An enormous crowd of over 8,600 spectators witnessed another step in Vegalta Sendai's march to the Nadeshiko League. Excitement had been mounting all summer, with the arrival of Sameshima Aya back in Sendai as the high point.
Today's opposition was Nagano, and none of the Sendai faithful expected much trouble from the visitors. Sendai started by attacking the Nagano goal relentlessly and as early as the ninth minute had the lead. Koyama Kie, starting only her second game, crossed into the box for Ito Minako to head home, just out of the reach of goalkeeper Matsumoto.
|Ito Minako scores on her return from injury to give Sendai the lead|
Having gone one goal up, Sendai were in no mood to relax and continued to attack down both wings and through the middle, and it took remarkable agility and bravery from Matsumoto to keep them at bay.
|Matsumoto punches the ball clear. The Nagano 'keeper was excellent all afternoon|
At half-time Yasumoto Sawako was brought off, and in her stead came Sameshima, who occupied the left wing. She tried hard to make shooting positions for herself but it was another recent arrival, Kawashima Haruna who scored the second, and her first for the club. Again it was Koyama with the pass, a low ball across the face of goal which Kawashima expertly swept home.
|Kawashima scores her first since her move to Sendai|
In the closing ten minutes substitute Takahashi Nana made it 3-0. Her initial shot was saved by Matsumoto and when Sameshima hit the post the ball fell kindly again for Takahashi to knock the ball home.
|Takahashi takes the initial shot which leads to the third goal|
|Sameshima was welcomed warmly and enjoyed herself on the left wing|
Vegalta next play Bunnys in Kyoto, a team they beat by eleven goals to one earlier in the season. Nagano's relegation battle continues with a home game against the impressive Ehime.
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Amano Misaki, Nakamura Mami, Shimokozuru Aya (capt), Osafune Kana, Ideue Asako, Kakazu Asuka, Uetsuji Yumi, Koyama Kie, Kawashima Haruna, Yasumoto Sawako, Ito Minako
Subs: Sameshima Aya (Yasumoto Sawako, HT), Takahashi Nana (Kawashima Haruna, 71 mins), Sakai Yuki (Nakamura Mami, 72 mins), Nakahara Saori (Koyama Kie, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka
Scorers: Ito Minako (9 mins), Kawashima Haruna (60 mins), Takahashi Nana (83 mins)
AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies:
Matsumoto Azumi, Murayama Yuri, Tanaka Nami, Hatano Saki, Yamashita Mayumi, Hashiura Satsuki, Satou Kaede, Takagi Nao (capt), Hamagaki Kana, Uchiyama Tomoyo, Urasaki Yuka
Subs: Sayama Marina (Murayama Yuri, 88 mins), Kitagawa Minamo (Yamashita Mayumi, 88 mins), Hanabusa Misa (Hamagaki Kana, 88 mins)
FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme 7 - 1 Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata Bonita
Takahashi were in no mood to relax as they pushed on towards the promotion playoff with another comprehensive victory, this time over their fellow students from Shizuoka. Takahashi started with backup goalkeeper Morimoto in nets, and her missed kick in the tenth minute allowed Shizuoka's top scorer Oda Kanna to score the easiest goal of her career. Takahashi regrouped and eight minutes later U-20 World Cup heroine Nishikawa Asuka equalised when Takano's free kick into the box was missed by everyone and Nishikawa was able to chest the ball down and fire home. Takano herself scored the lead goal for Takahashi five minutes later and just after the half-hour mark Nishikawa struck again, catching Shizuoka striker Okuda in possession in her own box.
Less than fifteen minutes into the second half Nishikawa had her hat-trick. Having easily dispossessed Nishiyama, she dribbled through the defence and finished sweetly. Muramatsu Mafuyu scored four minutes later, her fourth goal from a corner in six games and two further strikes by Takahashi and Shigemasa completed the rout.
Takahashi are now almost certain to at least make the playoff, as Setagaya's loss takes them ten points clear. Their next game is away to Kagoshima and they will feel confident of winning. Shizuoka started the season with three wins, but have now gone eight without winning, although they will surely be confident of beating JSCL next weekend.
FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Morimoto Kiyo, Takeda Arisa, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Matsushita Fumiko, Koike Ayano, Shigemasa Kai, Takano Saki, Sugita Ami, Nishikawa Asuka, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Noma Fumika
Subs: Fukui Shihori (Noma Fumika, 41 mins), Adachi Eriko (Koike Ayano, HT mins), Kurakazu Shiho (Shigemasa Kai, 81 mins), Kanbara Misaki (Matsushita Fumiko, 84 mins),
Unused subs: Yamamoto Ayaka
Scorers: Nishikawa Asuka (18, 31, 59 mins), Takano Saki (23 mins), Muramatsu Mafuyu (63 mins), Takahashi Chiho (69 mins), Shigemasa Kai (73 mins)
Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata Bonita:
Maehara Ringo, Hirata Misato, Kanefuda Anzu (capt), Sayama Momoko, Nishiyama Mei, Ito Mari, Kanno Mie, Ogata Yurika, Ishida Risa, Oda Kanna, Okuda Mika
Subs: Atsumi Yuka (Okuda Mika, 37 mins), Shirai Aoi (Ishida Risa, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Terada Ikumi, Kitaoka Chiaki, Matsuno Miyuki
Scorers: Oda Kanna (10 mins)
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School 0 - 1 Je Vrille Kagoshima
Despite having three players away on international duty, Tokiwagi were still able to put out a very strong side, with U-20 national team member Michigami Ayaka starting up front. Kagoshima, with safety not yet a certainty, started with forward Moriwaki in midfield to attempt to stifle the Tokiwagi midfield but ran something of a risk in only bringing two substitutes to Miyagi Stadium - where Michigami scored her only goal of the recent World Cup.
To everyone's surpise Kagoshima local Nakashima Ayaka scored the only goal of the game in the eighth minute, her seventh of the season and the most of any Kagoshima player.
Kagoshima moved eight points clear of the relegation zone and will now feel confident of safety in mid-table, despite having to play Takahashi and Sendai in their remaining games. Tokiwagi will look to next season and over the next five games we may well see some younger players tried out. They next play Nittaidai, another side which cannot be promoted.
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School:
Hayashizaki Mei, Takamura Chisato, Okamori Kasane (capt), Okakura Mika, Kosuda Rina, Hirata Miki, Matsuura Nagisa, Sugihara Haruna, Michigami Ayaka, Sasaki Miwa, Horii Mizuki
Subs: Kawasaki Saya (Horii Mizuki, HT), Komori Aoi (Sugihara Haruna, 72 mins)
Unused subs: Kakinoki Runa, Yagami Yuriya, Yahata Asuka
Je Vrille Kagoshima:
Eguchi Mika, Miyazako Fumika, Kurahara Honami, Nakae Maki (capt), Hamada Erina, Shimada Naoko, Niiho Madoka, Nozaki Ayumi, Moriwaki Satsuki, Imanaka Yuri, Nakashima Ayaka
Subs: Nijima Yuki (Moriwaki Satsuki, HT), Mitsudome Kanami (Nakashima Ayaka, 90+1 mins)
Scorers: Nakashima Ayaka (8 mins)
Booked: Miyazako Fumika, Nozaki Ayumi
Ehime FC Ladies 5 - 0 Sfida Setagaya FC
Ehime inflicted a heavy defeat on Sfida Setagaya and the visitors from Tokyo left with the merest chance of making the playoffs. With five games remaining the distance between themselves and Takahashi in second has now grown to ten points.
Ehime came into the game on the back of another surprise result, a 3-1 win over Tokiwagi Gakuen, with Haruyama Saori back in the starting lineup having missed three games.Yamashiro and Nakada ran the game in midfield and both were heavily influential in the goals scored. Yamashiro was first to shine, supplying Akune with the final ball for the first goal in the 38th minute - Akune's second this season.
Nice interplay between Kushiyama and Nakada in the 50th minute saw the defender shoot home and Setagaya were beginning to feel their challenge slip away. Thirteen minutes later Haruyama supplied Nakada for her eleventh of the season. Further goals for Iwamoto (her first of the season) and Niwa (scoring two minutes after coming on) gave Ehime their second win over Setagaya this season, following their incredible 6-4 win in May.
Ehime next visit bottom side Nagano while Setagaya are at home to a weakened JFA Academy side, as many of the Academy players are part of the Japan squad for the U-17 World Cup.
Ehime FC Ladies:
Mitsuhira Shiori, Kushiyama Saki, Onoyama Nana, Nishigawa Sayumi, Ogawa Akari, Iwamoto Yuka, Yamashiro Miyuki, Haruyama Saori, Ogawa Manami, Akune Mana, Nakada Maiko (capt)
Subs: Niwa Mizuho (Ogawa Manami, 77 mins), Sato Hiromi (Onoyama Nana, 79 mins), Uesato Saki (Haruyama Saori, 82 mins), Yamada Maya (Nakada Maiko, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Marugata Rie
Scorers: Akune Mana (38 mins), Kushiyama Saki (50 mins), Nakada Maiko (63 mins), Iwamoto Yuka (74 mins), Niwa Mizuho (79 mins)
Booked: Mitsuhira Shiori
Sfida Setagaya FC:
Kawaguchi Mana, Fukuhara Nao, Kawashima Tamai (capt), Tanaka Marina, Nagata Maya, Oshima Sayuri, Tanaka Mariko, Mori Hitomi, Sasago Masae, Nagasawa Yume, Ishibuchi Yuki
Subs: Okada Ayame (Ishibuchi Yuki, 57 mins), Minemoto Chizuru (Oshima Sayuri, 57 mins), Kuwahara Yoshie (Fukuhara Nao, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Muramatsu Yuki