(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|