INAC maintain 100% record, Kyokawa scores for fourth game in a row
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 1 - 3 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Kinga Yukari celebrated her 28th birthday on Wednesday and celebrated it in style today with the opening goal - and her first of the season - against a JEF United side in sunny Chiba. JEF had made one change from their previous game, with Hanagiri brought in to support Fukasawa up front, replacing veteran Shimizu Yuka. INAC brought Minamiyama back into the starting eleven, with Takase starting on the bench for the first time this season.
JEF United showed good attacking intent in the early stages, keeping their shape well and in the seventh minute had a chance from a corner but Takahashi could only head directly into the arms of Kaihori, though in her defence she was backing away from goal. JEF continued to hassle the INAC players who committed errors in midfield throughout the opening exchanges, and the home side continued to get some joy on the right wing.
With their first real chance, and with JEF having threatened again, INAC had the lead. Kawasumi made a trademark dash down the left wing and with the outside of her right foot flicked the ball across the face of the goal just before it crossed the dead ball line. A poor attempt at a clearance - a feature of JEF's prior game against Beleza - only resulted in Sawa picking up the ball by the penalty spot. She calmly gave it to the unmarked Kinga who slotted home easily, though JEF had had prior warning of her attacking intent as early as the fifth minute. Two minutes later Kyokawa had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 following more good work from Kawasumi but was too casual and only succeeded in finding Funada's grateful clutches.
JEF only managed one more shot in the half, a long-range effort from Kawamura. Having matched INAC until the goal, JEF couldn't get enough players forward to support the forwards. The league leaders started to turn the screw to end the half with a total of eight chances. JEF had continued to close down space for INAC but time and again the away side found space, with Kinga's raiding runs down the right being a notable feature. Ji So-Yun hit the outside of the bar in the 34th minute after Kyokawa had dragged several defenders towards herself. Kyokawa herself shot just wide moments later and the feeling was that a second goal would not be long in coming. Just before half-time another chance fell to Ji So-Yun, with an almost identical build-up to that of the goal. Instead of Kawasumi it was Sawa who provided the cross and this time the 'keeper was in the right position to stop the shot - which was not struck with full conviction.
At half-time INAC made two substitutions, Nakajima Emi and Takase Megumi coming on for Takara and Minamiyama - who had hid the crossbar with a header on the half-hour mark. JEF United started the second-half unchanged.
JEF started the second-half with another long range shot, this time from Hanagiri but again it was not danger to Kaihori. JEF continued to attack down the right while INAC tried to get the ball to Kyokawa up front as she tended to drag defenders away from the oncoming midfielders.
Kyokawa finally got her fifth of the season in the 58th minute. JEF had a chance to get women forward from a free kick in their own half. Ikadai was incorrectly caught offside moments later and from the free kick the ball found its way to Kinga who gave the ball to Takase on the right wing in acres of space. A simple cross along the ground was swept home by Kyokawa to the delight of the travelling fans. INAC had broken quickly and the JEF defenders couldn't get back into position quickly enough to pick up the attacking players.
Shimizu Yuka, who had shown good form against Beleza last week, came on for Hanagiri just before the hour. Moments later the JEF defence was caught out again as no one picked up the run of Ohno, who played a delightful one-two with Ji So-Yun to find herself clean through on goal. Ohno crossed an inviting ball to Takase who headed in from close range to give INAC the three goal lead their pressure had deserved.
It should have been 4-0 when a through pass by Ohno found Kawasumi through on goal. Initially held up well, she managed to wriggle free and get a shot off, which was instinctively saved by Funada. Crucially though, the ball was not held and Kawasumi regained control. Her attempt at a cross was rather tame and was grasped out of the air by the goalkeeper.
For JEF United Koike Kokoro replaced Yanai Rina on 62 minutes and Hosokawa Motoyo replaced Ikadai Risa in the 76th minute, both players making their fourth substitute appearances.
Into the last twenty minutes, and INAC continued to press but with less intensity and less concentration, while JEF continued to look to counter-attack. In the 75th minute Sawa Homare was inexplicably left unmarked in the box and had a free header on goal from a right-sided free-kick.
In the 80th minute JEF finally got themselves a consolation goal, minutes after both Kinga and Sawa had promising shots on goal. Following a glorious chance for Kyokawa to add another, a long ball from Takahashi caught the INAC defence napping. Tanaka Asuna headed the ball back to Kai Junko who fell over while attempting to control the ball on her chest. The ball fell kindly for Shimizu who kept her head to slot past Kaihori into the corner of the net for her first goal of the season.
Buoyed by this, JEF continued to snap at the heels of the INAC players and showed some promise for the rest of the season, though their main problems are at the back, as not for the first game the defenders showed a lack of strength and composure.
Kyokawa, who had missed when in front of goal with only the 'keeper to beat, was replaced in the 86th minute by former Tokiwagi classmate Nakada Ayu making her second substitute appearance of this campaign, but the silky dribbler had little opportunity to make an impact.
The game finished with both sides making mistakes and JEF could have had another goal in the 89th minute when they had three-on-three but a poor pass to Fukasawa meant the chance was lost.
INAC's next game is at home to Iga, another game they will be expected to win comfortably, while JEF United travel to Fukuoka, who play Sayama on Sunday.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Takahashi Sachie, Kawamura Mariko, Tezuka Saori, Chino Shoko, Ikadai Risa, Hanagiri Naomi, Kawamura Noriko, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Fukasawa Risa (capt)
Subs: Shimizu Yuka (Hanagiri Naomi, 60 mins), Koike Kokoro (Yanai Rina, 62 mins), Hosokawa Motoyo (Ikadai Risa, 76 mins)
Unused subs: Yamamoto Naomi, Shimada Ayako
Scorers: Shimizu Yuka (80 mins)
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Takara Ryoko, Minamiyama Chiaki, Sawa Homare, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Ji So-Yun, Kyokawa Mai, Kawasumi Nahomi
Subs: Nakajima Emi (Takara Ryoko, HT), Takase Megumi (Minamiyama Chiaki, HT), Nakada Ayu (Kyokawa Mai, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Tanaka Yoko
Scorers: Kinga Yukari (22 mins), Kyokawa Mai (58 mins), Takase Megumi (61 mins)
Booked: Kinga Yukari
Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 0 Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki
Belle maintained their 100% record and maintained the pressure on INAC Kobe at the top of the table, though with a shots ratio of 18:2, they will feel that a 1-0 scoreline does not adequately reflect their superiority. Mizushima scored her second in two games following some fine close play from Miyama who threaded the ball through expertly to the feet of Mizushima who beat her marker and then placed the ball past the keeper into the top left corner of the net. Belle next play Urawa in a crunch match while Speranza are at home to Elfen Sayama.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Yasuda Kuniko, Kado Yuka, Tsuhako Yumiko, Nagamachi Yuri, Takahashi Haruka, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Mizushima Kumi, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Nakagawa Chihiro (Mizushima Kumi, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Shigemoto Shiho, Nakamura Miki, Nagamachi Yuri
Scorers: Mizushima Kumi (59 mins)
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Torao Naomi, Okuda Akiko (capt), Hirano Satoko, Akiba Yumeko, Toyoda Nayuha, Asano Miki, Itami Emi, Matsuda Nozomi, Hamada Haruka, Maruyama Karina
Subs: Shimamura Yuko (Maruyama Karina, 74 mins), Tsuboi Ayako (Toyoda Nayuha, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Toyama Sayuri, Kameoka Natsumi
Booked: Torao Naomi
Iga FC Kunoichi 0 - 0 NTV Beleza
Iga picked up their second point of the season while Beleza will undoubtedly see this as two points dropped, with the fact that they have yet to concede a goal in four games small consolation. On reflection though, Beleza will know that they were in some ways lucky to survive as on more than one occasion the Kunoichi lived up to their name, slipping past their markers and almost scoring. It took until the second half for the first decent chance to materialise. In the 54th minute a corner from the left was worked short and when the ball was eventually played into the box by Fujimoto, Matsubayashi in the Beleza goal elected to punch the ball. Unfortunately for her, she only succeeded in punching it against her own player and Iga captain Ono Suzuka was on hand to strike. However Sakaguchi Mizuho was on hand to clear the ball off the goal line just as glory beckoned for Iga. Beleza had probably their best chance in the 69th minute when Iwabuchi burst through midfield only to see her powerful shot parried away by Ono. Iga came forward again and again, getting in behind the Beleza defence, but couldn't get the goal which would have probably decided it. Iga travel to Kobe for another major test, while Beleza continue their tour of Tohoku with a home game against Niigata to be played in Akita.
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Ono Maya, Fujimoto Ayano, Miyasako Tamami, Ono Suzuka (capt), Michikura Hiroko, Miyamoto Tomomi, Nasu Maiko, Kobayashi Makiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Matsunaga Yoshie, Haji Madoka
Subs: Nakade Hikari (Matsunaga Yoshie, HT), Noichi Aya (Haji Madoka, 63 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Yamaguchi Ayako, Matsunaga Tomoe
Matsubayashi Miku, Sudo Akiko, Ariyoshi Saori, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Doko Mayo, Hara Natsuko, Ito Kanako, Kiryu Nanase, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Nagasato Asano, Iwabuchi Mana
Subs: Tanaka Mina (Nagasato Asano, 76 mins), Momiki Yuka (Kiryu Nanase, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Yamada Shoko, Nakasato Yu
Booked: Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko
AS Elfen Sayama FC 3 - 1 Fukuoka J. Anclas
Sayama were pleased not only to gain their first points but also their first win of this campaign having come within a whisker of picking up a point against INAC Kobe. Sayama started with the same lineup as against INAC, while Anclas made three changes, Doshita, Kiyohara and Akiyama all starting this game, although none were making their first start. Muraoka opened the scoring early in the game. From an Anclas goal kick Sayama recovered possession, with Saito giving the ball to Azami who ran wide on the right to give herself space. From just outside the box she crossed to Muraoka who, surrounded by two defenders and facing her own goal, took a touch with her right foot and turned towards goal. With the ball appearing to have gone through one defenders legs, the 30 year old planted the ball past Sawada. Just before the half-hour mark Suzuki Kaoruko showed that she also has a few tricks in her locker in scoring her second of the season. A cross into the box found Muraoka and just as she ran out of space she gave the ball back out to Azami on the left side of the box. Azami gave a first time pass to Suzuki who took the ball, turned slickly to be her marker and scored with four defenders around her.
Anclas didn't merit a goal though they found themselves within touching distance after a mistake from the Sayama goalkeeper Arima. A cross floated in was about to cross the goal line when the 'keeper decided to try to control it, and instead poked it out for a corner kick. From Doshita's corner kick deep to the far post, Isokane charged towards it and headed it back across goal. The ball seemed to hit a defender on the way in but the goal was credited to the forward player.
Both sides had a dearth of chances in the second half but with eight minutes to play Sayama finally scored the goal which made the game safe. Watanabe attempted a rasping shot from outside the area which Sawada did well to palm over. Watanabe herself took the corner and the tall Kobayashi planted an unstoppable header into the top left hand corner of the net.
Three excellent goals and three deserved points for Elfen Sayama, while Anclas continue to struggle.
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Arima Shizuka, Segi Aiki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Kumagai Sayaka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Saito Yuri, Suzuki Kaoruko, Azami Rie, Muraoka Natsuki (capt), Watanabe Ayaka
Subs: Sugiyama Takako (Saito Yuri, HT), Uchida Saki (Suzuki Kaoruko, 61 mins), Hagiwara Aimi (Kobayashi Natsumi, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Otani Haruka, Otani Erina
Scorers: Muraoka Natsuki (10 mins), Suzuki Kaoruko (29 mins), Kobayashi Natsumi (82 mins)
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Akiyama Ryo, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Isokane Midori, Hanada Aiko, Kiyohara Marie, Doshita Misato, Tagashira Yoko, Kawamura Mari, Shibuya Yumiko, Sato Kaede
Subs: Kuzuma Riyo (Tagashira Yoko, 23 mins), Tanihara Yukari (Shibuya Yumiko, 75 mins)
Unused subs: Yatagai Mikiko, Kushige Aoi
Scorers: Isokane Midori (40 mins)
Albirex Niigata Ladies 0 - 1 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Just how much are Niigata missing the injured Oishi Sayaka? Their only scorer with three goals (their other being an own goal) has been ruled out for six months and since her absence the Albirex Ladies have yet to score. For Urawa veteran Arakawa has had no such problems and in scoring her second of the season gave Urawa the three points they desperately wanted having disappointingly drawn their two previous games. In terms of chances the game was relatively even but it was the decisiveness and quick thinking of the Urawa Ladies which made the difference, when in the 61st minute a pinpoint accurate throw from Tsuchihashi near the half-way line to Kira on the right flank gave Urawa's top scorer an extra metre on her marker. From there Kira passed the ball across the box and Arakawa was there to hit it first time on the 'keeper's near side and the away side were understandably delighted. Having taken the lead Urawa were comfortable and Niigata had very few chances in the closing stages, though Kubota - in her first game - did hit the post following an excellent turn to give herself space. Niigata play Beleza next in Akita City, while Urawa take on Belle in what promises to be an exciting match.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Otomo Maiko (capt), Kitahara Kana, Higashiyama Maiko, Nakamura Kaede, Wakabayashi Minori, Saito Yuri, Kawamura Yuri, Kodama Keiko, Yamazaki Marumi, Hirai Sakina, Kubota Mayu
Subs: Nakamura Saki (Saito Yuri, 80 mins)
Unused subs: Suwa Erina, Ichitani Tomoko, Yamamoto Arina, Hori Yoshie
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Yamago Nozomi, Tsuchihashi Yuki, Kohata Shiho, Yano Kyoko (capt), Wada Naoko, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Niwata Akiko, Yasuda Yuki, Kira Chinatsu, Arakawa Eriko
Subs: Yanagita Miyuki (Naomoto Hikaru, HT), Kato Chika (Yasuda Yuki, HT), Goto Michi (Arakawa Eriko, 67 mins)
Unused subs: Ikeda Sakiko, Dozono Ayano
Scorers: Arakawa Eriko (61 mins)