Please note that the Japanese names in these posts are written in Japanese order, i.e. Family Name followed by Given Name

Monday, 5 November 2012

Challenge League Final Round

Vegalta Sendai Ladies  1 - 0  Nittaidai Football Club Ladies
(Attendance: 6,809)

Having won the Challenge League in style, Vegalta Sendai wanted to finish the season unbeaten and in front of over 6,800 home supporters, they eventually prevailed against dogged resistance from a highly organised and skilful Nittaidai side. Ono Hitomi came into the starting lineup in place of Yasumoto Sawako, and Nittaidai brought back five regular starters to their side, having rested them in their last match against Nagano.

The first half saw much industry but little end product as both keepers were called into action but neither was seriously tested. Nittaidai were comfortable defending against their more illustrious opponents, particularly eye-catching at the back were Sakurai and Toriyabe; in midfield Oguri Mao showed the kind of high quality play we've come to expect from her while up front Shimada Chiaki demonstrated her skill on the ball. All the same, Nittaidai were mostly looking to capitalise on mistakes in the Vegalta defence, as they themselves were determined to keep it tight at the back.

Vegalta upped the tempo in the second half, and brought on Nakahara Saori in place of Ono. Finally in the 73rd minute they scored the goal which would win them the game. Oguri played the ball to Shimokawa but she was too slow to react and was easily beaten to the ball by Nakahara, who played the ball to Ito and continued to move forward. Ito played the ball out to Kakazu on the right and her pass into the middle back to Nakahara was perfectly timed. Through on goal, Nakahara took the ball around goalkeeper Yamamoto to score before the Nittaidai defenders could get back.

The students had no real answer to Vegalta and the home side were able to defend their goal relatively comfortably. Having tried so hard to at least come away with a point, the Nittaidai players were clearly disappointed with the result.

Vegalta thus win the division by a full twelve points, with just two home draws resulting in their only dropped points all season. They now go marching into the Nadeshiko League from next season. Nittaidai started the day in third but will have to settle for fourth having been beaten on goals scored by Sfida Setagaya.

The Vegalta Sendai side which started today

The visiting Nittaidai side hoping for a third place finish

Nakamura Mami clears before Uemura Shoko can put pressure on her

Sakurai Mayuka (2) remained composed and kept Sameshima Aya quiet throughout the game

Oguri Mao (8) has been a starring midfielder for Nittaidai this year and showed why against Vegalta

Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Amano Misaki, Nakamura Mami, Shimokozuru Aya (capt), Osafune Kana, Ideue Asako, Takahashi Nana, Uetsuji Yumi, Kakazu Asuka, Ono Hitomi, Sameshima Aya, Ito Minako
Subs: Nakahara Saori (Ono Hitomi, HT), Sakai Yuki (Nakamura Mami, 90+2 mins)
Unused subs: Saita Yuki, Tanaka Keiko, Yasumoto Sawako
Scorers: Nakahara Saori (73 mins)

Nittaidai Football Club Ladies:
Yamamoto Arisa, Sakurai Mayuka, Yamagata Hisami, Toriyabe Kozue, Abe Rie, Oguri Mao, Shimokawa Saori (capt), Shimada Chiaki, Ishii Chiharu, Uemura Shoko, Sato Minami
Subs: Maegami Eri (Uemura Shoko, 74 mins), Goto Ami (Oguri Mao, 78 mins), Ito Yukina (Ishii Chiharu, 90+2 mins)
Unused subs: Kamimura Aya, Togashi Kaori

FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme  0 - 1  JFA Academy Fukushima
(Attendance: 350)

Having beaten Nittaidai on October 14th to reserve their place in the promotion playoff, FC Takahashi have taken it more easily and have now gone three games without winning, and have been beaten by schoolgirl teams in their last two games. At home to the JFA Academy they had hoped to end the season on a high note and in full confidence to take on their Nadeshiko League rivals for the coveted spot in the top division.

The Academy girls arrived with different ideas to that of their hosts, and a good run from Masuya Rika set up midfielder Narumiya Yui - linked recently with a move to Vegalta Sendai - to score her sixth goal of the season. In the second half Narumiya picked up a yellow card, just the team's third of the season. FC Takahashi made little headway in attack but will be pleased to have come through uninjured, with just Muramatsu picking up her first yellow card of the season the only moment of concern.

The Academy have had a good season, finishing fifth just two points of third place and with the second-best defensive record in the division. FC Takahashi's have finished twelve points behind Vegalta Sendai having led the division for the early stages of the season. They now await results on the final day of the season to see if it will be Sayama or Takatsuki that they must play off against.

FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Morimoto Kiyo, Takeda Arisa, Matsushita Fumiko, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Koike Ayano, Shigemasa Kai, Takano Saki, Nishikawa Asuka, Noma Fumika, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Sugita Ami
Subs: Tanaka Shiho (Matsushita Fumiko, 79 mins), Adachi Eriko (Noma Fumika, 65 mins), Murakawa Saki (Koike Ayano, 65 mins), Tachibana Rei (Takano Saki, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Sakamoto Aoi
Booked: Muramatsu Mafuyu

JFA Academy Fukushima:
Hirao Chika, Moriya Miyabi, Miyake Shiori (capt), Norimatsu Ruka, Yoshitake Manami, Sunaga Manami, Narumiya Yui, Mizutani Yuki, Kadoi Megumi, Masuya Rika, Kojima Miku
Subs: Mori Sayaka (Masuya Rika, 82 mins), Kojima Hikaru (Kojima Miku, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Inoue Nene
Scorers: Narumiya Yui (28 mins)
Booked: Narumiya Yui

Tokiwagi Gakuen High School  2 - 0  Ehime FC Ladies
(Attendance: 100)

Tokiwagi Gakuen and Ehime started the day in sixth and seventh place respectively, with both sides slightly disappointed by their standings. Tokiwagi wanted to win in an attempt to overtake the JFA Academy, while Ehime were almost certain to finish seventh, but wanted to do well here, against a side they beat at home during the summer.

Three of the sides Tokiwagi had beaten to the Challenge League East title last year were expected to finish ahead of them this season, and it's true to say that this year's side has not had the level of quality throughout the side as last season's did. That being said, they do have the league's top scorer in Michigami Ayaka and following up on her outstanding performance against FC Takahashi, she again produced the goods. Just before half-time she scored direct from a free kick past Mitsuhira in the Ehime goal, and in the second half a fine dribble set up young Kawasaki Saya for her eighth goal of the season - indeed Kawasaki is Tokiwagi's second highest scorer.

Ehime's main threat was Akune Mana, with Nakada Maiko behind her pulling the strings, but they couldn't find a way through a determined Tokiwagi defence, and Tokiwagi went on to record their second straight victory, something they haven't achieved since July. Ehime's target was sixth, but on reflection they will be happy to settle for seventh in their first season in the Challenge League. In recent matches Tokiwagi have introduced younger players to get them ready for next season, and again they will expect a top-half finish.

Tokiwagi Gakuen High School:
Hayashizaki Mei, Takamura Chisato, Hirata Miki, Okakura Mika, Nishikawa Ayaka, Okamori Kasane (capt), Kawasaki Saya, Ito Miki, Shiraki Akari, Sasaki Miwa, Michigami Ayaka
Subs: Matsuura Nagisa (Okamori Kasane, 20 mins), Kosuda Rina (Shiraki Akari, 75 mins), Sugihara Haruna (Kawasaki Saya, 82 mins), Horii Mizuki (Sasaki Miwa, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae
Scorers: Michigami Ayaka (44 mins), Kawasaki Saya (62 mins)
Booked: Nishikawa Ayaka

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: Marugata Rie (Ogawa Manami, 68 mins)
Unused subs: Osako Hanako, Kikuchi Riho, Yamada Maya, Niwa Mizuho

Japan Soccer College Ladies  1 - 2  Sfida Setagaya FC
(Attendance: 164)

Coming into this game, the JSCL team knew that they could escape a relegation playoff if they could beat Setagaya, and Bunnys were to lose. At the very least, a draw would mean an eleventh-place finish ahead of Nagano.

Setagaya got going early though, and defender Okada Ayame headed in a Tanaka Mariko free kick after fifteen minutes. With two minutes remaining in the half Setagaya went 2-0 up and memories of their 8-1 demolition of the JSCL back in June started to surface. On that occasion Setagaya went on a goal blitz just before half time, but it was the JSCL who hit back, with top scorer and inspirational captain Toriumi Mai blasting home her eleventh of the season.

In the second half neither side could muster much in attack, with only four shots registered between them. JSCL couldn't find a way through, and they'll have been shocked to hear that a late Nagano winner meant that they would finish bottom of the table on goal difference. They now face Norddea Hokkaido in a two-legged playoff, though for Setagaya it means a third place finish on 43 points, just ahead of Nittaidai whom they beat on goal difference.

Japan Soccer College Ladies:
Fukada Ayami, Hayashimoto Saki, Takahashi Sakura, Usui Rika, Kato Yoshimi, Sasaki Shiori, Iwasaki Manami, Kusakari Ayako, Sakaguchi Yuki, Toriumi Mai (capt), Nakayama Aoi
Subs: Toyota Yuri (Toriumi Mai, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Goto Sanae, Shinagawa Ayaka, Sakai Manami, Matsumoto Hotaru
Scorers: Toriumi Mai (45 mins)

Sfida Setagaya FC:
Kawaguchi Mana, Fukuhara Nao, Okada Ayame, Tanaka Marina, Nagata Maya (capt), Nagasawa Yume, Tanaka Mariko, Kuwahara Yoshie, Sasago Masae, Mori Hitomi, Usuda Haruka
Subs: Ishibuchi Yuki (Usuda Haruka, HT), Oshima Sayuri (Nagasawa Yume, 40 mins), Minemoto Chizuru (Kuwahara Yoshie, 70 mins), Kawashima Tamai (Sasago Masae, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Osaki Aimi
Scorers: Okada Ayame (15 mins), Kuwahara Yoshie (43 mins)
Booked: Fukuhara Nao

Je Vrille Kagoshima  1 - 2  AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies
(Attendance: 248)

While Kagoshima were guaranteed to finish in ninth regardless of the result today, Nagano could still move up to eleventh place in the table. Although certain to be involved in a relegation playoff, they knew that finishing eleventh could possibly give them an easier opponent in those playoffs.

Imanaka Yuri scored her fifth goal in this, her first season for Kagoshima, to give the home side the lead 28 minutes into the second half. Nagano didn't panic though, and in the second half Uchiyama Tomoyo equalised, with Hashiura Satsuki the supplier. With two minutes remaining the roles were reversed, as Uchiyama found Hashiura through the middle and she scored to give Nagano the win, with the two scorers responsible for eight of the team's fourteen goals this season.

Nagano thus finish the season with ten points in eleventh position, having overtaken the JSCL on goal difference on the final day. They now play Nagoya in a two-legged playoff. Kagoshima finish ninth, with eighteen points.

Je Vrille Kagoshima:
Eguchi Mika, Miyazako Fumika, Hamada Erina, Nakae Maki (capt), Kurahara Honami, Niiho Madoka, Nozaki Ayumi, Shimada Naoko, Imanaka Yuri, Nakashima Ayaka, Moriwaki Satsuki
Subs: Sannomiya Shiki (Moriwaki Satsuki, 56 mins)
Unused subs: Nijima Yuki, Mitsudome Kanami
Scorers: Imanaka Yuri (28 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: Kitagawa Minamo (Yamashita Mayumi, 70 mins)
Unused subs: Sayama Marina, Hanabusa Misa
Scorers: Uchiyama Tomoyo (68 mins), Hashiura Satsuki (88 mins)
Booked: Satou Kaede, Hamagaki Kana

Bunnys Kyoto SC  1 - 2  Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata Bonita
(Attendance: 200)

Bunnys Kyoto made one change for this final crucial game against Shizuoka, bringing back regular starter Ii Kiyono in place of Fujimoto Ami. Shizuoka started with Atsumi Yuka for the first time, with Kitaoka dropping to the bench.

Bunnys knew that in order to guarantee safety, they would have to win, and after fifteen minutes Watanabe Juri scored her very first goal of the season to give them the lead, which they held until half time in what was a very even first half. However in the second half Shizuoka piled on the pressure and in the 66th minute Oda Kanna retook her side's top scoring position with a goal supplied by their other high scorer, Okuda Mika.

Bunnys held on valiantly until just a minute before the end when Shirai Aoi scored her only goal of the season to give Shizuoka just their seventh win of the season, having started with three wins from three games.

Bunnys were distraught at the final whistle, but good news was to come from Niigata that the JSCL had lost to Setagaya, and that therefore the Kyoto outfit would be playing in the Challenge League next season. Bunnys finish tenth with twelve points, Shizuoka finish eighth with twenty-six.

Bunnys Kyoto SC:
Akiyama Tomomi (capt), Hanazaki Rena, Fujino Aiko, Ii Kiyono, Sada Fumika, Ukita Kotone, Yamashita Yu, Watanabe Juri, Kinjo Keina, Miura Kyoko, Miyai Mina
Subs: Fujimoto Ami (Miyai Mina, 81 mins)
Unused subs: Isashi Kaede, Iwasa Megumi, Nakajima Akane, Hattori Sae
Scorers: Watanabe Juri (15 mins)

Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata Bonita:
Takahashi Miharu, Sayama Momoko, Nishiyama Mei, Kanefuda Anzu (capt), Ito Mari, Atsumi Yuka, Suzuki Rina, Kanno Mie, Ishida Risa, Oda Kanna, Okuda Mika
Subs: Ogata Yurika (Suzuki Rina, 38 mins), Shirai Aoi (Atsumi Yuka, 60 mins)
Unused subs: Maehara Ringo, Kitaoka Chiaki, Takahata Airi
Scorers: Oda Kanna (66 mins), Shirai Aoi (89 mins)
Booked: Sayama Momoko

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