheol Cho, who slides an equally lovely cross to the striker. With the goal gaping, he hits it straight at Gonda from four yards.

55 Min: Tatsuya Yuzawa being replaced by Naohiro Ishikawa in the first substitution of the game. Ishikawa has made 181 appearances for FC Tokyo with 38 goals, and is well loved by Tokyo fans.

54 Min: This is now a very open game – a clear lack of organisation in both teams’ midfield areas.

51 Min: Hideto Takahashi bends a right foot shot just past Kitano’s left post from the edge of the penalty area, though Takumi Shimohira had closed the angle and a goal bound shot would probably have hit the left-back.

49 Min: Naotake Hanyu comes close for FC Tokyo, before Ardija win their first corner, Young-Gwon Kim meeting the cross perfectly but heading over. The 22 year-old centre-back should really have found the target.

47 Min: Lucas dispossesses the Ardija left-back and runs twenty years before hitting a tame shot straight at Kitano. Promising opening from FC Tokyo, however, and continuing their domination from the latter stages of the first half.

45 + 1 Min: Tokunaga fires in a shot with the outside of his right-foot from the right edge of the penalty area, which Kitano gets down well to cover in the Ardija goal.

45 Min: FC Tokyo get the second half underway. For those just joining us, it’s 0-0.

HT: Popovic being interviewed, via intrepreter in the tunnel, following a hug he gave to his captain. Which was nice.

HT: The chance in the first minute for Ardija has just been replayed. To be fair to Keigo Higashi, it was actually a full length dive to his right from Shuichi Gonda which prevented the midfielder from opening the scoring. Gonda’s keeping in the first-half was exemplary.

HT: Save for some very wasteful finishing, there could have been several goals in this match. Ardija dominated the opening 30 minutes, but FC Tokyo finished the stronger. Jun Suzuki, the Ardija coach, now has plenty to ponder.

45+1 Min: After excellent work Yohei Kajiyama down the left-hand side, the FC Tokyo midfielder’s cross narrowly evades two players and the opportunity is lost. With that, the half-time whistle blows.

44 Min: According to the commentator, Ardija has not beaten FC Tokyo in seven years in Saitama. While technically correct, it’s actually six, given FC Tokyo spent last season in J.League Division Two.

41 Min: Tatsuya Yuzawa receives a wonderful pass on the left-hand side of the penalty area. His effort, which we could kindly describe as an attempted pass (to no-one) however, is dragged wide of Kitano’s left post. Awful from Yuzawa.

39 Min: FC Tokyo finding plenty of space in left and right channels at the moment, leading to a shot from Yohei Tokunaga on the right-side of the penalty area which the commentator describes as “wild”, but which was actually anything but.

37 Min: Kitano plays a pass immediately putting his left-back in trouble, doing well to return the ball to Kitano under pressure from Lucas.

35 Min: The corner is well-cleared by a punch from Takashi Kitano in the Ardija goal. A little spell of pressure from the Tokyo team here, however.

35 Min: A second corner for FC Tokyo.

32 Min: The game’s first corner falls to FC Tokyo, which comes to naught.

31 Min: The advanced three in midfield for Ardija are causing problems for FC Tokyo, pressing quickly and breaking up passes between defence and the lone defensive midfielder, who is regularly isolated.

29 Min: FC Tokyo’s centre-back pairing are prone to simple errors in possession. It should be a worry for Ranko Popovic.

28 Min: After attempting – and failing – to score from fully forty yards, Rafael puts an easy opportunity wide from six yards following a superb cross from the Ardija left-back Takumi Shimohira.

26 Min: A quick note on the formations. Ardija appear to be playing a 4-2-3-1, FC Tokyo perhaps a 4-1-3-2.

24 Min: Ardija should be ahead in this game.

21 Min: Extraordinary goalkeeping from Gonda in the FC Tokyo goal, pulling off a fabulous double save from Young-Cheol Cho, first from roughly four yards and then gets up to block the follow-up from two. Wonderful work from the 23 year-old.

21 Min: Coming up to halfway through the first period, and the score remains 0-0.

19 Min: Daigo Watanabe chooses to turn with the ball inside the penalty area when perhaps a first-time shot would have proven a better option. His cross is hit behind for a goal kick.

17 Min: Young-Cheol Cho, who joined Ardija in 2010, fires a shot narrowly wide of the right post from outside the penalty area. A good effort from the 22 year-old midfielder.

15 Min: Excellent work from Daigo Watanabe on the right-hand side, dispossessing the FC Tokyo left-back before swinging a low cross which Shuichi Gonda does well to gather on the six-yard line.

14 Min: Omiya fans have launched into their own take on Franki Valli’s “I Love You Baby”.

12 Min: Immediately after writing that, Watanabe connects beautifully to volley left-footed just over the bar from just on the 18 yard line.

11 Min: Rafael plays a pass to Daigo Watanabe in space inside the FC Tokyo penalty area, but the Omiya right-midfielder’s cross fails to clear the first defender.

10 Min: The camera cuts to a rather stern looking Ranko Popovic, the FC Tokyo coach.

06 Min: FC Tokyo’s first chance of note, a lovely cross swept over from the edge of the penalty area by the captain, but wasted by Hideto Takahasi.

5 Min: Lovely passing interchange by FC Tokyo, Lucas heavily involved in the final third. Unfortunately the move breaks down.

3 Min: A fairly frantic opening at this stage, neither team settling in possession.

1 Min: Mistake in the FC Tokyo defence allows Keigo Higashi to steal the ball, the shot saved Shiuchi Gonda. Higashi was one-on-one and probably should have scored.

0 Min: And we’re underway at 10:04 GMT/19.04 in Japan.

0 Min: The local support is very vocal. Ardija will kick-off.

0 Min: A Minute’s silence now being held for those affected by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

0 Min: The NACK5 stadium is completely full in Saitama today. Great turnout for the opening fixture.

From 10:00 GMT we will be live-blogging the J.League Division One fixture between Omiya Ardija and FC Tokyo, as the highest tier of Japanese football gets underway this weekend.

In the meantime, here’s a video of fans of the Squirrels. Omiya Ardija fell to a 3-0 defeat at home to Vegalta Sendai in August 2010, but the support was unstinting.


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