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

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Nadeshiko League Promotion/Relegation Playoff Second Leg

FC Takahashi promoted to the Nadeshiko League

AS Elfen Sayama FC  2 - 3  FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme
(Attendance: 675)

FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme win 4 - 2 on aggregate

Following FC Takahashi's slender home win over AS Elfen Sayama in Kasaoka, the visitors' coaches had indicated before the second leg that they were fully intent on winning in Kumagaya to seal their promotion to the top division. FC Takahashi had retained the same lineup for the fourth game in a row, while Sayama made three changes to their lineup from the first leg. In came Sawada, Saito and Muraoka, making her first start in three games.

Sayama started the game in a frenzy, looking for the goal to level the aggregate score, but the Takahashi players were too well organised and had little trouble in dealing with the Sayama forwards. Koike Ayano was given the task of dealing with the home side's greatest threat, Azami Rie, and she did so admirably, restricting Azami to long-range shots.

Having safely passed the twenty-minute mark, FC Takahashi pulled themselves two goals clear on aggregate and it was no surpise that the scorer was Takahashi Chiho and that she scored from a set-piece. Shigemasa Kai swung the corner kick in towards the near post and Takahashi was the first to get a touch to the ball. Although Arima did get a hand to the ball, the touch wasn't enough to prevent the goal and the entire Takahashi team and bench erupted in celebration.

With Sayama now needing three goals, the players' heads dropped and with no further score by half-time, their supporters feared the worst. Starting the second half neither side made a change, and following another ten minutes of furious Sayama attack with no end product, the impressive Suzuki Kaoruko was finally introduced to the game.

FC Takahashi dropped deeper and deeper, subconciously aware that they only had to prevent Sayama from scoring three goals to win, though with each passing minute they were indeed getting closer to promotion. With no breakthrough, Sugiyama and Uchida were also introduced to the game, and finally things were to change. Within two minutes of Uchida's introduction she had equalised. A free kick knocked into the area by Watanabe fell into the gap between Muramatsu and Koike, and Uchida was there to blast the ball home for her first goal of the season.

Sayama still needed two goals to win the tie, and within a minute their faint hopes were once again diminished. FC Takahashi won a free kick in the Sayama half and Takano's ball into the area was attacked by Noma, but Sayama defender Takahashi Yuko knocked the ball into her own net in her attempt to clear the danger. Noma had ealier hit the crossbar and was warmly congratulated by her team-mates for her efforts today.

Sayama kept trying and once again equalised with just three minutes remaining, Suzuki scrambling the ball home. FC Takahashi's inspirational captain Takahashi Chiho was to have the last say though, as in additional time she once again scored from a corner kick to win the game for her side and underline their superiority in this game.

At the final whistle the full squad which had travelled to the game celebrated with their travelling supporters while the Sayama team and supporters were left to wonder what the future holds for them. FC Takahashi join Vegalta Sendai in next season's Nadeshiko League, while Sayama join Anclas in being relegated to the Challenge League looking to return next season.

Takahashi Chiho scores the opening goal, heading in Kai Shigemasa's corner kick

As expected Sayama's greatest threat came from Azami Rie, though Koike Ayano
performed superbly in nullifying the threat from Sayama's top scorer
Poor marking from another corner kick presents Takahashi Chiho with the easy task
of scoring the winner for FC Takahashi in additional time

The FC Takahashi players celebrate at the final whistle

FC Takahashi's full squad celebrate with their coaching staff in front of their supporters

AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Arima Shizuka, Yajima Yuki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Kumagai Sayaka, Azami Rie, Sawada Yuka, Kobayashi Natsumi, Watanabe Ayaka, Saito Yuri, Muraoka Natsuki (capt)
Subs: Suzuki Kaoruko (Muraoka Natsuki, 56 mins), Sugiyama Takako (Saito Yuri, 63 mins), Uchida Saki (Sawada Yuka, 73 mins)
Unused subs: Kobayashi Maiko, Kiyohara Yuuko
Scorers: Uchida Saki (75 mins), Suzuki Kaoruko (87 mins)

FC Takahashi Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Morimoto Kiyo, Takeda Arisa, Matsushita Fumiko, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Koike Ayano, Shigemasa Kai, Takano Saki, Sugita Ami, Nishikawa Asuka, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Noma Fumika
Subs: Kamata Ran (Koike Ayano, 83 mins), Adachi Eriko (Noma Fumika, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Yamamoto Ayaka, Tanaka Shiho, Fukui Shihori
Scorers: Takahashi Chiho (22, 90+2 mins), Own Goal (76 mins)

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