Belle dig in to gain creditable draw with INAC KobeINAC Kobe Leonessa 0 - 0 Okayama Yunogo Belle
League leaders and favourites again this season INAC Kobe had their first real test of the season when they took on Belle today in Kumamoto today. Neither side had made a change from last week's games. The game started predictably given what we have seen of these teams thus far, and as early as the fourth minute Kinga had a free shot on goal which was saved and held by Fukumoto. Kawasumi Nahomi was making inroads against Kado Yuka on the left and it looked to be only a matter of time before INAC would score.
However, in the tenth minute, a mistake at the back saw a glorious chance for Nakano to put 1-0 up, but her shot was blocked by Kaihori and then cleared away for a corner. A crunching tackle on Miyama minutes later saw Miyama herself step up and struck just wide from the free kick.
Both teams seemed to have weathered each other's storms but in the 16th minute Kawasumi had the best chance yet when she twisted inside but her shot hit the post and was eventually cleared away. Takase was clear through on goal moments later but was well tackled when just about to pull the trigger. INAC were looking to get their attackers free down the middle with long balls over the top while Belle were attacking almost exclusively down the right, and were as always heavily dependent on Miyama.
For the next ten minutes not much goalmouth action was to be seen, until Tanaka completely missed the ball when she was passed to, with Miyama picking up the ball directly in front of goal. However she snatched at the shot when she had more time than she appreciated and the chance was gone. Kawasumi had a good run at goal, accelerating away from her marker moments before, but she was as well marshalled as she could be, and could only shoot high and wide.
Again the game entered a lull, with the Belle players seemingly having both done their homework on INAC's attacking ploys and also having more determination not to give away sloppy goals following last week's 3-0 disappointment against Beleza. This meant that Belle had little attacking threat, as most of their players rarely ventured forward, preferring to stay back or in deep midfield positions to snuff out INAC's attacks. Most of their good attacking play was coming through Miyama as expected and again she was the victim of a hard tackle, this time by Sawa in the 40th minute. Her floated ball into the box was easily caught by Kaihori and the INAC 'keeper aimed a long ball towards Takase, who was taking on 16-year-old Nagamachi Yuri, but the young defender had been a match for the powerful Takase all game and again was up to the challenge.
Matsuoka Miki had a headed chance after good work and a nice cross from Nakano in the 42nd minute which went just wide, and INAC had a few attacks of their own to finish the half. There was plenty to think about at half-time for both sides with the game scoreless.
American Rebecca Moros (simply called "Becky" on the team sheet) made her first appearance for INAC, coming one at half-time for . She found herself in the thick of the action early as INAC looked to press on for the lead goal. INAC were not able to find any real cutting edge though, until in the 55th minute Sawa was sent through on goal by a very well played pass from Ohno, but the 33-year-old shot over when she would have felt she should have at least been on target.
The game thereafter sparked into life. Following an interception at the back for Belle by Kado, Moros had all the time in the world to leave an indelible mark on the game but she didn't get a proper shot off and the chance was easily saved.
Again the American was involved when Kinga got down the right, was held up and when the ball came loose Moros flicked it up and Kawasumi headed straight at the 'keeper when she really should have scored. A long ball from the back for Belle saw Kai and Kaihori collide, with the ball running loose. Nakano couldn't take advantage and the chance was lost, while for INAC Kai was injured in the face having caught Kaihori's elbow. Not being able to continue, Minamiyama came on in her stead. INAC continued to get in close to goal with Ohno and then Moros both having shots collected by the 'keeper. Fukumoto was at full stretch in keeping out a Moros shot, but the play was called back for offside anyway.
Nakano had a chance to cross following a free kick but the ball was blocked away for a corner. Free-kicks and corner kicks represented Belle's best chance to score, with Miyama taking both at every opportunity. INAC looked to break away when they could, using Moros and Kawasumi's speed to stretch the defence but Fukumoto showed composure and reliability in the Belle goal. In the 69th minute, following a good Kawasumi run, Moros hit the crossbar with Fukumoto at full stretch. From a Kinga cross in the 72nd minute, Moros had another great chance but Fukumoto produced a great reaction save, though the ball was headed straight at her.
Yokoyama Kumi came on for Nakagawa in the 76th minute for Belle, Yokoyama making her fifth substitute appearance. Not long after Kawasumi had another shot on goal having played an effective one-two with Moros but again Fukumoto was equal to the task.
Entering the last ten minutes, Tanaka headed over for a corner but it seemed that time was running out for INAC to extend their 100% record. The trouble that Moros was causing seemed to suggest that she should be included in the starting lineup, especially as Nakajima had not shown much to impress. Takase had met her match in young Nagamachi and drifted out of the game. Kawasumi always looked dangerous against the slower Yasuda. For their part Belle actually came more into the game in its closing stages, gaining more possession and holding the ball more in midfield.
Substitute Yokoyama saw some of the ball in the closing stages, dribbling well and causing INAC worries which prevented them from committing more forward.
Belle survived a late scare when the ball ran free from Fukumoto's grasp but she managed to claw it back, again good work in the danger area from Moros caused chaos in the Belle penalty area.
And so it finished 0-0, INAC's toughest game to date and a good point for the delighted Belle players, with the Kyushu crowd of over 9,000 well rewarded for their attendance with an exciting game.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Takara Ryoko, Ji So-Yun, Sawa Homare, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Takase Megumi, Nakajima Emi, Kawasumi Nahomi
Subs: Rebecca Moros (Nakajima Emi, HT), Minamiyama Chiaki (Kai Junko, 61 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Tanaka Yoko, Beverly Goebel
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Yasuda Kuniko, Kado Yuka, Tsuhako Yumiko, Nagamachi Yuri, Takahashi Haruka, Nakano Manami, Nakagawa Chihiro, Miyama Aya, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Yokoyama Kumi (Nakagawa Chihiro, 76 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Shigemoto Shiho, Nakamura Miki, Mizushima Kumi
Fukuoka J. Anclas 2 - 3 Albirex Niigata Ladies
Niigata managed to find a late winner to see off the fighting spirit of Anclas, who are still without a win this season. Local girl Kawamura Mari scored her first of the season just after the half-hour to give the home fans something to shout about. Following a free kick move which broke down, Hanada and Kushige combined in midfield and Kawamura picked up the ball outside the area and unleashed a powerful shot towards goal which nestled in the bottom corner. Otomo will certainly feel she should have dived earlier for it though, as it was within reach.
Four minutes into the second half Niigata were level and two minutes later were in front. Their equalising goal came from another Fukuoka local, Saeki Aya. Anclas showed a severe lack of determination and decisiveness in defence and were simply bullied off the ball throughout the move. Yamamoto Arina stole in ahead of two defenders and gave a quick ball to Saeki who turned onto her right foot and side-footed the ball home. The lead goal was scored by Kubota Mayu, who now has two goals in her first four appearance for the club. Saito took the ball up the left wing, beating her marker with distinction and when her pass into the middle was only partially blocked, Kubota pounced and easily finished with leisure.
Niigata continued to press for a third to kill the tie, but it was Anclas who got the next goal, and it was another tremendous strike, this time by Akiyama Ryo. From a corner kick, the ball wasn't cleared properly and Sato knocked the ball back invitingly for Akiyama to sidefoot the ball into the top left hand corner.
Having come back impressive fashion, Anclas may have felt they deserved something from the game, though it was not to be. Niigata made their dominance tell with just seven minutes to go, when Nakamura hit a long ball to Yamazaki, who headed it on deftly to Kamionobe. She took the ball on about fifteen metres and launched an unstoppable drive into the top corner to the delight of the small number of travelling fans.
Fukuoka are next at home to Belle in a game in which they really must try harder defensively, while Niigata are once again on the road, though with a shorter trip to play Sayama.
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Isokane Midori, Kiyohara Marie, Akiyama Ryo, Hanada Aiko, Doshita Misato, Shibuya Yumiko, Kawamura Mari, Sato Kaede, Kushige Aoi
Unused subs: Yatagai Mikiko, Fujimoto Yuki, Kuzuma Riyo, Tagashira Yoko, Hirata Hikari
Scorers: Kawamura Mari (34 mins), Akiyama Ryo (70 mins)
Booked: Kiyohara Marie
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Otomo Maiko (capt), Yamamoto Arina, Kitahara Kana, Nakamura Kaede, Wakabayashi Minori, Kawamura Yuri, Kamionobe Megumi, Saito Yuri, Saeki Aya, Yamazaki Marumi, Kubota Mayu
Subs: Kodama Keiko (Saito Yuri, 61 mins)
Unused subs: Suwa Erina, Nakamura Saki, Hirai Sakina
Scorers: Saeki Aya (49 mins), Kubota Mayu (51 mins), Kamionobe Megumi (83 mins)
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki 3 - 2 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
Just under 1,000 spectators were present to witness Speranza win their first game of the season and it was the 14-year veteran and Osaka local Itami Emi who got the home side off to a tremendous start in just the fourth minute. Following some patient build-up play down the left, Hamada gave a perfect pass to Itami through the gap between two defenders and the midfielder slotted home having made a great break through the middle undetected. However, almost immediately from the restart, JEF were level. Again it was build-up play down the left, Hosokawa put in a cross which was missed by Ikadai, but Hosaka was on hand to slot the ball home.
There were only thirty seconds between the two opening goals, but another thirty minutes before Matsuda Nozomi scored the lead goal, again for Speranza. Following a throw-in for JEF, their attacking move broke down and Speranza moved forward in numbers. Maruyama held the ball up in midfield, running across the field while allowing the forwards to get into position. She gave the ball back to Torao, who hit a first time pass to Matsuda, who beat the offside trap and from just outside the are struck a sweet shot home to Funada's left.
Speranza extended their lead ten minutes after half-time. Matsuda lay the ball back to Toyoda who curled in an inviting cross for the completely unmarked Tsuboi who produced a marvellous diving header to beat Funada at her far post.
JEF scored again with 14 minutes remaining to give themselves hope, captain Fukusawa Risa finishing off a move featuring excellent linkup play between herself, Takahashi and Yamamoto. But it was not to be, as Speranza managed to hang on to open a four point gap between themselves and Anclas at the foot of the table.
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Torao Naomi, Okuda Akiko (capt), Hirano Satoko, Akiba Yumeko, Tsuboi Ayako, Itami Emi, Toyoda Nayuha, Matsuda Nozomi, Hamada Haruka, Maruyama Karina
Subs: Shimamura Yuko (Hamada Haruka, 82 mins), Asano Miki (Tsuboi Ayako, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Toyama Sayuri, Takahashi Chizuru
Scorers: Itami Emi (4 mins), Matsuda Nozomi (38 mins), Tsuboi Ayako (56 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Takahashi Sachie, Kawamura Mariko, Tezuka Saori, Chino Shoko, Hosokawa Motoyo, Ikadai Risa, Yanai Rina, Hosaka Nodoka, Kawamura Noriko, Fukasawa Risa (capt)
Subs: Shimizu Yuka (Ikadai Risa, 36 mins), Yamamoto Naomi (Kawamura Noriko, 62 mins), Koike Kokoro (Yanai Rina, 68 mins)
Unused subs: Sakuramoto Naoko, Shimada Ayako
Scorers: Hosaka Nodoka (5 mins), Fukasawa Risa (76 mins)
AS Elfen Sayama FC 2 - 0 Iga FC Kunoichi
Iga will have left Sayama feeling that the 2-0 scoreline was a poor reflection for the effort they put in, having had far more attacking chances. For Sayama, this result moves them into seventh, two points above Iga.
The first goal didn't arrive until the 60th minute. From a right sided corner taken by Watanabe, goalkeeper Ono punched ineffectively and Yajima and Sawada combined on the left, with Sawada crossing for Suzuki to head home, Ono diving back from where she came but only managing to get fingertips to the ball.
Seven minutes later Muraoka scored her second of the season. Iga, having pressed for an equaliser with some promise, were hit by a sublime piece of play by star player Azami Rie. Taking a short pass from Suzuki on the right wing she twisted and turned past three defenders and gave a pinpoint curling pass to Watanabe who couldn't get a shot away, so held the ball up and passed back to the veteran Muraoka to score with a first time hit into the bottom corner.
Kobayashi, Nasu and Noichi tried hard for Iga but couldn't make any breakthrough, and Iga's total of four goals in eight games - the lowest in the division - tells its own story. They'll hope to do better again JEF United next weekend, while Sayama are again home, to Niigata.
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Arima Shizuka, Segi Aiki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Yajima Yuki, Azami Rie, Sawada Yuka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Watanabe Ayaka, Muraoka Natsuki (capt), Suzuki Kaoruko
Subs: Hagiwara Aimi (Sawada Yuka, 83 mins), Uchida Saki (Shibata Satomi, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Otani Haruka, Kumagai Sayaka, Otani Erina
Scorers: Suzuki Kaoruko (60 mins), Muraoka Natsuki (67 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Ono Maya, Takeda Yuki, Miyasako Tamami, Ono Suzuka (capt), Fujimoto Ayano, Nasu Maiko, Miyamoto Tomomi, Kobayashi Makiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Noichi Aya, Haji Madoka
Subs: Nakade Hikari (Noichi Aya, 60 mins), Matsunaga Yoshie (Haji Madoka, 77 mins), Matsunaga Tomoe (Takeda Yuki, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Sato Ai
NTV Beleza 2 - 2 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
In a pulsating match both of these top teams had chances to win though at the same time both will be relatively happy with the draw. Urawa took the lead through the league's top scorer Kira Chinatsu, and incredibly it was the fourth game in a row in which an Urawa throw-in resulted in a goal. Just as in last week's game Tsuchihashi threw to Shibata, who headed back across the face of the goal for Kira to swing at the ball with her right foot and send it home.
Into the second half, and Beleza came storming back, first through veteran Kanako Ito with her first goal since the opening rout over Anclas. Sakaguchi spotted both Ito and Iwabuchi - who had hit the bar in the first half - running through the middle untracked, and hit a long ball towards them. Iwabuchi chested it down but before having the chance to shoot Yano slid in and inadvertently played Ito in for a straightforward chance to shoot and score.
Less than fifteen minutes later Beleza were ahead, and this time it was Iwabuchi who finished off the move. Wada Naoko had moved forward to take a throw-in and when the ball came back to her she was dispossessed by Ito, who had an impressive game in midfield. The ball came loose and the always impressive Sakaguchi gave a wonderful pass to Iwabuchi who outran Kohata and slotted home with tremendous composure past Yamago.
Urawa pushed forward looking for an equaliser and in the 78th minute Arakawa hit the left-hand post. In the very last minute she would not be denied as from a similar position she finished with aplomb. The ball had been passed from the back to the right, then left, then right again. Goto received the ball in the box, gave a short pass to Tsuchihashi, and she produced an idea cross for fellow 32-year-old Arakawa to side-foot home with her right past Matubayashi.
Beleza and Urawa stay second and third respectively, with next weekend's big match-up being Urawa's trip to Kobe to play INAC, while Beleza will look to get a comfortable win over Speranza Osaka.
Matsubayashi Miku, Ariyoshi Saori, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Doko Mayo, Sudo Akiko, Ito Kanako, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Kiryu Nanase, Nagasato Asano, Iwabuchi Mana
Subs: Nakasato Yu (Kiryu Nanase, 82 mins), Tanaka Mina (Nagasato Asano, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Kinoshita Shiori, Kobayashi Yayoi
Scorers: Ito Kanako (53 mins), Iwabuchi Mana (67 mins)
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Yamago Nozomi, Tsuchihashi Yuki, Kohata Shiho, Yano Kyoko (capt), Wada Naoko, Shibata Hanae, Yanagita Miyuki, Niwata Akiko, Kato Chika, Kira Chinatsu, Arakawa Eriko
Subs: Naomoto Hikaru (Yanagita Miyuki, 71 mins), Goto Michi (Kira Chinatsu, 82 mins), Dozono Ayano (Kato Chika, 88 mins)
Unused subs: Ikeda Sakiko, Kishikawa Natsuki
Scorers: Kira Chinatsu (22 mins), Arakawa Eriko (90 mins)