INAC Kobe are Nadeshiko League Champions
Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 4 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Belle's largest home crowd was present as INAC Kobe visited looking to win the league title with either a win or a draw, with Belle the only side so far that has taken a point from the champions. Belle retained the same starting eleven which had lost to Beleza, while for this important game INAC took no chances and Kaihori Ayumi started in goal.
INAC wasted no time in showing their superiority and after just over three minutes had passed Kawasumi Nahomi scored the opening goal, after nice interplay with Ohno Shinobu at the edge of the box. Belle fought back but couldn't find a way through, and from a good chance for Matsuoka at the INAC end, the home side found themselves on the back foot as INAC piled forward. From inside her own half Ohno found Kawasumi on the right and when Ohno continued her run towards the Belle box, Kawasumi gave her the return pass. Ohno's perfectly placed shot into the bottom corner was just out of reach for Fukumoto and the champions could feel their hands on the trophy again.
Belle didn't want to give up so easily though, and sixty-six second later had a goal back. Following good pressure by Nakano and Arimachi, Nakano came away with the ball and from deep on the right wing crossed for Matsuoka to volley in for a half-time score of 2-1 to INAC.
In the second half INAC piled on the pressure and created far more chances than they had in the first. On the hour mark Takase Megumi restored the two goal lead to relieve any pressure her team-mates were feeling. Kinga made a trademark run up the right side and gave the ball to Goebel-Yanez, who was dispossessed by Tsuhako. Goebel-Yanez fought for the ball well and managed to poke it to Kinga who found Kawasumi raiding near the box. Kawasumi's cross across the box found Takase all alone, and though her first touch was heavy, she still had time to put the ball away unhindered.
Very shortly after INAC had their fourth goal and the game was over as a contest. Kado attempted to find Nagamachi in the middle of the field but Kawasumi darted in to intercept and attacked the Belle goal at pace. Yasuda caught up with Kawasumi, but she simply stopped, turned and played in Ohno to the left side of goal and the captain had her second of the day.
Belle will feel bitterly disappointed that despite having more chances overall, they were nevertheless comfortably beaten. INAC Kobe showed their class in their attacking play, and the heavy rain did nothing to dampen their spirits at the end of the game. They take their second consecutive title, with Belle hanging on in third position, though the threat of Urawa catching them looms larger.
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 (Tsuhako Yumiko, 70 mins), Yamaguchi Mami (Nakagawa Chihiro, 74 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Shigemoto Shiho, Yokoyama Kumi
Scorers: Matsuoka Miki (40 mins)
Booked: Nagamachi Yuri
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Rebecca Moros, Ji So-Yun, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Sawa Homare, Kawasumi Nahomi, Beverly Goebel-Yanez, Takase Megumi
Subs: Takara Ryoko (Rebecca Moros, 42 mins), Nakajima Emi (Beverly Goebel-Yanez, 81 mins), Tanaka Yoko (Takase Megumi, 81 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Minamiyama Chiaki
Scorers: Kawasumi Nahomi (4 mins), Ohno Shinobu (39, 62 mins), Takase Megumi (60 mins)
Booked: Ji So-Yun
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies 3 - 1 NTV Beleza
Urawa have had a curious season, dropping points against some of the lower sides some weeks and then winning against some of the leading teams in other weeks. This was one of their better showings, beating second-placed Beleza to increase the pressure on Belle in the hunt for third spot. Momiki Yuka was given her first start for Beleza, replacing fellow youngster Tanaka Mina. Urawa replaced Dozono Ayano with Saito Akane.
The first half started at a blistering pace, and following a foul on Shibata Hanae on the edge of the penalty area, Niwata Akiko stepped up to place the ball perfectly in the top left hand corner of the goal. That goal came in the fifth minute, and just four minutes later Beleza had an equaliser. Nagasato had a shot at goal that was tipped by Ikeda, and eventually after a scramble on the goalline, Kiryu Nanase managed to force it over for her fourth goal of the season. Thereafter the game became more even paced, and neither side could make a breakthrough in the soggy conditions.
In the second half Urawa found renewed vigour and retook the lead through their dependable forward Kira Chinatsu, notching her ninth goal of the season. Urawa won the ball back following a Matsubayashi clearance and Shibata spread the play wide to the right where Tsuchihashi took over. Her deep cross was only headed back into the danger area by the Beleza defenders and Kira was strong and determined in belting the ball home.
Captain Yano Kyoko popped up with eighteen minutes remaining for her side's third of the afternoon and her first of the whole season. From a corner kick taken by Goto Michi, Saito Akane's header was blocked by Matsubayashi and with no time to recover, in came Yano to blast the ball home for a decisive victory.
Beleza thus fall to their second loss of the season, and with an enormous twelve point gap to INAC Kobe, must be wondering what they can do next season to address the gap which has opened, as indeed must all of the sides in the League. Urawa can feel pleased at their victory, but will still be uneasy about the number of points they have dropped to sides such as Iga, Takatsuki and Anclas. They next take on INAC Kobe in a real test of character. INAC are Beleza's final opponents, they are next at home to Takatsuki.
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Tsuchihashi Yuki, Kohata Shiho, Yano Kyoko (capt), Saito Akane, Kishikawa Natsuki, Naomoto Hikaru, Niwata Akiko, Shibata Hanae, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi
Subs: Fujita Nozomi (Niwata Akiko, 65 mins), Kato Chika (Kira Chinatsu, 78 mins), Arakawa Eriko (Goto Michi, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Yamago Nozomi, Dozono Ayano
Scorers: Niwata Akiko (5 mins), Kira Chinatsu (55 mins), Yano Kyoko (72 mins)
Booked: Kira Chinatsu, Kishikawa Natsuki
Matsubayashi Miku, Sudo Akiko, Ariyoshi Saori, Kobayashi Misaki, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Hara Natsuko, Ito Kanako, Kiryu Nanase, Sumida Rin, Nagasato Asano, Momiki Yuka
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Momiki Yuka, HT), Doko Mayo (Sumida Rin, 75 mins), Kobayashi Miharu (Hara Natsuko, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Tanaka Mina
Scorers: Kiryu Nanase (9 mins)
Booked: Kobayashi Misaki
Iga FC Kunoichi 5 - 2 AS Elfen Sayama FC
Sayama's chances of staying in the Nadeshiko League are appearing slimmer every game they play, as once again they fell to a heavy defeat. The Kunoichi took the lead after some terrible defensive work by Sayama, not clearing the ball and allowing Kobayashi Makiko to score easily. Things got worse and with five minutes gone they were two goals down and again it was a failure to clear the ball that resulted in the goal, scored this time by Matsunaga Yoshie from the edge of the area.
Sayama had no shots on goal in the first half at all, and by half-time the score was 3-0 to the home side. Nakade Hikari was sent free on the right by Matsunaga and her shot from well out looped over Arima who had advanced well off her line. Nakade scored another just after half-time, this time from the penalty spot.
Finally Sayama got going, and had a goal back almost immediately, Watanabe Ayaka scoring direct from a quickly taken free kick, surprising Ono and her defensive wall. Iga replied three minutes later with another goal from Matsunaga to restore the four goal lead before Azami Rie scored her sixth of the season, finishing neatly after being found in the box by substitute Nara Misaki, the twenty-year-old making her first appearance of the season.
Sayama are struggling, and may find themselves in the promotion/relegation playoff with FC Takahashi at the end of the season. They will struggle to beat either of their two remaining opponents, Niigata and Belle. Iga are comfortable in sixth place, just behind Niigata on goal difference. They play JEF United and Takatsuki and are in with a real chance of a top five finish.
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Ono Maya, Ono Suzuka (capt), Miyasako Tamami, Sato Ai, Fujimoto Ayano, Miyamoto Tomomi, Nasu Maiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Kobayashi Makiko, Nakade Hikari, Matsunaga Yoshie
Subs: Noichi Aya (Kobayashi Makiko, HT), Matsunaga Tomoe (Matsunaga Yoshie, 57 mins), Sonomura Nana (Nakade Hikari, 71 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Takeda Yuki
Scorers: Kobayashi Makiko (1 mins), Matsunaga Yoshie (5, 51 mins), Nakade Hikari (30, 47 mins (pen) )
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Arima Shizuka, Segi Aiki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Yajima Yuki, Azami Rie, Sawada Yuka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Watanabe Ayaka, Saito Yuri, Muraoka Natsuki (capt)
Subs: Nara Misaki (Watanabe Ayaka, 56 mins), Kiyohara Yuuko (Sawada Yuka, 69 mins), Suzuki Kaoruko (Saito Yuri, 73 mins)
Unused subs: Kobayashi Maiko, Uchida Saki
Scorers: Watanabe Ayaka (48 mins), Azami Rie (84 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 1 - 1 Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki
Having amazed everyone by beating Urawa and leaping over Sayama and into the safety zone, Takatasuki found a late equaliser on Saturday to draw against JEF United to give themselves every chance of staying in the Nadeshiko League for another season.
JEF United took the lead just after a quarter of an hour in, Ikadai Risa scoring her very first goal of the season. From a throw-in she escaped her marker, picked up the ball and played it to Ogawa Shiho in the box. Ogawa's clever backheel found Ikadai in space in front of goal and her finish was perfect.
JEF United has almost all of the chances thereafter, with Takatsuki extremely short on ideas. However, in additional time a free kick awarded to Takatsuki just inside the JEF half gave the visitors the chance to send almost all of their outfield players into the box. Gwon Su Jin, making her fourth substitute appearance since arriving in the summer, took a shot which was deflected. The ball pinged around until eventually it was knocked over the line by Matsuda Nozomi to the extreme delight of the Takatsuki players - and the disgust of the JEF team.
Takatsuki are now two points ahead of Sayama with two games to play, against Beleza and Iga. JEF also play Iga, in their next game, while they finish up at home against Niigata - both sides are two points ahead of the Chiba outfit.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Sakuramoto Naoko, Takahashi Sachie, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawamura Mariko, Ikadai Risa, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Shimizu Yuka (capt), Fukasawa Risa, Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Anzai Yuka (Shimizu Yuka, 58 mins), Yonemoto Nao (Ogawa Shiho, 83 mins), Kawamura Noriko (Ikadai Risa, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Tezuka Saori, Yamamoto Naomi
Scorers: Ikadai Risa (16 mins)
Booked: Yanai Rina, Sakuramoto Naoko
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Torao Naomi, Okuda Akiko (capt), Akiba Yumeko, Matsuda Nozomi, Tsuboi Ayako, Itami Emi, Shimamura Yuko, Hamada Haruka, Mok Hyun Su, Maruyama Karina
Subs: Asano Miki (Mok Hyun Su, HT), Gwon Su Jin (Shimamura Yuko, 81 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Matsui Miki, Takahashi Chizuru
Scorers: Matsuda Nozomi (90+1 mins)
Booked: Itami Emi
Albirex Niigata Ladies 0 - 0 Fukuoka J. Anclas
Anlcas' relegation was confirmed as they played out a 0-0 draw with Niigata, who'll be disappointed not to have picked up all three points as they completely dominated both in terms of possession and number of chances. Yamazaki and Kamionobe were very lively, but repeatedly shot wide. Anclas had very little to offer and will be now just trying to reorganise for life in the Challenge League.
Anclas have an abysmal record of four points from sixteen games, while Niigata stay fifth, and can now not reach fourth. Iga have the same number of points, twenty, and will be determined to finish in the top five. Niigata next play another relegation-threatened side, Sayama, while Anclas are Belle's guests in Mimasaka.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Otomo Maiko (capt), Hirai Sakina, Nakamura Kaede, Higashiyama Maiko, Yamamoto Arina, Kodama Keiko, Toyoda Nayuha, Saito Yuri, Yamazaki Marumi, Kamionobe Megumi, Hori Yoshie
Subs: Kubota Mayu (Kodama Keiko, 68 mins), Kawamura Yuri (Hori Yoshie, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Ichitani Tomoko, Kitahara Kana, Nakamura Saki
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Hanada Aiko, Isokane Midori, Kiyohara Marie, Kim Kyoung Sin, Yanagita Shiori, Fujimoto Yuki, Kawamura Mari, Sato Kaede, Lee Min Sun
Subs: Shibuya Yumiko (Kim Kyoung Sin, 54 mins), Hirata Hikari (Lee Min Sun, 54 mins), Tagashira Yoko (Sato Kaede, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Akiyama Ryo, Doshita Misato