INAC Kobe stretch lead over Beleza to nine points
Iga FC Kunoichi 0 - 1 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Neither side made any changes for this game, with INAC hoping to maintain their lead over Beleza and stay on course for the title. Iga had shown some impressive recent form and were eager to impress in front of their largest home attendance of the season.
Homare Sawa scored the only goal of the game, heading in Ji So-Yun's free kick. INAC had several other chances but failed to add to their tally. The League's top scorer Takase was particularly guilty in this regard, shooting over the bar in front of an open goal.
Iga had chances themselves, and acquitted themselves very well in defence, where they showed far more composure and organisation than the sides below them had done when facing INAC.
The Kunoichi stay sixth and are now five points behind Niigata in fifth. INAC's lead at the top grew to nine points following Beleza's draw with Niigata, and they are now almost certain to win the league title again.
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Ono Maya, Yamaguchi Ayako, Sato Ai, Fujimoto Ayano, Miyasako Tamami, Kobayashi Makiko (capt), Nasu Maiko, Miyamoto Tomomi, Tsutsumi Saki, Nakade Hikari, Matsunaga Yoshie
Subs: Sakaguchi Sakie (Matsunaga Yoshie, 87 mins), Noichi Aya (Tsutsumi Saki, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Michikura Hiroko, Takeda Yuki, Matsunaga Tomoe
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 (Beverly Goebel-Yanez, 58 mins), Nakajima Emi (Kawasumi Nahomi, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Kaihori Ayumi, Tanaka Yoko, Nakada Ayu
Scorers: Sawa Homare (11 mins)
AS Elfen Sayama FC 0 - 2 Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki
Takatsuki surprised Sayama at home today to close the gap between the two sides to just two points in the battle to avoid relegation. Maruyama Karina scored just her second of the season, getting on the end of a Tsuboi cross across the face of goal. That goal came in the 37th minute and in the 57th minute Asano Miki secured the valuable points for the away side, with Maruyama the supplier this time. Her backheeled flick to Asano following Matsuda's cross saw Asano also score her second of the season.
Sayama next face JEF United looking to join them on 14 points with a win, with Takatsuki still having it all to do, facing Urawa in their next fixture.
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Kobayashi Maiko, Segi Aiki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Akitaya Misato, Azami Rie, Sawada Yuka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Watanabe Ayaka, Suzuki Kaoruko, Muraoka Natsuki (capt)
Subs: Uchida Saki (Sawada Yuka, HT), Kawai Nayo (Suzuki Kaoruko, 60 mins), Saito Yuri (Azami Rie, 65 mins)
Unused subs: Arima Shizuka, Kiyohara Yuuko
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Torao Naomi, Okuda Akiko (capt), Akiba Yumeko, Tsuboi Ayako, Kameoka Natsumi, Itami Emi, Hamada Haruka, Matsuda Nozomi, Maruyama Karina, Takahashi Chizuru
Subs: Asano Miki (Takahashi Chizuru, 56 mins), Gwon Su Jin (Maruyama Karina, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Matsui Miki, Mok Hyun Su
Scorers: Maruyama Karina (37 mins), Asano Miki (57 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 2 - 1 Fukuoka J. Anclas
Anclas once again conceded late in the game to throw a point away and condemn themselves to almost certain relegation. JEF had taken the lead early in the second half, with the ever-reliable Hosaka Nodoka finishing off a nice move down the left featuring the guile of Fukusawa and the strength of Hosokawa. A poor clearance by Funada saw Anclas players swarm the JEF defence and when Kawamura Mari won back the ball her powerful strike saw the league's bottom side pull level. JEF had put severe pressure on the Anclas goal throughout the match and finally in additional time their resolution was broken. Oya Madoka making her first appearance hit the left post with a strike from out wide and Fukusawa was on hand to poke the ball home.
JEF are now relatively safe on fourteen points, while for Anclas the future is grim, trailing Takatsuki in ninth by six points and Sayama in eighth by eight points, with four games remaining for all teams.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Takahashi Sachie, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawamura Mariko, Tsurumi Ayaka, Ikadai Risa, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Shimizu Yuka (capt), Fukasawa Risa, Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Sakuramoto Naoko (Tsurumi Ayaka, 60 mins), Oya Madoka (Shimizu Yuka, 63 mins), Yonemoto Nao (Kawamura Mariko, 69 mins)
Unused subs: Yamamoto Naomi, Kawamura Noriko
Scorers: Hosaka Nodoka (47 mins), Fukasawa Risa (90+2 mins)
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Hanada Aiko, Isokane Midori, Sato Kaede, Kiyohara Marie, Kuzuma Riyo, Kawamura Mari, Doshita Misato, Fujimoto Yuki, Lee Min Sun
Subs: Akiyama Ryo (Sawada Norimi, 42 mins), Hirata Hikari (Lee Min Sun, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Yanagita Shiori, Tagashira Yoko, Kim Kyoung Sin
Scorers: Kawamura Mari (69 mins)
Albirex Niigata Ladies 1 - 1 NTV Beleza
Niigata followed up their incredible win over Urawa Reds with an excellent draw against Beleza, who must surely now admit defeat in their chase of the title. Beleza had started with Sumida Rin for the first time, and things were going well early, with Ito Kanako scoring her fourth of the season in the 22nd minute, following up well after Nagasato Asano's shot had been saved by Otomo. Yamazaki Marumi has been on fire recently, and she didn't disappoint today, with her sixth goal in five games levelling things up with just under twenty minutes to go. From a corner kick taken by Kamionobe Yamazaki rose highest amongst slack marking by Beleza to score and give Niigata the point they deserved. Beleza's next game is another difficult assignment at home to Belle, with Niigata taking on INAC Kobe full of confidence and hope.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Otomo Maiko (capt), Wakabayashi Minori, Nakamura Kaede, Higashiyama Maiko, Hirai Sakina, Kodama Keiko, Kawamura Yuri, Saito Yuri, Yamazaki Marumi, Kamionobe Megumi, Kubota Mayu
Subs: Toyoda Nayuha (Kodama Keiko, HT), Nakamura Saki (Kubota Mayu, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Ichitani Tomoko, Yamamoto Arina, Kitahara Kana
Scorers: Yamazaki Marumi (71 mins)
Matsubayashi Miku, Sudo Akiko, Ariyoshi Saori, Kobayashi Misaki, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Hara Natsuko, Ito Kanako, Kiryu Nanase, Sumida Rin, Tanaka Mina, Nagasato Asano
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Kiryu Nanase, 67 mins), Momiki Yuka (Tanaka Mina, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Kobayashi Miharu, Doko Mayo
Scorers: Ito Kanako (22 mins)
Okayama Yunogo Belle 0 - 1 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Urawa needed a win today against Belle to restore their confidence and more importantly close the gap on their rivals for third place. Belle had made no changes to their starting lineup, but Urawa started with Under-20 national side goalkeeper Ikeda Sakiko for the first time, along with fellow Under-20 team-mate Shibata Hanae.
The only goal of the game came on 57 minutes, with Goto Michi again the scorer for Urawa - five goals in six games for the striker. Kishikawa found Goto in the box following good work by Shibata, and Goto was lethal in turning the defenders and shooting home.
Despite their best efforts - Miyama in particular creating chances - Belle were disappointed to lose their first game since May, but for Urawa, this puts them back in the mix for a top three finish. They next play struggling Takatsuki while Belle are away to Beleza.
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, 73 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Shigemoto Shiho, Mizushima Kumi, Yamaguchi Mami
Booked: Tsuhako Yumiko
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Tsuchihashi Yuki, Kohata Shiho, Yano Kyoko (capt), Dozono Ayano, Kishikawa Natsuki, Naomoto Hikaru, Niwata Akiko, Shibata Hanae, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi
Subs: Saito Akane (Dozono Ayano, 78 mins), Yasuda Yuki (Kira Chinatsu, 85 mins), Fujita Nozomi (Niwata Akiko, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Yamago Nozomi, Arakawa Eriko
Scorers: Goto Michi (57 mins)
Booked: Kishikawa Natsuki