INAC stay top with defeat of Urawa Reds
INAC Kobe Leonessa 3 - 0 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
INAC Kobe faced their second game in a row against tough opposition, with an Urawa side unchanged from their battle against Beleza making the trip to Kobe. INAC had made one change, with Minamiyama starting in place of Nakajima.
In the first minute Urawa showed initial attacking intent, when after good work by Arakawa on the right Kira had a shot on goal which went just wide. After this opening burst of excitement, the game then settled down into a typical pattern of INAC looking to get Ohno free down the middle, with Kawasumi causing all kinds of trouble down the left. Kira had another chance in the 13th minute when set free by Arakawa on the right but her shot was rather weak and was easily blocked for a corner kick.
Indeed Arakawa was distinguishing herself for Urawa while for INAC no player in particular was outstanding. From two crosses in quick succession, the second a corner, Sawa had two headers at goal but neither were well directed. Takase on the right was finding herself well dealt with by birthday girl Yano Kyoko.
Tsuchihashi was put under tremendous pressure by her own team-mate Kohata in the 32nd minute and Kawasumi recovered the ball from her. near the Urawa penalty box. The ball was passed from left to right and Takara found herself free to shoot on the left hand side from a Kinga cross but the shot went across the face of goal. Moments later Wada tried to beat Takase when she would have been better advised to clear to touch. Again though, the chance was lost when the massed Urawa defence recovered in time. Takase then had another shot following a Kinga pass into the box but Yamago managed to produce a fine reaction save, grabbing the ball out of the air at the second attempt.
In the 41st minute Urawa had their first attack for quite some time. Kato took the ball up the left hand side, gave it to Arakawa who kept possession well and eventually Wada put in a cross which was headed away. Shortly after Shibata had a pop from outside the are but shot well over.
In the only minute of additional time Tsuchihashi delivered an inviting cross from the right which Kato couldn't quite stretch far enough to convert. Certainly it could be said that Urawa had finished brightly, having been under pressure for most of the half.
Takase had been making a nuisance of herself on the right, beating Wada who was trying in vain to stop her, and only being saved by other defenders. However, in the 52nd minute, she was finally beaten decisively. Kawasumi ran at the defence on the left, crossed into the middle and Takase stuck out her right foot and slotted home, with Wada not nearly close enough to make a challenge. Yamago was booked for complaining that the goal was offside, though replays showed that Takase was played well onside by Kohata.
Urawa were continuing to look to Arakawa to take the ball forward though she was very under-supported and Kira was barely in the game.
Moros came on for her second appearance, replacing Minamiyama in the 60th minute, and she immediately showed off her panic-inducing qualities in the Urawa defence. A double substitution for Urawa followed a first-time shot by Arakawa from a corner in the 68th minute. They brought on Fujita in her first appearance for Kato, and Naomoto replaced Yanagita.
In the 70th minute Yamago saved with her chest well outside the area to prevent Takase scoring again in what was by this stage a rare shot on goal, and from the corner Moros headed into the goalkeeper's grateful arms. In the 76th minute the action was at the other end as Tsuchihashi beat Kawasumi to produce a nice cross for Arakawa but again she shot wide when under pressure. Seconds later, Takase scored what looked to be the winner. Again she got ahead of the inexperienced Wada and finished smartly from Ji So-Yun's pass into the bottom right corner.
Kawasumi put the result beyond any doubt when she took a pass from Ji So-Yun, ran purposefully into the box and sidefooted home for her third of the season.
Following a nasty collision Kohata was stretchered off and replaced by Goto Michi, making her eighth substitute appearance in eight games. Nakada replaced two-goal heroine Takase with just over three minutes to go, and had no time to make an impression. By this stage of the game Urawa looked tired and well beaten with only Arakawa making any inroads. At the other end Moros had barely a touch of the ball as INAC were happy to relax and not strain themselves.
And thus it ended, with INAC regaining the lead in the division, having lost it for all of thirty minutes to Beleza, against whom they play in next week's big match. For Urawa this first loss will be hard to take, as they are now seven points behind the leaders.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Takara Ryoko, Minamiyama Chiaki, Sawa Homare, Ji So-Yun, Takase Megumi, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Kawasumi Nahomi
Subs: Rebecca Moros (Minamiyama Chiaki, 60 mins), Nakada Ayu (Takase Megumi, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Beverly Goebel, Nakajima Emi
Scorers: Takase Megumi (52, 76 mins), Kawasumi Nahomi (80 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: Fujita Nozomi (Kato Chika, 68 mins), Naomoto Hikaru (Yanagita Miyuki, 68 mins), Goto Michi (Kohata Shiho, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Ikeda Sakiko, Kishikawa Natsuki
Booked: Yamago Nozomi
Fukuoka J. Anclas 0 - 3 Okayama Yunogo Belle
Fukuoka were unsurprisingly thoroughly outclassed by a visiting Belle side eager to build on their well-deserved point earned against INAC Kobe. While that was an almost entirely defensive display, there was no need to feel such caution against an Anclas side which has only scored five goals this season.
Nakano linked up with Miyama for the first goal, the Nadeshiko Japan star easily beating her marker and shooting spectacularly into the top corner of the net from well outside the area. Eight minutes later it was Miyama who was the supplier, as always the taker of Belle corner kicks, and her precise cross was headed in by Matsuoka Miki - for both Miyama and Matsuoka these were their second goals this season.
Kado Yuka also scored her second of the season to ensure the scoreline reflected Belle's superiority in the 66th minute. Anclas tried to play the ball out of defence but Kado easily intercepted a stray pass, ran on goal untouched and had no trouble in scoring past Sawada at her near post.
Anclas stay bottom and it remains difficult to see when and where they will ever pick up significant points. Belle remain six points off the top and are at home to Sayama next weekend.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Yasuda Kuniko, Kado Yuka, Tsuhako Yumiko, Nagamachi Yuri, Takahashi Haruka, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Yokoyama Kumi, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Nakagawa Chihiro (Arimachi Saori, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Shigemoto Shiho, Nakamura Miki, Mizushima Kumi
Scorers: Miyama Aya (19 mins), Matsuoka Miki (27 mins), Kado Yuka (66 mins)
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Akiyama Ryo, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Isokane Midori, Kiyohara Marie, Hanada Aiko, Doshita Misato, Shibuya Yumiko, Kushige Aoi, Sato Kaede, Kawamura Mari
Subs: Kuzuma Riyo (Hanada Aiko, 41 mins), Tagashira Yoko (Kawamura Mari, HT), Hirata Hikari (Doshita Misato, 72 mins)
Unused subs: Yatagai Mikiko, Fujimoto Yuki
Booked: Akiyama Ryo, Tagashira Yoko
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki 0 - 2 NTV Beleza
With the excitement to the INAC clash becoming ever more intense, NTV Beleza travelled to Hokkaido to take on Speranza knowing that a win would keep them within striking distance of INAC. Over 3,400 spectators attended in bright sunshine - more than the sum total which have watched Speranza's three previous home games - and they were rewarded with some fine play from the Beleza stars.
Beleza had to wait until the second half before taking the lead however, Speranza having repelled several attacks in the first half. In the 53rd minute Speranza had good possession but Hamada attempted a square ball in midfield and Kiryu intercepted easily. Her early ball to Nagasato left Okuda chasing shadows as the self-confessed Wii Fit fanatic easily outpaced her to score with a low drive to the corner of the net.
Nagasato became the league's joint top scorer, and equalled her own tally from last year, with a headed goal in the 72nd minute. Again the goal came from a Speranza mistake. Akiba received the ball from her own goalkeeper but dallied on the ball for too long and was challenged by Nagasato, whom she subsequently fouled in trying to recover. Akiba was Nagasato's marker for the free kick, but completely lost her and it was an easy back header by Nagasato across the face of goal to make it 2-0.
Beleza's final home game before the summer break against INAC next week is set to attract over 20,000 spectators at the national stadium. Everyone hopes it's a game to remember before the players enter the international fray together.
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Torao Naomi, Okuda Akiko (capt), Akiba Yumeko, Matsuda Nozomi, Tsuboi Ayako, Itami Emi, Kameoka Natsumi, Maruyama Karina, Hamada Haruka, Shimamura Yuko
Subs: Hirano Satoko (Shimamura Yuko, 70 mins), Asano Miki (Maruyama Karina, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Nakamura Saki, Toyama Sayuri, Takahashi Chizuru
Matsubayashi Miku, Ariyoshi Saori, Kinoshita Shiori, Doko Mayo, Sudo Akiko, Ito Kanako, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko (capt), Kiryu Nanase, Nagasato Asano, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Tanaka Mina, 44 mins), Kobayashi Miharu (Kinoshita Shiori, 72 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Nakasato Yu, Iwabuchi Mana
Scorers: Nagasato Asano (53, 72 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 1 - 1 Iga FC Kunoichi
JEF United and Iga were both looking to recover following defeats last week and after a relatively even affair will probably both be satisfied, if not entirely happy, with a point each. Goal scoring has been Iga's problem thus far, with only four goals scored going into this game, but it was they who took the lead in first half injury time through a penalty won and converted by Kobayashi Makiko, who scored her second of the season past the league's tallest player Yamane Erina, making her first appearance in goal.
The Kunoichi looked to have done enough to win the game, but with three minutes remaining Hosaka Nodoka levelled things up. Iga were on the attack, but following two blocked shots, the ball came to Ikadai on the right wing. She gave a long cross-field ball which found Hosaka in plenty of space and having taken one touch, the former Belle player slotted home with conviction.
JEF next travel to Niigata while Iga are at home to Speranza, one point behind them in the table.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Takahashi Sachie, Kawamura Mariko, Tezuka Saori, Chino Shoko, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawamura Noriko, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Fukasawa Risa (capt), Yamamoto Naomi
Subs: Shimizu Yuka (Yamamoto Naomi, HT), Ikadai Risa (Tezuka Saori, 61 mins), Sakuramoto Naoko (Kawamura Noriko, 81 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Shimada Ayako
Scorers: Hosaka Nodoka (87 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Ono Maya, Miyasako Tamami, Michikura Hiroko, Ono Suzuka (capt), Fujimoto Ayano, Kobayashi Makiko, Nasu Maiko, Miyamoto Tomomi, Tsutsumi Saki, Matsunaga Yoshie, Nakade Hikari
Subs: Sonomura Nana (Nakade Hikari, 71 mins), Haji Madoka (Kobayashi Makiko, 81 mins), Sato Ai (Fujimoto Ayano, 90+3 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Matsunaga Tomoe
Scorers: Kobayashi Makiko (45+1 mins, pen)
Booked: Nakade Hikari, Ono Maya
AS Elfen Sayama FC 0 - 0 Albirex Niigata Ladies
Despite having far more possession and chances, Albirex Niigata couldn't find a way to score past Arima Shizuka in the Sayama goal, though Sayama themselves will feel that they could also have nicked a win in this scoreless draw.
An eleventh minute corner saw Arima having to punch twice to clear her line as Niigata looked for an early goal. At the other end, in the 20th minute the ever-sparkling Azami shot wide from the left badly, while in the 23rd minute she shot just wide of the left post from the right side of goal following good work by Suzuki Kaoruko to set Azami free.
In the 37th minute Niigata's Yamazaki and Kamionobe linked up well just outside the box and both had chances to shoot, when Kamionobe's shot was blocked by a defender, Yamazaki's could only shoot into the grateful arms of the 'keeper.
Into the second half and most of Sayama's best work was being done by Azami, and in the 53rd minute she showed some class to set up Suzuki who turned excellently but shot straight at Otomo
Six minutes later Niigata will have felt they should have taken the lead. Yamazaki found herself free on the right and after the ball was crossed into the box from the left by Yamamoto, Yajima mistimed her jump for the clearing header, but Yamazaki seemed almost surprised to find the ball coming directly to her and shot over.
With two minutes remaining, Kubota Mayu shot over when close to goal, with a challenge by Kumagai just enough to put her off to ensure the game ended scoreless. Sayama next have a tough assignment away to Belle, while Niigata at are home to JEF United.
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Arima Shizuka, Segi Aiki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Yajima Yuki, Sawada Yuka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Azami Rie, Watanabe Ayaka, Muraoka Natsuki (capt), Suzuki Kaoruko
Subs: Uchida Saki (Sawada Yuka, 61 mins), Saito Yuri (Watanabe Ayaka, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Otani Haruka, Otani Erina, Hagiwara Aimi
Booked: Muraoka Natsuki
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Otomo Maiko (capt), Wakabayashi Minori, Kitahara Kana, Nakamura Kaede, Yamamoto Arina, Saeki Aya, Kawamura Yuri, Kamionobe Megumi, Saito Yuri, Yamazaki Marumi, Kubota Mayu
Subs: Hirai Sakina (Saeki Aya, 75 mins)
Unused subs: Suwa Erina, Nakaoka Maiko, Kodama Keiko