J. League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup: Matchday Five Live-blog – セレッソ大阪 (Cerezo Osaka) v 川崎フロンターレ (Kawasaki Frontale)

0 Min: As J.League Division 1 action is suspended for the international break, the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup takes precedence domestically, and I’ll be live-blogging Matchday Five’s Group A contest between Cerezo Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale from the Kincho Stadium.

With Jubilo Iwata having a bye week, Cerezo will end the day topping the group on goal difference provided they can secure a victory, while Frontale must find a win if they are realistically to stand any chance of making the quarter-finals. I’ll have team news for you very soon.

0 Min: Cerezo Osaka – Matsui; Moniwa, Fujimoto, Sakemoto, Takahashi; Ogihara, Yamaguchi, Branquinho, Maruhashi; Kempes, Kakitani

Substitutes – Ogino; Kim S-G; Funatsu, Yoshino, Yokoyama, Murata; Nagai

0 Min: Kawasaki Frontale – Nishibe; Tanaka Yusuke, Saneto, Igawa, Noborizato; Shibasaki, Oshima, Kusukami; Tasaka, Renato, Yajima

Substitutes – Sugiyama; Tanaka Yudai; Santos, Tanaka Junichi; Kobayashi, Tanio

0 Min: Today’s referee is Koichiro Fukushima, kick-off expected to be exactly 19:00. It’s a cloudy night in Osaka but otherwise fairly mild, the thermometer reading approximately 19 degrees.

0 Min: The players are out on the field in their final preparations for the kick-off.

1 Min: It will be the home side to get us underway, and we’re off and running in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup.

3 Mins: A quick turn from Yoichiro Kakitani from Kempes’s pass finds the forward up-ended, and Cerezo have the first chance of the game, a free-kick which Branquinho takes from 6 yards infield and slams straight into the two-man wall. The ball is returned to Branquinho once more, and this time his cross is into the centre of the penalty area. Kempes’s misses the ball completely with his attempted overhead kick, but the ball falls to Yusuke Maruhashi. His left-footed strike is wild and sails several feet clear of Yohei Nishibe’s crossbar.

6 Mins: Kyohei Noborizato is tripped by Branquinho, who gesticulates to Fukushima that the left-back had failed to keep the ball in play.

7 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka’s delivery from the left curls across the six yard area, and Kenya Matsui fails to get a hand to the ball. It’s just beyond Takuro Yajima at the back post.

11 Mins: The first corner of the match is Frontale’s, Renato and Yusuke Tanaka combining to good effect on the right which the Brazilian takes, and it’s a very good header from Teruyuki Moniwa to clear away.

13 Mins: And Cerezo immediately reply with a corner of their own. Branquinho crosses to the edge of the penalty area for an intended volley, but the ball is played to high. It finds its way back to Branquinho infield on the left, who plays the ball to teammate Maruhashi, and a shot is weak and comfortably held by Nishibe.

15 Mins: POST! Branquinho’s swerving effort from 22 yards is just the wrong side of the right upright with Nishibe well-beaten. A superb strike from the Brazilian.

16 Mins: Yusuke Igawa half-clears a Yusuke Maruhashi cross, which is volleyed left-footed first-time into the side netting.

18 Mins: Cerezo Osaka starting to dominate, and they win another corner as Yoichiro Kakitani’s shot on the spin is deflected behind the goalline. It’s taken short, and doesn’t prove fruitful.

20 Mins: Takahiro Ogihara clips Ryota Oshima from behind, and Frontale have a free-kick roughly 35 yards from goal. Renato and Oshima are both over the ball. Working it out to the left-hand side, a cross comes in low but Kota Fujimoto hacks clear.

22 Mins: Takuro Yajima does well under pressure from two defenders to earn Frontale a corner on the left. Tasaka plays it short to Renato, who returns it to the wide player. His cross is then too deep for Takura Yajima, who is unable to head the ball back across goal, and it’s behind for a Cerezo goal-kick.

23 Mins: Mid-way through the first period, it’s Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 0.

25 Mins: Branquinho forces Nishibeinto making the first save of the match which a curling shot from 20 yards. Diving to his right, he’s unable to hold at the first attempt, but recovers quickly to claim with Kakitani following-up.

27 Mins: Takahiro Ogihara is booked for a silly foul well inside the Kawasaki Frontale half, as he prevents Renato from turning away from him.

30 Mins: GOAL! The KINCHO Stadium falls quiet. Jumpei Kusukami beats Cerezo’s offside trap with a superb run across the defensive line. It’s poor goal-keeping from Kenya Matsui, as he fails to defend his near post, and he doesn’t force the midfielder to shoot across the angle.

30 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 1

33 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka then has an attempt from long range, cutting in from the left-hand side. He tries to find the top-right corner with a bending effort, but it doesn’t trouble Matsui, staying well clear of the right upright.

35 Mins: Less than ten minutes left in the first period, as Branquinho diverts a ball to Sakemoto on the right touchline. An aimless cross from a good position is much too close to Nishibe, who catches and clears long downfield.

37 Mins: Two crosses from Yusuke Maruhashi in quick succession are cleared.

39 Mins: Kenya Matsui is very fortunate to see Takuro Yajima shoot into the side-netting, as he comes off his line unnecessarily with Yajima attended by Teruyuki Moniwa. He could well have been embarrassed had Yajima’s effort been better-directed.

40 Mins: Cerezo Osaka have a further two corners, the first of which is palmed behind by Yohei Nishibe, and the second Frontale are able to bring away from their penalty area.

43 Mins: A pass from the right touchline into space gives Renato an opportunity to shoot. His low, left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area is curling, but it’s into the legs of Matsui, who ensures his full body is behind the strike.

45 Mins: As Yusuke Tanaka’s run pulls Daisuke Takahashi away from the penalty area, Renato is able to test Matsui once more. He tries to beat the goalkeeper at the near post from eighteen yards, but he is wise to the effort this time and stops low at his left post.

45 Mins+1: One last chance for Cerezo Osaka, as they win a corner in stoppage time, which Branquinho will take from the right.

45 Mins+2: It’s headed away, but a one-two between Sakemoto and Branquinho allows the defender to cross and earn his team another corner. The set piece delivery is poor and easily cleared, and with that, the official blows his whistle to signal for half-time.

HT: Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 1

HT: Dynamism in midfield, aided by the willing runs of Daisuke Takahashi from defence, has not been allied to a cutting edge for the home side at the KINCHO Stadium, who finds themselves a goal behind at the break to the only clear chance for either side of this match. Branquinho came very close to opening the scoring for Cerezo, a powerful strike crashing back off the right, but otherwise some promising build-up play has been followed by low-quality crosses.

45 Mins: One substitution being made at half-time as Takamitsu Yoshino enters the fray for Cerezo Osaka. Takahiro Ogihara is the man replaced.

46 Mins: Referee Fukushima gives the signal to resume play, and Kawasaki Frontale get the second half underway.

47 Mins: GOAL! Kempes brings his side level two minutes after the restart. Fine control from Yoichiro Kakitani brings in Branquinho, and he finds Kempes. He cuts across the penalty area and sends a perfectly placed low left-footed shot into the net.

47 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 1 Kawasaki Frontale 1

54 Mins: Branquinho just manages to keep an over-hit ball in play on the right, but with several players surging forward, the opportunity is wasted and Frontale are able to bring the ball away.

55 Mins: Rene Santos is ready to come on, and looks to be replacing Yusuke Tanaka, who has a problem with a contact lens, however the change is withheld for the time being.

57 Mins: A yellow card is shown to Naoriyuki Sakemoto for pulling back Renato. Rene Santos now does make his entrance, and it’s for Kosei Shibasaki.

58 Mins: GOAL! Cerezo Osaka have turned this match around. Poor control from Yusuke Tanaka allows Yoichiro Kakitani to intercept in midfield, and he bursts forward. He cuts past Yuki Saneto, and the recovering Kakitani’s lunge is in despair as Kakitani’s lovely dinked effort with the edge of his right boot from 15 yards clears the advancing Nishibe and into the net.

58 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 2 Kawasaki Frontale 1

59 Mins: Kempes is booked, the third player for the home side to enter Fukushima’s notebook.

63 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka exits play for Yu Kobayashi. Frontale have made little advance in this second half, and miscontrol from Yusuke Igawa gives Branquinho the chance to deliver a corner from the right. It’s short, and the cross is bent across goal. Nishibe almost misjudges the flight of the ball, having to re-adjust as it nearly clears him, but he catches safely enough.

65 Mins: Branquinho links with Kakitani, who then feeds Kempes on the edge of the penalty area. It’s a woeful effort from the striker who under little pressure clears the bar.

68 Mins: GOAL! Kawasaki Frontale are back on level terms. A stunning left-footed lob from Takuro Yajima has beaten Matsui, but not the crossbar, and Renato cushions the rebound home with his left foot. Cerezo defenders are appealing in vain for the offside, the Brazilian clearly played onside by Noriyuki Sakemoto when the ball left Yajima’s foot.

68 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 2 Kawasaki Frontale 2

71 Mins: Ryota Oshima is currently down for Frontale, stretching to clear a Branquinho throughball, possibly damaging a hamstring or calf muscle in the process. He exits the pitch on a stretcher, and is back gingerly to his feet on the sidelines.

73 Mins: Rene Santos barges Yusuke Marushashi as the ball is running out for a throw-in, but no free-kick is given for a poor challenge.

73 Mins: Renato blazes over the bar with an overlapping Rene Santos the better option to his right.

75 Mins: Oshima has played his final action in this match, and Yudai Tanaka is on in his place.

75 Mins: A crossfield pass from Yusuke Tanaka is too strong for Yu Kobayashi.

<strong<75 Mins: Renato has a corner, looking to give his side the lead for the second time in this match having recovered from being a goal behind after 58 minutes.

75 Mins: The referee spots an infringement in the penalty area with Jumpei Kusukami backing into Kenya Matsui, who was able to punch clear in any case.

77 Mins: Noriyuki Sakemoto, under the close attention of Yu Kobayashi, retains possession well, and draws a free-kick out of the forward for some shirt-pulling.

78 Mins: Rene Santos is down in the Kawasaki Frontale penalty area after he rose to contest a header with Kempes, holding his back after falling to the floor. Upon exiting the field, he sprints to rejoin the play.

80 Mins: Daisuke Takahashi is shown a yellow card as he impedes Yusuke Tanaka on the right edge of the penalty area. A chance for Renato to shoot.

81 Mins: Renato’s powerful effort is on target as it beats the wall, but too close to Matsui who pushes behind for a corner. The resulting delivery is then headed away for a throw-in on the right, five yards from the goalline.

81 Mins: A second substitution for Cerezo Osaka, as Kasuyz Murata replaces Branquinho.

85 Mins: The first yellow card for Frontale is shown to Renato, who clambers over Kakitani to prevent him passing him on the right. Lovely skill from the winger.

86 Mins: GOAL! And it’s Kakitani who thumps home. A clipped free-kick by Noriyuki Sakemoto meets with a poor clearance from Yuki Saneto, and Kakitani’s first-time strike is through the legs of Hyohei Noborizato and sneaks inside the right upright, leaving Nishibe with no chance of making a save.

86 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 3 Kawasaki Frontale 2

88 Mins: As Nariyuki Sakemoto exits play on a stretcher, Tetsuya Funatsu is the last Cerezo replacement.

90 Mins: A corner for Frontale taken by Renato, and a subsequent cross as his corner is returned to him, are cleared.

90 Mins: Cerezo break quickly on the counter-attack, but a smart stop is made by Nishibe from Kakitani’s shot.

90 Mins+1: Into three minutes of added time and Frontale are pressing for a second equaliser, but Takuro Yajima is judged to be offside.

90 Mins+2: A few players have been affected by cramp in this match, and it’s Kyohei Noborizato’s turn to receive some treatment.

90 Mins+3: Fukushima blows his whistle for the end of this encounter, and with it he ends Kawasaki Frontale’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Cerezo will end Matchday Five at the top of Group A, two fine strikes from Yoichiro Kakitani and a Kempes equaliser early in the second half sufficient to give the home side three points.

FT: Cerezo Osaka 3 Kawasaki Frontale 2

FT: Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage.

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.

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.

J.League Division 1: Matchday Thirteen live-blog – ヴィッセル神戸 (Vissel Kobe) v. 鹿島アントラーズ (Kashima Antlers)

0 Min: Welcome to today’s live blog, in which I’ll be covering the Matchday Thirteen contest between Vissel Kobe and Kashima Antlers at the HOME’S Stadium. A full preview of this match can be found here”. Team news will follow very shortly:

0 Min: Vissel Kobe – Tokushige; Soma, Kitamoto, Lee K-S, Okui; Park K-J, Nozawa, Oya, Inoha; Okubo, Ogawa

Substitures – Sakigake; Mogi, Takagi; Tanaka, Mihara; Tashiro, Morioka

0 Min: Kashima Antlers – Sogahata; Iwamasa, Araiba, Aoki, Nishi; Dutra, Shibasaki, Endo, Ogasawara; Juninho, Koroki

Substitutes – Sato; Shoji; Umebachi, Masuda, Doi; Okamoto, Sasaki

0 Min: It’s a cloudy and very warm evening in Kobe, the temperature a balmly 24 degrees. Tomohiro Inoue will oversee this contest.

1 Min: The match kicks-off, and Vissel have a free kick on the left-hand side of the field, 8 yards inside the Vissel half. A drifting Takuya Nozawa cross to the right of the penalty area is harmless, and cleared.

3 Min: Nozawa takes a free-kick from a similar distance this time, choosing to bend the ball with power, but this time it’s overcooked and caught by Hitoshi Sogahata.

4 Mins: Okubo is caught in midfield after a break, and the home side take the free-kick quickly, the ball diverted out for a corner.

6 Mins: Kunie Kitamoto meets Nozawa’s corner six yards from goal, but he glances it wide of the left upright. A good start for Vissel.

7 Mins: GOAL! Turo Araiba was nearly robbed in defence by Tsubasa Oya, but instead a long clearance from the back by Kunie Kitamoto is miscontrolled by Lee Kwang-Seon. Juninho latches on to the ball, heads on and thumps the ball past Kenta Tokushige from fifteen yards.

7 Mins: Vissel Kobe 0 Kashima Antlers 1

8 Mins: Yasushi Endo skips inside two players and whips a shot from the edge of the area. Tokushige is alert to the danger, and saves comfortably.

10 Mins: Okubo has a sniff of an opportunity from 18 yards, but his shot is into the body of Sogahata.

11 Mins: A free-kick for the visitors 40 yards from goal in a relatively central position. Endo curls the ball into the area, but while there is pressure on Tokushige and Juninho sees a follow-up effort cleared off the line, referee Inoue has spotted an infringement.

14 Mins: While Vissel are playing a high-tempo pressing game and forcing Kashima to cede possession, they are struggling to retain any quality ball through a mixture of misplaced possesses and poor control. A lot of the play is currently in and around the centre circle.

17 Mins: Juninho is a casualty of a Masahiko Inoha arm into the face while he was being held by Lee Kwang-Seon. He walks off the field and Kashima are temporarily down to ten players.

20 Mins: After good play from Ogawa on the right wing, Okubo is held up inside the penalty area by Toru Araiba. He lays the ball of to Takuya Nozawa waiting outside the penalty area, but his strike is several feet off target. A disappointing attempt from the midfielder who was under little pressure.

23 Mins: Excellent work in defence and attack by Antlers right-back Daigo Nishi, breaking up opposition play before launching a counter-attack which earns his side a throw-in close to the Vissel goal-line.

23 Mins: Halfway through the first period of play, it’s Vissel Kobe 0 Kashima Antlers 1

27 Mins: Some lovely raking passes through midfield are finding Nozawa on the right, but Vissel have taken little advantage of some promising positions.

29 Mins: A Vissel attack breaks down after some good one- and two-touch play, Ryo Okui culpable as he sends a cross straight out of play.

34 Mins: Vissel looking to build moves out defence, Okui’s hanging delivery headed back across goal by Ogawa, but Okubo can’t connect with his overhead kick and the opportunity passes.

37 Mins: Nozawa drags a shot from distance narrowly wide of Hitoshi Sogahata’s right upright.

39 Mins: Mitsuo Ogasawaro bundles over Yoshito Okubo from behind, and Nozawa has a free-kick 40 yards from goal.

40 Mins: A Nozawa set piece fails to find one of his players, Sogahata getting a strong fist to the ball, and with Kunie Kitamoto being adjudged to be in an offside position, Kashima can clear.

42 Mins: Ryo Okui has been playing in a very advanced position this half, attacking down the right flank at every opportunity. The Antlers have been the equal of any threat to this point, however, Daigo Nishi and Toru Araiba in particular very good at the back.

45 Mins: There’s a scramble in the goalmouth as Dutra shoots right-footed across Sogahata with Kitamoto unable to block, and the goalkeeper can’t hold his fierce strike. Juninho tries to follow-up, but can’t place the loose ball into the goal as his attempt hits his teammate.

45 Mins+2: Tomohiro Inoue blows his whistle, and it’s half-time.

HT: Kashima Antlers 0 Vissel Kobe 1

HT: An odd first period. Neither side have been commanding in midfield, though the share of possession and territory has been in the home side’s favour. The Antlers, however, have been gifted a goal through shabby defending, and Vissel nearly coughed up a second through a further error, only Juninho’s inability to find the target preventing them going into the interval two goals behind.

HT: Yuzo Tashiro takes to the field in place of the largely invisible Park Kang-Jo, the only change at the break.

46 Mins: Back underway at the HOME’S Stadium, Vissel kicking off.

50 Mins: A similar start in the second period to the first. Masahiko Inoha is then shown a yellow card for pulling down.

50 Mins: Ogasawara takes the free-kick, a glancing header from Takeshi Aoki very close to extending Kashima’s lead as it’s inches wide from the left post.

51 Mins: GOAL! Endo’s left-footed crossfield pass finds Dutra beautifully, who controls and advances in to the penalty area. Lee Kwang-Seon should do better and has the opportunity to win a tackle to play the ball for a corner, but fails to do so. Dutra prods to his right, and Shinzo Koroki is able to tap in from just a yard with Tokushige beaten at his near post.

54 Mins: Lee Kwang-Seon, who has been at fault for both goals, is substituted for Ryota Morioka.

56 Mins: A long ball finds Tashiro on the edge of the Antlers penalty area, and he controls the ball well on his chest. However, he’s quickly surrounded by a swarming Kashima defence, and Mitsuo Ogasawara sends the ball out of play.

59 Mins: A corner for the home side. Nozawa, whose delivery has been found wanting so far, is to take. Dutra heads clear on the six yard line.

60 Mins: Mitsuo Ogasawara makes his annoyance at being penalised clear to referee Inoue, as he believes Nozawa went to ground too easily. The decision is, however, correct.

60 Mins: Keijiro Ogawa forces a point-blank stop out of Hitoshi Sogahata after Nozawa’s free-kick from the right is headed on by Kitamoto, but the forward is correctly deemed to be offside.

63 Mins: Antlers conceding free-kick after free-kick ten to fifteen yards from their goal, but the home side are still not finding a way through a tidy Kashima defence.

64 Mins: Substitute Ryota Morioka drives from outside the penalty area, beating three Antlers players, but his shot is too close to Sogahata, and he claims low to his left.

66 Mins: With three-quarters of the match gone, it’s Vissel Kobe 0 Kashima Antlers 2.

68 Mins: Shinzo Koroki has a chance to score a second and put this game beyond Vissel’s reach. He is sliding to reach a ball, but can’t find the right touch with his outstretched boot to put it past the advancing Tokushige.

70 Mins: Roughly twenty minutes remaining and it has now become a game of attack versus counter-attack, the Antlers back line situated around their own 18 yard box and the midfield a few yards advanced. It’s a very compact unit that will be difficult to prise open.

72 Mins: A final substitution for Vissel, as Hiroto Mogi comes on for Keijiro Ogawa. Dutra then walks off as Chikashi Masuda takes his place.

75 Mins: Mogi’s first touch is a header from sixteen yards from a Takahito Soma delivery, and while it’s well directed, there is not enough power on the effort and Sogahata is able to get across to his left to take.

76 Mins: A low shot from Nozawa is a yard wide of the left post, which Sogahata most likely had covered.

79 Mins: It’s hard to recall an attack from Kashima in these latter stages, the domination of possession by Vissel so total, but they have done very little to worry a sturdy Antlers defence.

82 Mins: Perhaps resigned to their fate, the game has gone rather stale.

84 Mins: A lovely touch from Mogi allows Morioka to pull back from the touchline, but Ogawa shoots over the bar from close range. The first real opportunity of the match wasted. The two substitutes combined well to create the chance.

85 Mins: Sogahata is shown what could be generously described as a belated yellow card for time wasting.

86 Mins: Yuzo Tashiro this time has a chance for Vissel, but excellent goalkeeping from Sogahata prevents him from finishing at a tight angle. Sogahata, when he has been required, has done the simple tings very well.

90 Mins: GOAL! A goal in the final minute of normal time from Yuzo Tashiro will make the four additional minutes more interesting.

90 Mins: Vissel Kobe 1 Kashima Antlers 2

90 Mins: Juninho exits for Shoma Doi in a change for Antlers.

90 Mins+2: Akira Nishino cuts a frustrated figure on the sidelines as he sees a decision go against Yuzo Tashiro.

90 Mins+4: Sixty seconds left in this match. Nozawa has a free-kick ten yards in from the left touchline. The curled set-piece is headed goalwards, and with the assistant referee’s flag in the air, Okubo prods the ball into Sogahata’s body.

FT: The final whistle blows. Vissel Kobe were unable to make their possession and territory tell, Kashima relatively untroubled until the final seven or eight minutes. New Vissel manager Akira Nishino will have much to consider from this performance, particularly some very soft defending which led to both goals, and a lack of a real cutting edge in attack.

FT: Vissel Kobe 1 Kashima Antlers 2

FT: Thank you for joining me. A full match report will follow on Monday 28 May.

Toulon Tournament 2012: Liveblog – 日本 (Japan) U-23 v. オランダ U-23 (Netherlands)

(Extended highlights of Japan’s excellent victory versus the Netherlands in the 2012 Toulon Tournament, which leaves Group A finely poised. Japan must beat Egypt in their final group game to be assured of a quarter-final place, who they meet on 27 May)

0 Min: The Under-23 Japan national team face a very difficult test as they come face-to-face with the Netherlands, who coasted to a 3-0 victory in their first Group A game versus Egypt. The Samurai Blue must take at least a point today to have any hope of progressing to the knock-out stage of the competition, and to ensure that their preparation for the London 2012 games remains on track. I’ll be bringing you coverage of all eighty minutes, and team news will appear here very shortly.

0 Min: Japan – Ando; Higa, Suzuki, Oiwa, Yamamura; Muramatsu, Takagi, Usami, Ogihara; Saito, Ibusuki

0 Min: Netherlands – Bizot, Ligeon, Reinstra, Nelom,l Wijaldum, Lukoki, Propper, Jansen, Berghuis, Ten Voorder, Gouriye

1 Min: Referee M. Tsynkevich blows his whistle and gets this match underway.

2 Mins: GOAL! The worst possible start for Japan. Jody Lukoki, who excelled on the wing against Egypt, speeds down the right, sends over a cross, and a delightful Ninos Gouriye hooked volley, over his shoulder into the top left corner, opens the scoring for the Netherlands.

3 Mins: Japan U-23 0 Netherlands U-23 1

5 Mins: GOAL! Japan are immediately level. Manabu Saito runs close to forty yards with the ball from the left touchline, past both Ben Reinstra and Kevin Jansen, and although he scuffs his shot somewhat, Bizot’s attempted save diving to his right is poor and Japan equalise.

5 Mins: Japan U-23 1 Netherlands U-23 1

8 Mins: Usami releases Takagi down the right, and he is able to run forty yards into the penalty area. He strikes well, but it’s a good save from Bizot this time as the shot went across the angle. Ibusuki just couldn’t stretch far enough to divert the ball in.

13 Mins: The Netherlands are looking to use the pace of Kukoki frequently. One-on-one with Higa, the left-back is struggling. Higa can’t prevent the winger from crossing, and it’s diverted away for a throw by Daisuke Suzuki.

16 Mins: Much more positive from Japan in these opening fifteen minutes. They were lacking in movement and purpose against Turkey and winning few tackles, but Takagi, Saito, Ibusuki and Oiwa are making strides into opposition territory. The introduction of Usami into the starting line-up has been particularly crucial.

21 Mins: Oiwa hangs over a cross which is too strong for Ibusuki, who sprints to the left touchline to collect the ball. It’s returned to midfield, and Usami’s chipped throughball is a little heavy for Daisuke Suzuki, up from central defence.

23 Mins: A pass finds Ibusuki with a clear run on goal, but the centre forward’s pace has never been his strongest point. He beats Reinstra who tries to cover, but Nelom, potentially putting an arm across his face, tackles fairly in the official’s view and brings the ball clear on the edge of the penalty area.

27 Mins: It’s quite an impressive performance so far from the Japanese, who have shut down the Dutch in midfield, and have resorted to a few hopeful long passes rather than the intricate passing and movement they displayed against Egypt.

30 Mins: Japan have a free-kick ten yards beyond the halfway line, and it’s played by Ogihara to Takagi in the right channel. It’s then returned back to the central midfielder, but his cross is poor and the Netherlands are able to break.

31 Mins: Lukoki has swapped to the left-wing to put some pressure on Oiwa, who has been playing in a very advanced position for the Samurai Blue. He has a chance to score, but his attempted lob, after Kevin Jansen’s shot had been blocked well initially, is too casual and well clear of Ando’s bar.

33 Mins: Almost a lead for Japan. A disguised pass from Saito allows Usami to burst into penalty area, and his bending shot is smartly stopped by Bizot. Usami is then unable to take advantage of the rebound.

36 Mins: A corner for the Netherlands. Ten Voorde squares a cross along the six yard area, and Suzuki nods behind with Lukoki loitering with intent.

37 Mins: Japan struggled under crosses against Egypt, but this set piece is poor, low and cleared away from the near post.

40 Mins: The last action of the first period finds Japan breaking down the left, but as Yusuke Higa collects the ball on the overlap from Saito, his pull back is behind Ibusuki and a promising attack and the first period come to an end.

HT: Japan U-23 1 Netherlands U-23 1

HT: Takashi Sekizuka will be much happier with the performance of his side today after the drab display on Wednesday. Usami’s movement has caused problems for Jansen and the defence, and Saito has been a frequent threat, particularly in the left channel.

HT: The players are back on the pitch, and Ricky Van Haaren has replaced Steven Berghuis, while Maiken Kieftenbeld takes the places of Kevin Jansen.

41 Mins: And the match is back underway.

42 Mins: Lukoki is back on the right-hand side of the field as this half commences, and he immediately makes gains as he passes Higa with relative ease, but his delivery, inconsistent at times, fails to find a teammate and is dealt with by the Japanese defence.

42 Mins: A corner for Japan, to be taken from the right by Takahiro Ogihara. It’s taken short again, and badly executed.

43 Mins: GOAL! Japan are in front, and it’s Hiroshi Ibusuki who scores the goal. Usami’s run beats the offside trap from Takagi’s lovely through ball, and he unselfishly plays the ball across the penalty area for Ibusuki to slide home.

43 Mins:Japan U-23 2 Netherlands U-23 1

46 Mins: Manabu Saito wastes a superb chance to give his team a two-goal cushion. He cleverly drops his shoulder and waits for Bizot to commit himself, but then slices his shot wide of the right upright just inside the penalty area.

47 Mins: GOAL! The Netherlands are level, and it’s a run down the right from Lukoki which does the damage. Once more he passes Higa with ease, and his cross to the back post is finished with aplomb on the volley by Rick Ten Voorde. Kazuki Oiwa should have been better positioned, however, drawn to the ball and leaving the substitute unattended six yards from goal.

47 Mins: Japan U-23 2 Netherlands U-23 2

50 Mins: A superb pass from Ibusuki, dropping deep into midfield, releases Saito, and he atempts to chip Bizot from outside the penalty area. There’s just not enough lift on his pass. Yoshiaki Takagi might have been a better option, as he was clear on the left.

54 Mins: A good save from Ando after the Netherlands work the ball around the penalty area, and then a superb block from Yamamura stops Lukoki getting his shot away, resulting in a corner. Van Haaren takes from the right, and an unmarked Reinstra heads wide with the goal at his mercy. The Netherlands should be in front.

56 Mins: Lukoki drives down the right hand-side once more, and Higa is unable to cope with the wingr’s pace and skill. He cuts inside with a cute flick off his heel, but bends his left-footed shot from sixteen yards over Ando’s goal.

59 Mins: Higa lucky not to have given away a free-kick as Ruben Ligeon joins the attack, trying to block the ball out for a goal-kick but dragging the defender down after a sustained priod of possession from the Netherlands had seen the ball swept effortlessly around the pitch.

60 Mins: Japan finding it very difficult to regain possession at the moment.

62 Mins: A first change for Japan, Ibusuki comes off for Yuki Otsu, while Ninos Gouriye is substituted for Nacer Barazite.

64 Mins: CROSSBAR A stunning strike from Van Haaren at a set piece from approximately 35 yards keeps rising, but crashes back off the underside of the crossbar. It hits Ando on his shoulders as it rebounds away from goal, but it’s safely away.

68 Mins: After a certain foul from Yoshiaki Takagi is ignored by the assistant referee, Higa puts an arm across Lukoki as he was due to run clear. In the opinion of the referee it’s fair.

70 Mins: Higa is a little fortunate as he tries to play the ball off Baracite for a goal-kick, as the Netherlands player simply regains possession. He feeds Lukoki, but his left-footed cross is out of play.

73 Mins: GOAL! Japan are in the lead as a result of some poor Dutch defending. Saito’s cross should be dealt with by Legion, but his mis-kicks and gives the ball straight to Usami. His pass finds an entirely unmarked Ogihara, who thrashes the ball into the top-right corner.

73 Mins: Japan U-23 3 Netherlands U-23 2

77 Mins: Kota Mizunuma comes on for Manabu Saito, who has been excellent for the Samurai Blue today.

78 Mins: Lukoki beats Ogihara with a delightful flick on the right before a good sliding challenge from Usami brings his run to an end.

80 Mins: Takashi Usami, possibly the best Japanese player on the field today, makes his way off the field for Keigo Higashi.

80 Mins: Three additional minutes to be played, with the ball safely in Shunsuke Ando’s hands.

80 Mins+1: A superb pass out of defence by Suzuki is collected by Kota Mizunuma on the right wing, and he makes a strong run before swinging the ball crossfield to Takagi. He controls, stepping across a couple of defenders before taking a shot on the 18-yard line, which is deflected away for a corner.

80 Mins+1: And that’s the last action Takagi will take, as he’s replaces by Yuya Osaka.

80 Mins+2: The corner is wasted by the Japanese, as they give away a quick free-kick.

80 Mins+2: Lukoki wins perhaps the final corner of the game for the Netherlands.

80 Mins+3: It’s swung in by Van Haaren, and the Dutch keeper is up for the set piece. It’s out behind for another corner, and this time Ando punches away from under his crossbar.

80 Mins+4: There will be no more for the Japan goalkeeper to do, as the official signals for the end of the match.

FT: Japan U-23 3 Netherlands U-23 2

FT: A superb result for Japan which ensures their presence in the competition continues to the final group game, where they will face an Egypt side who were easily beaten by the Netherlands in their opening match.

FT: Thank you for joining me, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage.

Toulon Tournament 2012: Liveblog – トルコ (Turkey) U-23 v. 日本 (Japan) U-23

(Extended highlights of Japan’s muted opening Toulon Tournament performance, handed a 2-0 defeat by an impressive Turkey)

0 Min: Welcome to today’s live blog, as the Under-23 Samurai Blue begin their final preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Football tournament in France. I’ll have team news for you very shortly. Please note that there will be a gap of a minimum fifteen minutes in this live blog, owing to the manner of the broadcast in Europe.

0 Min: Turkey – Taskiran, Tokak, Bagliolu, Demir (captain), Dogan, Kucik, Soylemezgiller, Dursun, Kiraz, Kose, Gural

Substitutes – Ozenc, Cetinkaya, Tozlu, Cevahir, Kayali, Odabasi, Uysal, Seker

0 Min: Japan – Ando; Sakai, Yoshida. Suzuki, Hamada; Ogihara, Mizunuma, Higashi, Yamamoto; Osako, Otsu

Substitutes – Masuda; Higa, Yamamura; Oiwa, Muramatsu, Usami, Takagi; Saito, Ibusuki

0 Min: The referee and his assistants for this match are from Belgium, Messrs Efong-Nzolo, Berbiers and Huens.

16 Mins: We’ve just passed the first quarter of an hour, and the score is currently Turkey 0 Japan 0.

18 Mins: Japan have a free-kick 20 yards from goal as Keigo Higashi is brought down. Three players are over the ball, but it is slammed straight into the wall by Ogihara, and subsequently cleared.

20 Mins: Dogan is in space on the left, and he feeds Ferhat Kiraz who sends a fierce ball across the six yard box, well stopped by Shunsuke Ando in goal for Japan.

23 Mins: Yuya Osako draws a good save from Taskiran diving to his left, cutting inside Aykut Demir to shoot right-footed in the 18 yard area.

25 Mins: Japan captain Daisuke Suzuki is all over the back of Tevfik Kose, and gives away a free-kick two yards infield near halfway. The free-kick finds Kiraz, who heads on and shoots, but under pressure from Yutaka Yoshida it’s weak and easy for Ando to gather.

28 Mins: Yoshida clips Kose’s ankles to concede a free-kick on the halfway line.

30 Mins: Kosuke Yamamoto climbs over Kose to win a header, this time 35 yards from goal.

31 Mins: Demir, the captain, joins the attack, as Gural drifts a ball into the penalty area, but there’s a push on Mizuki Hamada and Japan have a set piece in their own area.

32 Mins: That’s roughly six free kicks within the past four minutes. Mizunuma and then Yamada are both fouled. Very scrappy in midfield.

33 Mins: Kota Mizunuma has an opening after excellent play on the left flank from Yuya Osako, beating Kemal Tokak on the right and finding the attacking midfielder in the box. He strikers first time left-footed, but it’s well blocked by Hikmet Bagliolu.

33 Mins: Yamamoto is robbed in midfield after dallying on the ball by Kose, who provides Gural with the ball, but Japan are back quickly to crowd the Turkish side out.

34 Mins: Salih Dursun is very late on Yuki Otsu, and is booked in the game’s first yellow card.

36 Mins: Another poor challenge, Ali Kucik high on Takahiro Ogiharo, catching the midfielder on the knee, and he is also shown a yellow card.

37 Mins: Ferhat Kiraz breaks down the left. He’s past both Gotoku Sakai and Yutaka Yoshida, but his shot from close range is deflected out by a sprawling Shunsuke Ando.

38 Mins: Kiraz’s cross is punched well clear by Shunsuke Ando.

40 Mins+1: Aykut Demir follows up a free-kick which is headed straight up into the air by Daisuke Suzuki with a volley from the edge of the six-yard area, but it’s into the side netting. Ando was well placed to save had the volley been on target.

HT: It’s the last action of the period as M. Efong Nzolo blows his whistle to signal for half-time.

HT: Turkey 0 Japan 0

HT: Very few opportunities for either side, Mizunuma very quickly closed down in the penalty area before he could find a shooting angle, the best of the chances falling to Kiraz after a burst down the left, but Ando stayed upright for long enough to put his body in the way and concede a corner. Stiflingly hot conditions and long grass in Toulon are not working in Japan’s favour, particularly for the attacking midfield of Otsu, Higashi and Mizunuma.

40 Mins: Tevfik Kose has the ball in the centre circle, as we recommence in Toulon. No changes to report for either side.

41 Mins: Another free-kick. Ogihara is into the ankles of Gural.

42 mins: A corner for Turkey at the start of this second-half, as Gural’s cross is put behind by Yoshida.

42 Mins: The corner is swung left-footed to the penalty spot, and Dursun has a free header. Fortunately for Japan it’s wide of Ando’s right upright.

43 Mins: Tokak tries to utilise his side’s height advantage with a long throw, but Suzuki rises to head away.

45 Mins: Keigo Higashi has a strike from distance, attempting a lob from 35 yards, but it doesn’t trouble Taskiran as it sails over his crossbar.

46 Mins: Ali Kucik falls at the merest touch, and wins his side a free-kick on the right.

46 Mins: A superb cross from Kiraz finds an unmarked Dursun once more, but he misses badly from four yards. Turkey should be in the lead.

47 Mins: Turkey are the stronger side in these opening minutes of the second half.

48 Mins: Gotoku Sakai is in obvious discomfort as he goes down under a challenge from Kucik and immediately signals that there is a problem. Turkey, meanwhile, are readying a substitute, Abdulkadir Kayali due to replace Soylemezgiller.

49 Mins: Sakai also leaves the field as he is unable to continue, Kazuki Oiwa takes the field in his place.

51 Mins: Superb defending from Ogihara as he takes the ball away from Ferhat Kiraz inside Japan’s 18-yard box. Perfectly timed from the defensive midfielder.

52 Mins:Kemal Tokak is shown a yellow card as he puts an arm across Yuki Otsu’s shoulders.

54 Mins: Another yellow card, this time for a Japan player as Ogihara is very late on Gural. It deserved at least a yellow.

55 Mins: Japan have a set piece 10 yards infield on the left, approximately 35 yards from goal. Kosuke Yamamoto bends the ball into the area right-footed. It clears Osako and finds Otsu behind him, whose header is too strong and it’s over the crossbar for a goal-kick to Turkey.

55 Mins: Another set piece for Turkey in an attacking position, as Kucik is rapped on the ankles.

56 Mins: GOAL! The free-kick from Gural is bent left-footed, and it’s an own goal from Kazuki Oiwa, as he flicks the ball into the right corner beyond a helpless Ando.

56 Mins: Turkey 1 Japan 0

57 Mins: A change for Japan, as Yuki Otsu comes off Manabu Saito. Kucik, who has been excellent, also exits play, for Ismail Odabasi.

60 Mins: Twenty minutes left for Japan to find an equaliser. A surprising result and a surprisingly poor performance from Japan so far.

62 Mins: Kose is being held by Suzuki, and it’s a free-kick to the right of Ando’s penalty area. Dursun’s low delivery is knocked clear.

65 Mins: Referee Efong Nzolo stops play as Kiraz stays down within Japan’s 18 yard box.

67 Mins: A double change for Japan. Kosuke Yamamoto is off for Yoshiaki Takagi, and Yuya Osako is replaced by Hiroshi Ibusuki. Japan immediately win a free-kick on the right edge of the penalty area.

69 Mins: Eren Tozlu comes on for Ferhat Kiraz.

69 Mins: Ogihara whips the ball across the area, aimed for Ibusuki, and Demir outleaps the striker to clear.

70 Mins: Japan have a corner, to be taken by Ogihara from the right. Turkey can’t clear, and the ball eventually falls to Ibusuki. He fails to connect properly with this shot, however, and it’s a gentle prod into the body of Taskiran, with two teammates in better positions.

72 Mins: Emre Gural makes way for Necip Uysal.

73 Mins: GOAL! Odabasi skips clear of Gotoku Sakai on the right after a lovely throughball, and taking the ball to the touchline, he pulls it back for Eden Tozlu to slide home from three yards.

73 Mins: Turkey 2 Japan 0

74 Mins: Ibusuki pulls a save out of Taskiran, a first-time left-footed volley beaten away at the near post from the left. It’s the first real save the Turkish goalkeeper has had to make in this half, and an indication of how little Japan have done overall.

77 Mins: There may well be four or five minutes of added time, as Salih Dursun stays down to receive treatment.

79 Mins: Odabasi holds his run, collecting the ball on the right, and Gotoku Sakai tackles to give away throw. Turkey now keeping possession.

80 Mins: Four minutes to be added on.

80 Mins+2: Japan, lethargic, lacking ideas, not winning loose balls and frequently misplacing places, have been well-beaten in their first group game by a strong Turkey side who have out-muscled and out-played Japan in midfield.

83 Mins: A late yellow card for Turkey as Kota Mizunuma is pulled back by Hikmet Bagliolu. The free-kick, however, is claimed in the air by Taskiran.

84 Mins: Referee Efong Nzolo draws the match to a close.

FT: Turkey 2 Japan 0

FT: A very disappointing start to a tournament in which Japan’s Under-23 side was expected to challenge. Takashi Sekizuka has a great deal to consider, with Manabu Saito and Hiroshi Ibusuki making a significant impact upon their introduction, while Keigo Higashi and Yuki Otsu offered little within in the advanced midfield three. Defending at set pieces also left a lot to be desired, Japan’s man-to-man system regularly undone by poor positioning. Next is a very demanding fixtures against the Netherlands, from which they must take at least a point to stand any chance of participating in the competition beyond the group stage.

FT: Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage.