広州恒大 (Guangzhou Evergrande) 1 FC東京 (FC Tokyo) 0

FC Tokyo’s 1-0 loss to Chinese Super League giants Guangzhou Evergrande ended all J.League interest in the 2012 AFC Champions League, making it three tournaments in four in which Japanese teams have failed to progress beyond the Round of 16 since it was introduced in 2009.

Despite dominating possession, the Gas had fewer opportunities of note, Muriqui proving especially wasteful for the Southern China Tigers, and it wasn’t until the belated introduction of Hiroki Kawano that they were able to convert sustained possession into an attacking threat, his first touch a cross for Lucas which was headed against the woodwork. The transformation was almost instantaneous, and manager Ranko Popovic may reflect on how his side might have performed had he been allowed more than the 10 minutes in total he spent on the pitch.

The potent attacking line of Cleo, Miriqui and Gao Lin, with the Argentine midfielder Dario Conca assisting between the lines and new manager Marcello Lippi at the helm, will provide difficult opposition for most sides, particularly at the Tianhe Stadium, but the AFC must surely now revisit the Round of 16 and extend it to a standard two-leg stage, rather than the single elimination contest as it currently stands. The 2012 competition saw six of the eight group winners and subsequent home sides advancing to the quarter-finals, with just Bunyodkor winning away without the need for a penalty shootout, and making this 19 of 24 teams since 2010 who have won at home.

Advertisements

울산 현대 (Ulsan Hyundai) 3 柏レイソル (Kashiwa Reysol) 2

Kashiwa Reysol became the second J.League club in as many days to exit the AFC Champions League at the hands of a South Korean outfit, and continued the abymsal record of Japanese sides taking on K-League teams in the Round of 16, which now reads seven contests and six losses.

A disappointingly small crowd at the Big Crown was treated to an enthralling tie, a first-half surprisingly ending goalless but showing many signs of the drama that would unfold in the second period. The opening forty-five minutes were notable mainly for Ulsan’s almost total domination, the Sun Kings having no answer to the aerial threat posed by Kim Shin-Wook who won headers at will, while Juan Velez, combative in midfield, broke up Reysol attacks with ease, providing a platform for the livewire Lee Keun-Ho to attack in the channels. Jorge Wagner was guilty of cheaply giving away possession of the ball, and provided little support for Daisuke Nasu as he was all too frequently drawn into the centre of midfield. Fortunately for Reysol, Ulsan could not make their superiority tell, Lee and Kim Seung-Yong in particular unable to find the finishes that their side deserved.

It came as little surprise that the Tigers opened the score, but it owed much to shabby defending from Reysol, arriving shortly after Go Seul-Ki had rattled the crossbar. Nasu, in possession 35 yards from goal, attempted to play a crossfield pass to teammate Hidekazu Otani, but merely succeeded in presenting the ball to the feet of Lee Keun-Ho, inviting the South Korean international to advance and to subsequently square into the penalty area. Kim Shin-Wook’s header found the bottom left corner, but his goalscoring duties were made considerably easier by neither Tatsuya Masushima or Naoya Kondo taking responsibility for challenging the striker as he rose to nod home from just six yards.

The goal, however, roused Reysol to action for the first time since the opening moments of the match, and they spent much of the remaining 35 minutes dictating possession and territory. After Naoya Kondo had first gone close with a swerving shot which evaded the right upright by inches, and then Junya Tanaka had turned superbly inside the Ulsan 18-yard box and seen his low cross drift past the outstretched boot of Leandro Domingues, Tanaka himself had a superb opportunity to bring his side level. Played onside by Kim Young-Sam, the pass from Leandro Domingues carved the defence open and left the striker with only Kim Seung-Gyu to beat. This he did with aplomb, but then his attempted finish was hit straight at Lee Jae-Seong on the goalline, when a shot placed either side of the right-back would have resulted in an equaliser.

Fortunately for Tanaka, Reysol would be level two minutes later, and it was a goal defined by its simplicity. Taking a throw on the right ten yards from the Ulsan goalline, Tatsuya Masukawa launched the ball into the penalty area, Leandro Domingues heading first time beyond Kim Seung-Gyu.

Having made their pressure tell, the visitors would suffer a body blow, conceding a goal in controversial circumstances on 70 minutes. Substitute Maranhao split the Reysol back line with a pass to Lee Ho, and Kondo’s attempt to put the the midfielder’s pull back for a corner snuck inside Sugeno’s left post. Referee Mohamed Al Zarooni awarded the goal in the face of furious protests from several Reysol players who were convinced that the ball had not fully crossed the line, and they were duly waved away.

Now pressing for a second equaliser, Reysol always risked being caught on the counter-attack, and Lee Keun-Ho was given the run of the Reysol half as Ulsan broke quickly from defending a corner. With a third goal almost certain to put the tie beyond the reach of Nelsinho’s side, he took the ball into the penalty area, but Sugeno saved at the forward’s feet to ensure that only a single goal still separated the sides.

With five minutes of normal time to go, Masakatsu Sawa, on for Hideakzu Otani, was given the chance to score his side’s second, but saw his shot blocked, Leandro Domingues’s initial effort pushed out by Kim Seung-Gyu and just beyond Masato Kudo following up.

Lee Keun-Ho killed the game off shortly after. Go Seul-Ki drove a pass to the feet of Kim Shin-Wook, and his delightful flick was volleyed first time into the bottom left corner. A thumping Junya Tanaka strike to reduce the margin to one goal in stoppage time came too late to serve as anything other than consolation.

Reysol, having suffered the same fate as Nagoya Grampus yesterday, also face the same challenges as their J.League counterparts in domestic competition, with manager Nelsinho needing to coax consistent performances from his team to ensure they rise up the table. A further headache for the Brazilian may present itself when his players return from the international break, as star right-back Hiroki Sakai has been heavily linked with a move to Bundesliga club Hannover 96 and any transfer involving the attack-minded 22-year old would inevitably have negative consequences on the prospects of Champions League football in 2013.

Ulsan Hyundai Kashiwa Reysol
Goalscorers Min Goalscorers Min
Kim Shin-Wook 54 Leandro Domingues 67
Naoya Kondo (O.G.) 71 Junya Tanaka 90+1
Lee Keun-Ho 88
Substitutes Min Substitutes Min
Kim Seung-Yong
Maranhao
67 Hidekazu Otani
Masakatsu Sawa
77
Lee Ho
Kang Jin-Ouk
86 Masato Kudo
Ryohei Hayashi
86
Cautions Min Cautions Min
Kim Shin-Wook 58 Hiroki Sakai 21
Leandro Domingues 60

Ulsan Hyundai: 4-3-3/4-5-1 (Blue); Kashiwa Reysol: 4-4-2 (Yellow)

AFC Champions League: Round of 16 live-blog – 울산 현대 (Ulsan Hyundai) v 柏レイソル (Kashiwa Reysol)

0 Min: Kashiwa Reysol are one of Japan’s two sole remaining participants in the 2012 AFC Champions League following Nagoya Grampus’ exit in the Round of 16 stage yesterday. The Sun Kings travel to the Big Crown to take on Ulsan Hyundai, unbeaten winners in Group F and the only side to defeat FC Tokyo at the group stage, running out 1-0 winners in the battle for group supremacy on Matchday Six.

Reysol, meanwhile, lost two of their three away games, their inconsistency in this competition mirroring their form in the J.League, and progress was only secured courtesy of their first win on their travels in Korea against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Reysol will be aiming to better the record of Japanese teams meeting K-League sides at this stage of the competition. Since the Round of 16 was introduced in 2009, five of six have been won by teams from the Land of the Morning Calm.

Former Gamba and Cerezo Osaka midfielder Akihiro Ienaga, who also spent some time at Oita Trinita before his move to Spanish side RCD Mallorca, is on the bench for the Horangi. The 25-year old midfielder moved to Ulsan for the 2012 season on loan.

0 Min: Ulsan Hyundai – Kim S-G; Lee J-S, Kang M-S, Kwak T-H; Lee H, Kim S-Y, Kim Y-S, Go S-K, Juan Velez; Kim S-W, Lee K-H

Substitutes – Kim Y-K; Choi J-S, Kang J-O; Kim D-S, Park S-I, Ienaga; Maranhao

0 Min: Kashiwa Reysol – Sugeno; Kondo, Sakai, Masushima, Nasu; Otani, Leandro Domingues, Jorge Wagner, Kurisawa; Tanaka, Kudo

Substitutes – Inada; Hashimoto, Fujita; Sawa, An Y-K, Barada; Hayashi

0 Min: We’re about six minutes from kick-off at a practically empty Big Crown, a very disappointing turnout for what is deemed to be Asia’s premier club tournament. While the skies in Ulsan are overcast, temperatures of 18 degrees and light winds provide almost ideal playing conditions for football.

0 Min: The players are on the pitch, and it will be Ulsan to get this tie going. Ulsan are in blue, Reysol in their standard yellow kit.

2 Min: Lee Keun-Ho breaks down the left wing as a Tatsuya Masushima long throw is cleared, and Kim Shun-Wook turns inside Daisuke Nasu. His touch is too strong, and Reysol are able to recover.

4 Mins: Leandro Domingues bursts past three players in midfield before Kang Min-Soo brings his run to an end for a throw.

6 Mins: Wagner wins the ball on halfway from a dallying Kwak Tae-Kwi, and is free on the left. He makes the shooting angle more difficult for himself as he takes the ball to the edge of the area, and it’s an easy take for Kim Seung-Gyu.

8 Mins: Kwak Tae-Hwi takes a free kick long downfield, aiming for Kim Shin-Wook. The striker meets the ball, and under pressure from Naoya Kondo, Lee Keun-Ho lifts his effort over Sugeno but inches over the crossbar.

9 Mins: Ryoichi Kurisawa finds Junya Tanaka twenty yards from goal, who lays off to Domingues. He turns and fires a snap-shot straight at Kim Seung-Gyu.

11 Mins: A good pass from Hidekazu Otani to Tanaka sees the forward clipped, and the official blows for the offence. He may have played the advantage with Sakai loitering on the right.

12 Mins: A lovely set piece from Domingues finds Kudo, but he can’t crane his neck enough to direct his header on target.

15 Mins: Beyond the opportunity offered to Lee Keun-Ho, it’s a promising first quarter of an hour for Reysol, alert in defence and matching the Horangi in midfield. Certainly they are appear technically the better side to this point.

17 Mins: A second long free-kick from Kwak Tae-Hwi is won in the air by the home side, but Reysol clear following-up.

18 Mins: A cross from the left is delivered by Kang Min-Soo, flicked on by Kim Shin-Wook and Lee Keun-Ho is in on goal. It’s a superb save from Takanori Sugeno, who is as big as possible in the Reysol goal to stop Lee volleying home from point blank range.

20 Mins: The one deficiency Reysol suffer from is an inability to deal with a direct approach and under an aerial threat. Ulsan are attempting to exploit this as often as possible, Kim Shin-Wook winning most headers inside the Sun Kings’ penalty area.

21 Mins: Hiroki Sakai goes into the book.

22 Mins: Mid-way through the opening period, it’s Ulsan Hyundai 0 Kashiwa Reysol 0.

24 Mins: Reysol have begun to struggle after a fairly positive first 15 minutes, Leandro Domingues embarking on another mazy run but with little support and no passing options he is tackled. Lee Keun-Ho then has his shirt pulled by Naoya Kondo, a giving away a free-kick in an advantageous position for Ulsan.

25 Mins: The free-kick is bent to Kim Shin-Wook, who wins the ball easily again, but his header is safely into the arms of Takanori Sugeno.

28 Mins: Juan Velez is winning most of the possession in midfield. Otani and in particular Domingues need to make more of an impression in the tackle.

32 Mins: A cross is met by Lee Keun-Ho this time, but his flick on is gathered by Sugeno before Kim Shin-Wook can shoot.

33 Mins: Jorge Wanger is incredibly wasteful on a rare foray into the Ulsan half. He has two players in space to pass two around the Horangi’s penalty area, but finds neither. The ball is returned to him, but he then attempts a flick which fails to come off and Ulsan can bring the ball out of defence.

36 Mins: Facing away from goal and attempting to control a Lee Ho throughball on his chest, Naoya Kondo is climbing over the back of Lee Keun-Ho, and Ulsan have a free-kick just twenty yards from goal.

36 Mins: Kwak Tae-Hwi awaits, but slams his shot into the face of Hideakazu Otani in the Reysol wall, who stays down for some treatment after being poleaxed by the strike.

41 Mins: Ulsan have a further chance to take the lead. Yet another long ball out of defence causes Reysol problems. It’s missed by Kim Shin-Wook, but Sakai leaves Kim Seung-Yong unattended at the back post, and running on to the bouncing ball he powers his header over the net.

43 Mins: Lee Keun-Ho is down near halfway, crumpling under a challenge from Hidekazu Otani. The official doesn’t signal for any offence, and Keun-Ho is on his feet after a minute or so.

45 Mins: Two minutes of added time to be played at the end of a first period in which Ulsan have dominated and should be leading.

45 Mins+2: The time added on passes without incident.

HT: Ulsan Hyundai 0 Kashiwa Reysol 0

HT: Manager Nelsinho has a number of issues to resolve are Reysol to progress to the quarter-finals. Wagner, wasteful in possession, is providing little protection in midfield and to his left-back being constantly drawn into the centre of midfield and allowing Lee Keun-Ho almost free reign on the right. Reysol also show few signs of having equipped themselves adequately to deal with crosses, Kim Shin-Wook winning headers at will for his forward partner.

HT: No changes to report for either side as the players return to the field. Can Reysol find a way of neutralising Kim Shin-Wook’s aerial presence in this second period?

46 Mins: Domingues and Tanaka get the second half going.

47 Mins: Domingues crosses along the six yard box, but it’s fractionally too strong for Kudo to control and shoot.

48 Mins: CROSSBAR! Ulsan first hit the crossbar and then Sugeno makes an excellent stop on the line. Masushima can only head backwards in attempting to clear a cross, and it falls to Go Seul-Ki, who shoots across Naoya Kondo, hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing out. Kim Shin-Wook tries to head into the net from the rebound, but Sugeno reacts quickly to beat the ball away.

49 Mins: Wagner’s cross can’t find a Kashiwa Reysol foot to turn an excellent low delivery into the net.

51 Mins: Sakai protests at being penalised for a challenge on Lee Keun-Ho near the Reysol goalline, but it’s definitely an infringement. The official spots an offence as the free-kick is struck, and Reysol can clear.

55 Mins: GOAL! They have been threatening all match, and Kim Shin-Wook gives Ulsan Hyundai a deserved lead, but it comes as a result of quite dreadful Reysol defending. Otani misplaces a pass which Lee Keun-Ho intercepts on the edge of the Sun Kings eighteen yard box, and he floats a cross for an entirely unmarked Kim Shin-Wook to head home, Masushima and Kondo either side of the striker but neither challenging for the header.

55 Mins: Ulsan Hyundai 1 Kashiwa Reysol 0

57 Mins: With Reysol now forced onto the offensive, a swerving shot from Naoya Kondo is only inches away from the right upright from twenty yards.

59 Mins: Domingues is shown a yellow card, first penalised for some tugging of the shirt on Velez, and then shown a reaction to some words which came his way from the Ulsan midfielder.

61 Mins: So, so close to an equaliser for Reysol. Tanaka turns superbly inside the penalty area, and manages to find a cross which is just too far from Leandro Domingues’ outstretched boot four yards from goal. Reysol have been transformed since they went behind.

64 Mins: A foul on Kim Shin-Wook on forty yards allows Ulsan some breathing space. Kim wins the subsequent header, but it doesn’t bother Sugeno, bouncing well off target.

65 Mins: Junya Tanaka must score. And doesn’t. Onside in the penalty area from Domingues pass, he beats the onrushing Kim Seung-Gye, but then can’t beat Lee Jae-Seong who clears off the goalline. The scores should be level.

66 Mins: Maranhao replaces Kim Seung-Yong in the first substitution of the contest.

67 Mins: GOAL! Reysol have been the better since the goal, if certainly not the match, and he heads home a Tatsuya Masushima long throw into the right corner of the net.

67 Mins: Ulsan Hyundai 1 Kashiwa Reysol 1

69 Mins: Jorge Wagner then sees a raking effort pushes wide by Kim Seung-Gyu, the corner wasted as the referee spots some pushing in the penalty area.

70 Mins: GOAL! A body blow for Kashiwa Reysol. Naoya Kondo tries to divert Lee Ho’s low cross behind for a goal kick, but it’s rolling over the line as Sugeno dives to stop its momentum. The Reysol players are furious, and the camera angles aren’t helpful from the replays, but it looks like the ball may have crossed the line. The Sun Kings need to reply all over again.

70 Mins: Ulsan Hyundai 2 Kashiwa Reysol 1

75 Mins: An unnecessary challenge from Leandro Domingues on goalkeeper Kim under a ball he was never going to win sees the Ulsan stopper require some treatment.

76 Mins: Just under fifteen minutes left to play. Can Reysol find a second equaliser to force this game into extra-time?

77 Mins: Hidekazu Otani has played his last with Masakatsu Sawa entering the fray.

78 Mins: Junya Tanaka takes the wrong option, shooting from 20 yards straight at Kim Seung-Gyu as Sawa was free inside the penalty area.

78 Mins: Tanaka landed on Lee Ho’s ankle as returned to the turf from his shot, and he sees in a great deal of pain as he is removed from the field on a stretcher.

80 Mins: As we enter the last ten minutes, all the pressure is from Reysol. Masukawa has a long throw headed away, Wagner shooting first-time on the rebound, and deflected behind for a corner.

83 Mins: Lee Keun-Ho, who has spurned a number of chances to score, is put through one-on-one with Sugeno, and should score, but the goalkeeper claims the ball at the forward’s feet. Reysol are still in this, just.

85 Mins: Sawa should score the second for Reysol, but can’t force the ball past Kim Young-Sam who blocks. A lovely short pass from Tanaka allowed Domingues to shoot, which Kim Seung-Gyu manages to push just behind Masato Kudo following up. Sawa can’t find the finish.

88 Mins: GOAL! Game over. A pass from Go Seul-Ki is met with a lovely flick from Kim Shin-Wook, and Lee Keun-Ho is finally able to finish with a volley into the bottom left corner.

88 Mins: Ulsan Hyundai 3 Kashiwa Reysol 1

90 Mins: There will be four additional minutes to play. Three successive efforts from Reysol are all cleared away.

90 Mins+2: GOAL! Junya Tanaka thunders a strike into the top left corner from a very tight ankle, after good work from Leandro Domingues with his back to goal and a fine pass from Sawa to find the Brazilian. Some hope for the Sun Kings.

90 Mins+2: Ulsan Hyundai 3 Kashiwa Reysol 2

90 Mins+4: It’s just not enough for Reysol. Referee blows his whistle for full-time, and it’s all over at the Big Crown.

FT: Ulsan Hyundai 3 Kashiwa Reysol 2

FT: There might be some controversy over the second Ulsan goal, and there will be some debate as to whether the ball fully crossed the line, but it took Reysol to go behind before they were able to rouse themselves for this contest. Both sides spurned a number of opportunities in front of goal, but there’s little doubt as to which team deserved to win the contest on merit. Manager Nelsinho now faces the same task as that awaiting Dragan Stojkovic, finding away of lifting his team away from the bottom half of the table and then attempting to qualify for the 2013 competition.

FT: I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage. You’ll find a full match report on Football Japan later today.

アデレード・ユナイテッド (Adelaide United) 1 名古屋グランパス (Nagoya Grampus) 0

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
Goalscorers Min Goalscorers Min
Jon McKain 42
Substitutes Min Substitutes Min
Zenon Caravella
Sergio Van Dijk
68 Keiji Tamada
Mu Kanazaki
46
Dario Vidosic
Evan Kostopoulos
82 Taishi Taguchi
Hayuma Tanaka
68
Bruce Djite
Teeboy Kamara
88 Kensuke Nagai
Teruki Tanaka
72
Cautions Min Cautions Min
Zenon Caravella 54 Daniel 74

Adelaide United: 4-1-4-1 (Red); Nagoya Grampus: 4-3-3 (Grey)

AFC Champions League: Round of 16 live-blog – Adelaide United v 名古屋グランパス (Nagoya Grampus)

0 Min: Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus do battle for a quarter-final place in the AFC Champions League today, the single tie elimination round taking place at the Hindmarsh Stadium courtesy of the Reds winning Group E, four draws for Grampus one of the main reasons why they failed to win Group G. The teams are as follows:

0 Min: Adelaide United – Galekovic, Boogard, McKain, Mullen, Cassio, Caravella, Vidosic, Djite, Ramsay, Barbiero, Fyfe

Substitutes – Van Dijk, Golec, Watson, Birighitti, Usucar, Kostopoulos, Kamara

0 Min: Nagoya Grampus – Narazaki; Tanaka Tulio, Masukawa, Abe, Daniel; Fujimoto, Ogawa, Taguchi; Tamada, Kennedy, Nagai

Substitutes – Takagi; Ishibitsu Tanaka H; Kanazaki, Tanaka Teruki, Alessandro Santos; Maki

0 Min: The players are out on the pitch, Josh Kennedy sharing a few words with some of his fellow Socceroos. We’re about three minutes from kick-off, captains Eugene Galekovic and Tulio Tanaka contesting the coin toss.

1 Min: Referee Abdul Mailk from Singapore blows his whistle, and it’s Josh Kennedy and Keiji Tamada who get the match underway.

2 Mins: A poor start for Grampus, Tulio bringing down Bruce Djite in a very central position 25 yards from goal after ceding possession from the kick-off. Cassio and Dario Vidosic are over the ball to take left-footed, five men in the wall.

2 Mins: It’s Vidosic who strikes, bending right-footed over the wall but it floats clear of Seigo Narazaki’s crossbar.

5 Mins: Grampus comfortable in posession around the defence and midfield, but Adelaide are not pressing beyond their own half and are winning possession cheaply as Grampus enter Australian territory.

6 Mins: After winning the ball from Josh Kennedy, a fine pass from midfield by Dario Vidosic is swung right to left to Iain Ramsay, who controls before firing high and wide on the left edge of the penalty area.

7 Mins: Ramsay then crosses into the eighteen yard box searching for Djite, but it’s a comfortable take for Narazaki.

9 Mins: Keiji Tamada and Jungo Fujimoto exchange passes around the box, Tamada choosing to clip the ball into the six yard area with the outside of his left foot, and it’s cleared behind for a corner.

9 Mins: Fujimoto’s corner is dangerous, but it’s headed clear across goal. Tamada appears to be brought down, but instead Grampus are penalised for a challenge by Daniel.

10 Mins: Ten minutes played, it’s Adelaide United 0 Nagoya Grampus 0.

12 Mins: A talking to is required for Zenon Caravella, who is very lucky to escape a yellow card for a challenge in midfield. The set piece forty yards from goal comes to naught.

15 Mins: Disappointing from Keiji Tamada. Grampus have a 3v3 scenario from 35 yards, but Tamada’s pass is listless and knocked back to goalkeeper Galekovic to clear.

16 Mins: Caravella is penalised for another infringement on Taguchi.

17 Mins: There are some interesting decisions being made by referee Malik at the moment.

19 Mins: The game has gone rather quiet at the moment, though it’s notable that Adelaide are seeking to use Iain Ramsay on the left at every opportunity, perhaps in the belief that he has the better of the Grampus right-back.

23 Mins: Nagoya nearly find a way through, but after a clever turn from Kennedy to deceive an Adelaide defender, he can’t find the burst of pace needed to reach the throughball before Galekovic.

24 Mins: Daniel is deemed to have brought down Djite 25 yards from goal, this free-kick further to the right but still in a very good position from which to test Narazaki. The set piece is a complete waste, as Vidosic falls to connect properly with the short lay-off.

27 Mins: Masukawa has a chance from distance, Abe finding Nagai inside the penalty area, but as he feeds the right-back eighteen yards from goal, he drags the shot wide of Galekovic’s right upright.

28 Mins: Djite wins another free-kick from Daniel, both players holding each other’s shirts but it’s the Grampus defender who is penalised.

29 Mins: Iain Fyfe barges into goalkeeper Narazaki with little chance of winning the ball, Malik choosing to have a chat with the bearded defender but no more.

31 Mins: After Tulio is beaten coming out of defence in midfield, he recovers well to stop Djite’s cross from the right finding an Adelaide player.

33 Mins: A beautiful sweeping crossfield ball should be controlled by Yoshizumi Ogawa on the right touchline, but he is unable to bring the ball down and it goes harmlessly for a throw-in to Adelaide.

34 Mins: A magnificent save from Eugene Galekovic stops Josh Kennedy from giving Grampus the lead. Abe’s cross is superb, and Kennedy heads downwards anticipating the ball finding the net. Galekovic’s reactions are superb and he sends out a strong left palm to push behind for a corner.

35 Mins: Two consecutive crosses are then punched away by Galekovic, before a third clears his crossbar to ease the pressure on Adelaide United.

37 Mins: Good link play between Fujimoto and Kennedy gives Tamada a chance to score, but he lifts it over the bar. The midfielder really should have found the target. Grampous domination of the match now clear, but a failure to take their chances against a defence which has conceded few could be costly for Stojkovic’s side.

39 Mins: Another save by Galekovic, this time an easier take as Kennedy flicks on but Tamada can’t find the power to put it past the Adelaide stopper sliding in on goal.

40 Mins: Five minutes left in the first period, it’s Adelaide United 0 Nagoya Grampus 0.

41 Mins: A testing delivery from Ramsay gives Adelaide their first corner of the match, Narazaka tipping behind under his crossbar.

41 Mins: GOAL! What did I say about failing to take chances? Entirely against the run of play, Adelaide take the lead. Defender Jon McKain appears to get the final touch on the ball after Boogard heads the corner goalwards. It glances off Daniel, and the Australian is able to get his body between Narazaki and the ball to deflect the ball home, Josh Kennedy unable to clear off the line.

41 Mins: Adelaide United 1 Nagoya Grampus 0

44 Mins: It could be two. Djite’s cross is flicked backwards by Cassio, and Vidosic chooses to attempt to volley first time. Fortunately for Grampus it’s left of Narazaki’s goal.

45 Mins: One minute of added time to play, and half-time can’t come soon enough for Grampus.

45 Mins+1: And that’s it for the first-half.

HT: Adelaide United 1 Nagoya Grampus 0

HT: It was a difficult goal to concede in the circumstances, Adelaide perhaps lucky to have the run of the ball in the goalmouth, but Grampus would not need to reflect on being a goal behind had they taken the chances with which they had been presented. Manager Stojkovic will certainly be happy with the overall standard of Grampus’s play and their practical total domination of the opening 45 minutes, but he now has one period in which to find a response to ensure his side’s continued participation in this tournament.

HT: Mu Kanazaki is on for Keiji Tamada.

46 Mins: The Reds begin this second half. Can Grampus make their quality pay in this final 45 minutes?

48 Mins: Taguchi and Caravella are continuing their chat in the opening minutes of the second period, Taguchi going down in seeking a free-kick from Fyfe.

49 Mins: No Grampus player is willing to attempt a shot as they pass he ball in and around the penalty area, and Adelaide eventually clear, Djite brought down by Daniel who is perhaps fortunate to escape a booking.

50 Mins: Grampus head clear at the set piece, and they have the opportunity to build again as Djite is several yards offside as the ball is sent back in to the Grampus eighteen yard area.

51 Mins: A clever touch from Fujimoto allows Kanazaki to shoot from the edge of the area, and he tries to side-foot into the bottom right-hand corner. Unfortunately for Kanazaki it’s weak and too close to Galekovic.

53 Mins: Caravella is finally booked as Kanazaki bursts clear of him on the left-wing, Malik belatedly showing a yellow card.

54 Mins: A superb challenge for Boogard prevents Kennedy from getting away as he was winding up for the shot.

56 Mins: Masukawa bundles over Djite. The diagonal ball from forty yards is cleared away. Djite claims to be blocked off inside the box by Tulio and no longer in control of the ball, but the official waves away appeals for a spot kick.

61 Mins: Taguchi tries his luck from 35 yards, but it’s several feet over Galekovic’s crossbar.

63 Mins: After Djite clips Tulio from behind, Fujimoto swings the ball into the penalty box left-footed, Galekovic makes another stop. Masukawa, unmarked six yards from goal, places his header in one of the few areas in which he can make a save when directing it to his right would almost certainly have levelled the scores.

67 Mins: Into the final quarter of the 90 minutes, it’s Adelaide United 1 Nagoya Grampus 0.

67 Mins: Kennedy sends a header clear of the crossbar. A difficult chance for the Australian under pressure from Boogard.

68 Mins: The popular Sergio Van Dijk replaces Zenon Caravella for Adelaide.

69 Mins: And Van Dijk exits the field, the officials not happy with either his boots or some loose strapping on his leg. Yosuke Taguchi is replaced by Hayuma Tanaka in the meantime.

70 Mins: The final twenty minutes, and Grampus have had the best chances of this half. Another one ay present itself after Vidosic gives away a free-kick 37 yards from goal. It’s a good cross from Fujimoto aimed at Tanaka, but Nigel Boogard does very well to head away and subsequently complete the clearance.

71 Mins: Teruki Tanaka is on in the final substitution for Grampus, Kensuke Nagai makes way.

72 Mins: The yellow card count is equal, Daniel booked for one of several fouls on Djite.

74 Mins: Cassio brings the ball across the penalty area, but Narazaki is untroubled as the midfielder is off-balance and skies his shot.

75 Mins: Galekovic saves his side again. Kanazaki’s superb low cross is knocked away, but Masukawa’s cross then finds Kanazaki. It’s high but straight at the keeper who reaches to push over his crossbar.

76 Mins: Tulio believes he is pulled down from behind by Djite at Fujimoto’s corner, but if it was an offence, it goes unnoticed by referee Malik.

79 Mins: Grampus are laying siege to the Adelaide defence, Tulio noticeably higher up the field as they seek out a goal. Nagoya may be in difficulty if Adelaide are able to counter quickly.

80 Mins: The last ten minutes of the second half begin with Adelaide on the offensive, winning a throw-in deep in Grampus’s half.

81 Mins: Dario Vidosic is off for Evan Kostopoulos.

83 Mins: Barbiero has the simplest of chances to secure a quarter-final berth for his side, but having beaten Daniel inside the penalty area, he blasts over from short range.

84 Mins: Hayuma Tanaka blocks Iain Ramsay’s cross for a corner. The official spots an offence in the area, allowing Narazaki to clear long downfield. With added time, there are probably nine or ten minutes left in this match.

86 Mins: CROSSBAR! Adelaide cleverly keep hold of possession, Fyfe heavily involved, Van Dijk then shooting left-footed from 20 yards but slamming against the crossbar, the ball just not dipping enough.

88 Mins: Djite’s match comes to an end as he jogs off the field, Teeboy Kamara on for the final five or six minutes.

90 Mins: Normal time is up. And there will be only three minutes to final the single goal to force extra-time.

90 Mins+1: Kostopoulos gives away a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Can Fujimoto find the net?

90 Mins+2: The referee is pushing the Adelaide wall back. Fujimoto to take ….

90 Mins+3: POST! Galekovic is beaten, but Fujimoto finds the outside of the right upright. So, so close. But it looks like Grampus are beaten.

90 Mins+3: The three minutes are up and the ball is in Galekovic’s hands. He boots downfield. And it’s all over.

FT: Adelaide United 0 Nagoya Grampus 1

FT: Stojokovic and his team will be left to reflect on what might have been, missed opportunities, wasted possession and an excellent performance from Eugene Galekovic in the Adelaide United net denying them what might have otherwise been a straightforward march into the next round. Stojkovic now must focus on attempting to qualify for next year’s competition, not an easy feat given Grampus’s poor form in the J.League and breaking clear of sides close to the relegation places his most immediate task.

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

AFC Champions League: Round of 16 live-blog schedule – Adelaide United v 名古屋グランパス (Nagoya Grampus)

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.

ヴィッセル神戸 (Vissel Kobe) 1 鹿島アントラーズ (Kashima Antlers) 2

(Vissel Kobe dominate all but the scoreline, as Kashima Antlers’ revival continued with a 2-1 success at the HOME’S Stadium. Antlers are in tenth place as Division 1 action is suspended for the international break, Vissel two points and four places behind)

Vissel found domination, desire and a not insubstantial amount of desperation could not trump defensive errors on a mild evening at the HOME’S Stadium in Kobe, becoming masters of their own downfall as Lee Kwang-Seon erred twice to gift Kashima Antlers the victory in Akira Nishino’s first match in charge. The garlanded former Gamba Osaka manager, whose tenure at the Suita club came to an end shortly after the 2011 J.League season finished, was visibly shocked at the ease with which his side conceded both goals, Lee removed shortly after Shinzo Koroki had stroked the ball into the Vissel net from short range.

After the opening exchanges had seen Vissel camped inside Kashima territory, and Toru Araiba nearly caught in possession by Tsubasa Oya, Takeshi Aoki cleared long downfield. Lee, covering on the right and alert to the presence of Juninho, misjudged the flight of the ball and found air rather than a clean connection, allowing the 34 year-old Brazilian to head on and thump past Kenta Tokushige to give the visitors an unlikely lead after only seven minutes had been played.

Six minutes after the restart Takeshi Aoki picked out the run of Juninho’s compatriate Dutra perfectly, controlling in his stride to advance into the penalty area. In pursuit of the midfielder, however, Lee exacerbated his earlier mistake, failing to make a challenge and allowing Dutra to prod the ball to his right past Tokushige to give Koroki one of the easiest goals he will score.

Koroki could have made the game completely safe as a defensive fallibility was exposed once more, Dutra heading forward from a ball out of midfield, and although the stalwart Kashima forward could not apply the right touch to steer past Sogahata for his second, he was able to fend off Takahito Soma all too easily.

It was a case of what might have been for the home side, as among the number of opportunites they created, and boasting 60% of the possession and double the number of shots attempted, the nimble Ryota Morioka came close to scoring one of the goals of the season inside 65 minutes. Gathering a Gaku Shibasaki pass thirty yards from goal, he embarked on a weaving run which left both Mitsuo Ogasawara and Daiki Iwamasa on the floor, and his strike on the edge of the area didn’t bend quite enough to beat Hitoshi Sogahata low to his left.

Six minutes were left on the clock when Keijiro Ogawa floundered in front of goal, leaving the teenager to beat the turf in frustration. Morioka and fellow substitute Yuzo Tashiro’s one-two on the edge of the penalty area enable Morioka to pull back for the striker to score, but he could only send his effort several feet over Sogoahata’s crossbar from six yards.

The goal which gave Vissel a life line as the game entered added time would have been a worthy winner of the contest had Vissel made their pressure count. Holding up play to the right of the penalty area, captain Yoshito Okubo laid off to Keiji Kitamoto, and within two touches via Morioka, Yuzo Tashiro was through on goal to slot past Sogahata. Instead it was not enough to recover the two-goal deficit, the four minutes added time insufficient to create a further chance to equalise.

The onus will be on Nishino to resolve on-going concerns at the back while improving the return upfront. While his team’s goalscoring record could be described as adequate at this stage of the season, Vissel can only point to two teams conceding goals at a higher rate. For a manager whose sides were previously been built on movement and attacking football, it is an ambitious project for Nishino to have taken on, but having won all there is to offer in Japanese and Asian club football, and shaping Gamba Osaka from a team which had never finished in the top four into perennial J.League contenders, there should be few doubts as to his ability to thrive in what is a difficult environment.

Vissel Kobe Kashima Antlers
Goalscorers Min Goalscorers Min
Yuzo Tashiro 90 Juninho 7
Shinzo Koroki 51
Substitutes Min Substitutes Min
Park Kang-Jo
Yuzo Tashiro
46 Dutra
Chikashi Masuda
74
Lee Kwang-Seon
Ryota Morioka
54 Juninho
Shoma Doi
90+1
Keijiro Ogawa
Hiroto Mogi
74
Cautions Min Cautions Min
Masahiko Inoha 49 Hitoshi Sogahata 85

Vissel Kobe: 4-4-2 (Red); Kashima Antlers: 4-4-2 (Grey)