0 Min: Thank you for joining me for this live blog of the clash between champions Kashiwa Reysol and Shimizu S-Pulse. I’ll have team news for you shortly, but to begin yesterday there were rumours that Samurai Blue and Kashiwa Reysol star defender Hiroki Sakai has agreed to join Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2012. As far as I can tell, no such agreement has been reached, but it does appear certain that the current German league leaders are interested in the 21 year-old right-back.
0 Min: Kashiwa Reysol – Sugeno; Sakai, Nasu, Masushima, Hashimoto; Kurisawa, Otani, Wagner, Domingues; Kudo, Lobo
0 Min: Shimizu S-Pulse – Hayashi; Yoshida, Iwashita, Jong A Pin, Lee; Muramatsu, Ono, Kawai, Omae, Takagi; Alex
0 Min: A fantastic atmosphere at the Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium. The commentator has just confirmed that kick-off will be approximately 19:04 Japan time, 10:04 BST.
0 Min: The teams are out of the tunnel and on to the pitch for the pre-match photos.
0 Min: A few last-minute words from their respective captains. Shimizu S-Pulse will get us underway.
0 Min: And we kick-off at precisely 19:04.
1 Min: Kashiwa Reysol fans are singing a version of The Sash, better known in the UK for being the tune to which Liverpool Football Club’s “Poor Scouser Tommy” is sung.
3 Min: Iwashita wins the first corner of the match for S-Pulse, who have started quickly. The corner comes to the edge of the box but the shot is blocked, and the ball is gathered by Takanori Sugeno.
6 Min: Alex greedily fires a shot from the edge of the penalty area with Toshiyuki Takagi completely unmarked to his right. A let off for Reysol. The referee incorrectly gives a corner, and a free-kick is awarded to Reysol for pushing in the box.
8 Min: Reysol are being subjected to intense pressing and are struggling to string passes together. A very good start from S-Pulse, a long ball finding Alex, but his header is directed straight at goalkeeper Sugeno.
10 Min: Leandro Domingues has the opportunity to relieve the early S-Pa pressure after he was fouled inside the visitors’ half. However, his free-kick is very poor and fails to clear the first defender.
12 Min: A wonderful whipped cross from Yosuke Kawai is met by Alex, but he fails to control his header and it sails over the crossbar. More danger signs for Reysol.
16 Min: Hiroki Sakai drops a shoulder and easily beats Calvin Jong A Pin, and sends in a low cross which Hidekazu Otani heads narrowly past the right-hand post.
18 Min: There seems to be a concerted effort to press the Reysol centre-back pairing when they are in possession of the ball. Daisuke Nasu is the next player to give the ball away for the Sun Kings.
20 Min: Jorge Wagner aims for the spectacular from approximately 35 yards, his shot cannoning into Yutaka Yoshida standing roughly two yards away.
22 Min: Alex is booked by referee Yoshida for failing to retreat at a free-kick deep within the Reysol half. A rather silly booking to pick up, particularly at this stage of the match.
25 Min: With Sakai finding space on the right flank, a ball is delivered to Masato Kudo, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area is tame and straight at Akihiro Hayashi.
29 Min: Lobo’s attempted pass to Leandro Domingues goes astray, and in trying to regain possession from Yosuke Kawai merely succeeds in taking his legs away from under him.
30 Min: The match has gone rather quiet, both sides failing to retain possession and not connecting with relatively simple passes.
33 Min: Leandro Domingues complaining of having his shirt tugged by Taisuke Muramatsu, but the referee quite correctly awards the free-kick to the defensive midfielder, Domingues clearly the one doing the holding.
34 Min: Calvin Jong A Pin now pulls back the Reysol player on the edge of the S-Pulse penalty area with Wagner taking up a dangerous position. A very dangerous position from 22 yards with Domingues typically a very good dead-ball player. Jong A Pin is lucky to escape going into the referee’s notebook.
36 Min: The free-kick is wasted, the ball bending over the S-Pulse box but also Akihiro Hayashi’s crossbar.
38 Min Genki Omae is brought down in an attacking position to the right of the Kashiwa Reysol penalty area.
38 Min: GOAL! The resulting free-kick is expertly guided into the Reysol penalty area by Ki Je Lee, his left-footed cross headed into the bottom right by Keisuke Iwashita and past a stationary Takanori Sugeno. There will be questions over the amount of space Iwashita was allowed, the centre back’s run allowing him to get in front of Daisuke Nasu but on the balance of play the goal reflect’s S-Pulse’s superiority in this first half.
40 Min: Kashiwa Reysol 0 Shimizu S-Pulse 1
45 Min: Into added time at the end of the first period of play.
45 Min+1: The referee blows his whistle and brings the first-half to a close.
HT: Reysol have been frustrated by S-Pa’s extra midfielder, Taisuke Muramatsu in particular allowing little space for Wagner and Domingues to create for the Sun Kings.
HT: What will certainly concern Reysol is that after such a dominant performance mid-week in the AFC Champions League, they have failed to create little of note. It will be interesting to see how Nelsinho tries to change things in this second period, and he has made his first substitution, bringing on Masakatsu Sawa for the hitherto anonymous Jorge Wagner.
45 Min: And at 11:04 BST/20:04 Japan time we’re underway in this second half.
47 Min; Reysol give away a free-kick, which leaves S-Pa with an opportunity from 35 yards. Two players run over the ball before Toshiyuki Takagi’s shot clears the bar.
48 Min: Chances at either end, first for Reysol with Hayashi struggling to hold a shot which bounces in front of him, before S-Pa’s Takagi fires a hard low shot from the left edge of the penalty area, which Sugeno gathers at the first attempt.
49 Min: Another booking, this time for goalscorer Keisuke Ishiwata as he goes through the back of Ricardo Lobo.
50 Min: An opportunity for Leandro Domingues on the edge of the S-Pa penalty area, but unmarked and under little pressure, he blazes his shot over the bar.
54 Min: A free kick from close to the touchline for Reysol about 25 yards into the S-Pa half, but Domingues’ cross is easily cleared.
57 Min: Shinji Ono is about to be replaced by Jymmy Franca for S-Pulse.
58 Min: A lovely cross from Wataru Hashimoto is volleyed first time by Leandro Domingues from 10 yards, but his left-footed effort is skewed horribly wide. It’s safe to say that this hasn’t been Domingues’ finest performance.
60 Min: Ki Je Lee wins a free-kick after being turned by Masato Kudo, but I’m not convinced it was an offence. Kudo would have been released into space down the right-hand side.
61 Min: The forward Ryohei Hayashi is coming on for Ricard Lobo. Lobo has also failed to impress for Reysol this evening.
63 Min: An Awful challenge from Ryoichi Kurosawa brings down Yosuke Kawai, and he’s duly booked. Leandro Domingues once again complains to the referee for a purported offence elsewhere on the field.
64 Min: Leandro Domingues is brought down twice in quick succession, and after each challenge waves an imaginary yellow card in the direction of the referee. He’s very lfortunate to have avoided being booked himself.
65 Min: Reysol with all the possession after 20 minutes in the second-half.
66 Min:Hiroki Sakai is correctly booked for a challenge from behind, bringing down Alex after he had beaten the defender.
67 Min: Into the final quarter of the match, and Daigo Kobayashi is ready to come on for Shimizu S-Pulse.
68 Min: A ball into the Shimizu S-Pulse penalty area nearly falls for Ryohei Hayashi, but the ball is cleared as he attempts to connect.
69 Min: Toshiyuki Takagi is replaced by Daigo Kobayashi.
72 Min: An excellent chance for Reysol, but Kudo’s shot is well held by Ahihiro Hayashi low to his left.
74 Min: Akimi Barada comes on as a replacement for Hidekazu Otani.
75 Min:Corner for the Sun Kings. Domingues’ cross is much better but the massed ranks of Shimizu players eventually clear for a throw in.
80 Min A corner is whipped in by Domingues, but yet again it is cleared by S-Pa.
80 Min: Genki Omae is lucky to be on the pitch after a high and dangerous challenge near the touchline on Masakatsu Sawa.
81 Min: GOAL! Tatsuyama Misushima drives a loose ball home in the penalty area after Daisuke Nasu challenges for the cross from Domingues.
83 Min: Kashiya Reysol 1 Shimizu S-Pulse 1. Two centre-backs have scored today.
84 Min: CROSSBAR! A deflected shot from Masakatsu Sawa loops on to the bar with Akihiro Hayashi beaten, and the rebound falls to an S-Pa Player to clear.
86 Min: GOAL! Tatsuya Masushima scores his second for Reysol and gives the Sun King the lead. Masushima powerfully flicks on a lovely cross from Domingues and Hayashi is left with no chance as the ball flies to his right.
88 Min: Kashiwa Reysol 2 Shimizu S Pulse 1.
88 Min: Before this evening Masushima had only scored five goals in his career, and these goals may prove so important to Reysol’s league campaign.
89 Min: Keisuke Iwishita meets a cross in the Kashiwa Reysol penalty area which falls to the left of the goal.
90 Min: Sugeno dives to his right to take a whipped Yutaka Yoshida cross at the first attempt. There will be three minutes of added time.
90 Min+2: An extraordinary cross from Ki Je Lee finds Jymmy Franca with only the goalkeeper to beat in injury time, but he complete misjudges his header and it falls into the grateful hands of Takanori Sugeno. Is that the last chance of an equaliser for Shimizu S-Pulse?
90 Min+3: The answer is yes. The referee ends the match and Reysol have the first league win of the season. It was a result that looked in some doubt until the last 10 minutes of the match, the unlikely source of Tatsuya Misushima providing both goals for the Sun Kings.
FT: Kashiwa Reysol 2 Shimizu S-Pulse 1
FT: Thank you for joining me. A full match report will follow later today.