INAC Kobe Leonessa 2 - 1 Albirex Niigata Ladies
A large home crowd witnessed another home victory for INAC Kobe which keeps them nine points ahead of only title rivals Beleza and now only need a point from their last three games to guarantee them a second consecutive victory. Recent signing Toyoda Nayuha started for Niigata in place of Kodama Keiko, with INAC unchanged.
As has been their custom, INAC scored early. A long ball from Kinga in front of Goebel-Yanez saw the tall and speedy American power past Nakamura Kaede and her first time shot left the advancing Otomo no chance as it found the top corner. After eighteen minutes it was 2-0, and this time it was the league's top scorer Takase Megumi with another headed goal. A free-kick on the left side of the penalty area was swung in by Ji So-Yun and when Nakamura missed her clearance Takase was quickest to the ball, beating her opposite number Hirai Sakina to put it away.
Niigata have made a habit of coming back from being behind, winning two and drawing three of their last five games from a losing position, and they weren't ready to lie down just yet. Following tremendous work by Kamionobe in midfield, Kawamura took the ball and ran at the INAC defence, and having retained possession following a poor tackle by Tanaka Asuna, lashed the ball home from outside the area to her obvious delight.
In the end though, Niigata didn't have enough to get a second goal to tie the game. Both sides had chances in the second half to score, and INAC had the better of the game. Niigata put up a good fight and shouldn't feel too disheartened, they remain in fifth ahead of their game against bottom side Anclas; INAC travel to Mimasaka to play Belle looking to celebrate the championship.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Takenaka Rei, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Rebecca Moros, Sawa Homare, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Ji So-Yun, Kawasumi Nahomi, Beverly Goebel-Yanez, Takase Megumi
Subs: Minamiyama Chiaki (Rebecca Moros, 58 mins), Nakajima Emi (Beverly Goebel-Yanez, 72 mins)
Unused subs: Kaihori Ayumi, Takara Ryoko, Tanaka Yoko
Scorers: Beverly Goebel-Yanez (2 mins), Takase Megumi (18 mins)
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Otomo Maiko (capt), Wakabayashi Minori, Nakamura Kaede, Higashiyama Maiko, Hirai Sakina, Kubota Mayu, Kawamura Yuri, Saito Yuri, Yamazaki Marumi, Toyoda Nayuha, Kamionobe Megumi
Subs: Kitahara Kana (Toyoda Nayuha, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Ichitani Tomoko, Yamamoto Arina, Kodama Keiko, Hori Yoshie
Scorers: Kawamura Yuri (33 mins)
Booked: Wakabayashi Minori
NTV Beleza 3 - 1 Okayama Yunogo Belle
Beleza beat near rivals Belle for the second time this season to prolong the crowning of INAC Kobe with the league title by at least a week today. As in the teams' first meeting Beleza scored early, this time through the reliable Ito Kanako, powering the ball home after Kiryu found her in the box with a short pass. Belle had very few chances in the first half, indeed only Miyama Aya took the chance to shoot at goal.
At half-time Beleza took off young Tanaka Mina and replaced her with Kobayashi Yayoi, making her 200th league appearance for the club. Beleza will have felt they should have had Belle beaten in the first half, but Nagasato Asano eased their nerves in scoring their second of the day seven minutes into the second half, holding off Tsuhako strongly to finish neatly past Fukumoto. That goal was Nagasato's fifteenth of the season, leaving her three off pace-setter Takase Megumi.
Matsuoka Miki volleyed home a Kado cross to reduce the deficit to just one with ten minutes remaining before Kobayashi capped her special day with a goal of her own, heading in following good work by Kiryu and Ito.
With three games remaining Beleza are nine points behind INAC and are now simply trying to stay ahead of Belle, today's victory puts them five points ahead. Urawa are a further four points behind the Okayama side.
Matsubayashi Miku, Sudo Akiko, Ariyoshi Saori, Kobayashi Misaki, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Hara Natsuko, Ito Kanako, Kiryu Nanase, Sumida Rin, Nagasato Asano, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Tanaka Mina, HT)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Kobayashi Miharu, Doko Mayo, Momiki Yuka
Scorers: Ito Kanako (13 mins), Nagasato Asano (52 mins), Kobayashi Yayoi (82 mins)
Booked: Sudo Akiko
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: Mizushima Kumi (Takahashi Haruka, HT), Yamaguchi Mami (Nakagawa Chihiro, 69 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Sakai Nozomi, Yokoyama Kumi
Scorers: Matsuoka Miki (80 mins)
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki 2 - 0 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Shimamura Yoko came into the Takatsuki side having missed the previous two games, while Urawa made no changes to the side which beat Belle a week ago. Takatsuki have been struggling, and needed star player Maruyama Karina to start producing results in order to help them out of the relegation hole. After twenty seconds she scored her third goal of the season. Direct from the kick-off, Matsuda attacked down the left and found Torao, whose looping cross hit the far post and fell kindly for Maruyama to score. Nine minutes later they found themselves with a shock two goal lead. Receiving the ball in midfield, Maruyama found Hamada raiding forward on the right and her low cross into the box was sent home by Shimamura, who was surprised that her relatively weak touch had enough on it to beat Ikeda, who got hands to the ball but was unable to get enough of a grasp to prevent the goal. For the rest of the match Urawa attacked relentlessly, going close on several occasions but weren't able to score. For their part, Takatsuki defended in numbers and only had one chance in the entire second half.
This victory sees Takatsuki move out of the relegation zone and give themselves belief that they can stay up this season. Urawa will once again wonder how they didn't win given all of the possession they had and the pressure they put on the opposition goal.
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Tsuboi Ayako, Okuda Akiko (capt), Akiba Yumeko, Matsuda Nozomi, Hamada Haruka, Itami Emi, Kameoka Natsumi, Torao Naomi, Maruyama Karina, Shimamura Yuko
Subs: Mok Hyun Su (Shimamura Yuko, 79 mins), Gwon Su Jin (Maruyama Karina, 89 mins), Asano Miki (Hamada Haruka, 90+2 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Matsui Miki
Scorers: Maruyama Karina (1 mins), Shimamura Yuko (9 mins)
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Tsuchihashi Yuki, Yano Kyoko (capt), Dozono Ayano, Kohata Shiho, Kishikawa Natsuki, Naomoto Hikaru, Niwata Akiko, Shibata Hanae, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi
Subs: Fujita Nozomi (Dozono Ayano, HT), Yasuda Yuki (Naomoto Hikaru, 70 mins), Arakawa Eriko (Kira Chinatsu, 70 mins)
Unused subs: Yamago Nozomi, Saito Akane
AS Elfen Sayama FC 2 - 3 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
Sayama came into this game having lost five of their previous six games, though their sole victory in that time over Anclas may prove to be enough to help them survive. Within the first half hour of this game they must have felt that they had done enough to at least secure a point if not all three. Arima Shizuka was back in goal for the first time since the summer break, and Sayama also started with Saito Yuri. JEF United brought in two players for their first starts, Sakuramoto and Oya.
It took just six minutes for Saito to open the scoring, as Muraoka's neat pass over the defence found the striker in the box. With a neat touch to take her into space, she beat the onrushing Funada to score well. Twenty-two minutes later Azami Rie had Sayama feeling comfortable when she scored easily following a missed kick at a Sawada pass by Oya.
The unfortunate Oya was replaced at half-time by the powerful Hosokawa Motoyo, and she set about correcting things from a JEF point of view. In the 63rd minute she beat three defenders to head a Sakuramoto cross down to fellow half-time substitute Anzai who side-footed home. Fourteen minutes later following a corner kick it was Motoyo's cross which was headed on by Sakuramoto to Yanai and from very close range she couldn't miss.
Sayama were beginning to feel panic set in, as they were very limited in chances at goal, and were desperate to hold on to at least the point which would put them three ahead of Takatsuki overnight. Alas it was not to be, as from a corner the ball was bundled over the line by Fukusawa Risa and possibly a number of other players. The Sayama players were furious that the goal had been allowed, convinced that a foul had been committed.
The Sayama players were upset at the final whistle, and following Takatsuki's surprise win on Sunday, they find themselves in the relegation zone one point from safety. JEF United have seventeen points and are almost certainly safe.
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Arima Shizuka, Segi Aiki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Akitaya Misato, Azami Rie, Sawada Yuka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Watanabe Ayaka, Saito Yuri, Muraoka Natsuki (capt)
Subs: Kiyohara Yuuko (Kobayashi Natsumi, HT), Kawai Nayo (Akitaya Misato, 65 mins), Uchida Saki (Sawada Yuka, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Kobayashi Maiko, Suzuki Kaoruko
Scorers: Saito Yuri (6 mins), Azami Rie (28 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Sakuramoto Naoko, Takahashi Sachie, Kawamura Mariko, Oya Madoka, Ikadai Risa, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Shimizu Yuka (capt), Fukasawa Risa, Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Hosokawa Motoyo (Oya Madoka, HT), Anzai Yuka (Shimizu Yuka, HT), Kawamura Noriko (Ikadai Risa, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Tezuka Saori, Yamamoto Naomi
Scorers: Anzai Yuka (63 mins), Yanai Rina (77 mins), Fukasawa Risa (82 mins)
Booked: Hosokawa Motoyo
Fukuoka J. Anclas 0 - 2 Iga FC Kunoichi
Fukuoka brought Yanagita Shiori back into their starting lineup as they desperately sought a victory over the unchanged Kunoichi. However Iga have been playing well lately and were in no mood to allow Fukuoka into the game. After seventeen minutes Tsutsumi Saki gave Iga the lead, after concerted pressure on the home defence. Kobayashi Makiko played the ball forward and after a poor attempt at a clearance, Tsutsumi swivelled and struck a perfect shot into the top left hand corner of the net from outside the area.
Anclas had little going forward in response in the first half and ten minutes into the second half Tsutsumi scored her second of the day, and only her third of the season when she knocked home the ball after Anclas goalkeeper Sawada had seemingly caught the ball but allowed it to spill out of her hands.
Anclas pushed on better in the second half, but could find no way through, and having only scored seven goals in their previous fourteen games, were never likely to pull back a two goal deficit. They are now almost certain to be relegated, needing to win all three of their remaining games to even stand a chance of surviving. Iga stay sixth, ahead of JEF United on goal difference.
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Hanada Aiko, Isokane Midori, Sato Kaede, Fujimoto Yuki, Doshita Misato, Kawamura Mari, Yanagita Shiori, Kiyohara Marie, Lee Min Sun
Subs: Hirata Hikari (Lee Min Sun, 56 mins), Tagashira Yoko (Fujimoto Yuki, 70 mins), Kim Kyoung Sin (Kiyohara Marie, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Akiyama Ryo, Shibuya Yumiko
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Ono Maya, Yamaguchi Ayako, Miyasako Tamami, Sato Ai, Fujimoto Ayano, Miyamoto Tomomi, Nasu Maiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Kobayashi Makiko (capt), Nakade Hikari, Matsunaga Yoshie
Subs: Sakaguchi Sakie (Nakade Hikari, 67 mins), Matsunaga Tomoe (Matsunaga Yoshie, 77 mins), Sonomura Nana (Tsutsumi Saki, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Takeda Yuki
Scorers: Tsutsumi Saki (17, 56 mins)