Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies 2 - 3 INAC Kobe Leonessa
With the destination of the title put beyond doubt last weekend, INAC Kobe's only remaining challenge in the league this season is to remain unbeaten, just as they did last year. Kaihori Ayumi was again preferred in goal, with Takara Ryoko starting for the first time since the summer break. The big news on the INAC side was that Tanaka Yoko would start her first league game this season. Urawa named and unchanged side from that which beat Beleza.
It was INAC who scored first, and it was crowd favourite Tanaka Yoko scoring her second of the season with the lead goal. After an Urawa attack broke down, INAC poured forward quickly, with Tanaka taking the ball from Sawa Homare. Taking the ball inside, she found Kawasumi who laid the ball back from her and from outside the area struck perfectly into the top of the net over the despairing reach of Ikeda Sakiko.
Just after half time the league's top scorer Takase Megumi added another goal to her tally, being first to follow up when Ikeda couldn't hold on to Kawasumi's powerful shot. Just before the 65 minute mark Kaihori found herself well outside of her area and in clearing the ball fouled Kira. The crowd wanted a red card, but Kaihori only saw yellow. Urawa pressed on and seven minutes later got themselves back in the game to the delight of the large home crowd. Kira Chinatsu followed up on her own saved header to score her tenth of the season after some fine build-up work.
With ten minutes remaining Nakajima Emi restored INAC's two goal advantage, with her third goal as a substitute this season, leaping well to power home Tanaka Asuna's dangerous cross from the left. Local girl Kato Chika had the final say for Urawa in additional time, as she scored a fine goal which demonstrated her excellent dribbling skills. Taking the ball on the right wing from Kishikawa, she easily beat Nakada Ayu at the dead ball line before wrong-footing Kaihori and shooting in at the near post.
INAC's last challenge is to remain unbeaten, but their conquerors in the League Cup Beleza, will be in no mood to lie down. An added incentive for both sides will be to see their player win the top scorer award, with Kobe's Takase on twenty goals and Nagasato a goal back. Urawa have had an up and down season, and one of their downs was losing a late equaliser to Anclas before the summer break. They travel to Fukuoka looking to improve on that result.
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, 67 mins), Kato Chika (Goto Michi, 80 mins), Arakawa Eriko (Kira Chinatsu, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Yamago Nozomi, Dozono Ayano
Scorers: Kira Chinatsu (72 mins), Kato Chika (90+1 mins)
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Takara Ryoko, Kawasumi Nahomi, Sawa Homare, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Tanaka Yoko, Beverly Goebel-Yanez, Takase Megumi
Subs: Minamiyama Chiaki (Beverly Goebel-Yanez, 60 mins), Nakajima Emi (Tanaka Yoko, 60 mins), Nakada Ayu (Kawasumi Nahomi, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Rebecca Moros
Scorers: Tanaka Yoko (30 mins), Takase Megumi (47 mins), Nakajima Emi (80 mins)
Booked: Kaihori Ayumi
NTV Beleza 6 - 2 Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki
Beleza may have failed in their quest to regain the title the last one two seasons ago, but they have lost none of their appetite and today they again showed against Takatsuki the gulf in class which exists between the top sides and those struggling at the bottom. Nagasato Asano scored four goals to close the gap in the top scorer race to just one, Takase Megumi having also scored today to keep herself just on top. Ito Kanako scored her sixth goal in a fine season and Kobayashi Misaki scored her very first of the season in additional time at the end of the ninety minutes.
Takatsuki had pulled the game back to 1-1 after 32 minutes, with young defender Hamada Haruka scoring her first goal, and her form for club and country has been one of the highlights for Takatsuki. Veteran Itami Emi also scored with fifteen minutes to go, but the game had long been lost by then.
Beleza will finish in second behind INAC Kobe, but next weekend's meeting between the two needs no extra intrigue to make the game unmissable. With INAC unbeaten in the league for the last two seasons, and Beleza having beaten them in the League Cup final, both sides will feel they can put one over their deadly rivals.
Matsubayashi Miku, Sudo Akiko, Kobayashi Misaki, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Doko Mayo, Ariyoshi Saori, Hara Natsuko, Kobayashi Yayoi, Ito Kanako, Nagasato Asano, Kiryu Nanase
Subs: Tanaka Mina (Kobayashi Yayoi, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Kobayashi Miharu, Sumida Rin, Momiki Yuka
Scorers: Nagasato Asano (23, 54, 60, 81 mins), Ito Kanako (71 mins), Kobayashi Misaki (90+1 mins)
Speranza F.C. Osaka Takatsuki:
Suzuki Risa, Tsuboi Ayako, Okuda Akiko (capt), Akiba Yumeko, Torao Naomi, Itami Emi, Kameoka Natsumi, Matsuda Nozomi, Hamada Haruka, Shimamura Yuko, Maruyama Karina
Subs: Asano Miki (Shimamura Yuko, 56 mins), Takahashi Chizuru (Hamada Haruka, 82 mins), Gwon Su Jin (Maruyama Karina, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Mok Hyun Su
Scorers: Hamada Haruka (32 mins), Itami Emi (75 mins)
Okayama Yunogo Belle 0 - 1 Fukuoka J. Anclas
Belle opened the gates for free admission today as they took on the winless, and now relegated, Fukuoka J. Anclas but were left stunned as the visitors came away with the unlikeliest of victories.
Belle had most of the game as would be expected, as they started with their usual lineup bar Kado Yuka; Mizushima Kumi started for just the fourth time. Anclas went back to the old regular starting players, bringing in Kuzuma and Shibuya and dropping their Korean arrivals to the bench.
A goal seven minutes from time settled the contest. After sustained Anclas pressure Shibuya found Fujimoto with a perfect pass through the middle, and with the Belle defenders appealing for offside, Fujimoto scored with a precise shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
Belle launched a furious onslaught in the closing minutes in the search for an equaliser, but the visitors were not to be denied and even following a goalmouth scramble deep into injury time, they had the resolve to keep Belle at bay. At the final whistle the Anclas players celebrated jubilantly while their Belle counterparts sank to their knees in disbelief.
Belle's last game is away to Sayama, and they'll be looking to win to consolidate third place, Anclas finish the season at home to Belle's rivals for third spot, Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Yasuda Kuniko, Takahashi Haruka, Tsuhako Yumiko, Nagamachi Yuri, Nakano Manami, Nakagawa Chihiro, Miyama Aya, Mizushima Kumi, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Kado Yuka (Nagamachi Yuri, 33 mins), Yamaguchi Mami (Mizushima Kumi, 63 mins), Yokoyama Kumi (Nakagawa Chihiro, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Ikegaya Natsumi, Shigemoto Shiho
Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Sawada Norimi, Uchihori Ritsuko (capt), Hanada Aiko, Isokane Midori, Sato Kaede, Kuzuma Riyo, Yanagita Shiori, Kawamura Mari, Doshita Misato, Shibuya Yumiko, Fujimoto Yuki
Unused subs: Tagashira Yoko, Kim Kyoung Sin, Hirata Hikari, Lee Min Sun
Scorers: Fujimoto Yuki (83 mins)
Booked: Sato Kaede
Albirex Niigata Ladies 2 - 0 AS Elfen Sayama FC
AS Elfen Sayama's chances of staying in the Nadeshiko League are becoming even more forlorn as they once again slumped to a defeat in which they only had three shots on goal. They had brought in Kobayashi in goal along with Kumagai and Uchida for rare starting appearances. Niigata have had a fine season, and they introduced Ichitani in goal, with Kawamura starting following a substitute appearance last week.
Niigata in the end had no trouble in defeating Sayama, Kamionobe Megumi scoring directly from a corner after just fifteen minutes, but they had to wait until just a few minutes before the final whistle to score again. Yamazaki Marumi has been in red-hot form, and with her seventh goals in eight games sealed the victory. A ball pumped into the box by Kodama saw Yamazaki easily beat the weak Sayama defenders to prod the ball past Ichitani.
Sayama have real problems at the back, and look to have little chance of beating Belle in their final game. If they do indeed finish ninth, they will have to prepare very well for the challenge of FC Takahashi and their powerful forward players. Niigata look set for another top five finish, but can still be caught by Iga if they lose to JEF United and Iga win.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Hirai Sakina, Nakamura Kaede, Higashiyama Maiko, Yamamoto Arina, Kodama Keiko, Kawamura Yuri (capt), Saito Yuri, Yamazaki Marumi, Toyoda Nayuha, Kamionobe Megumi
Subs: Kitahara Kana (Toyoda Nayuha, 87 mins), Hori Yoshie (Saito Yuri, 87 mins), Otomo Maiko (Ichitani Tomoko, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Wakabayashi Minori, Nakamura Saki
Scorers: Kamionobe Megumi (15 mins), Yamazaki Marumi (86 mins)
AS Elfen Sayama FC:
Kobayashi Maiko, Yajima Yuki, Shibata Satomi, Takahashi Yuko, Kumagai Sayaka, Azami Rie, Uchida Saki, Kobayashi Natsumi, Saito Yuri, Muraoka Natsuki (capt), Watanabe Ayaka
Subs: Kiyohara Yuuko (Uchida Saki, 64 mins), Suzuki Kaoruko (Saito Yuri, 64 mins), Nara Misaki (Muraoka Natsuki, 80 mins)
Unused subs: Arima Shizuka, Sawada Yuka
Iga FC Kunoichi 1 - 1 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
Iga started this game with the same eleven which had thoroughly dismantled a disheartened Sayama side, while JEF United, two points behind but still with an eye on fifth place, brought in Anzai in place of Shimizu.
The game as expected turned out to be an even affair, Ogawa Shiho scoring her second of the season after 52 minutes. A deep free kick from the left side of the area was headed back into the danger area and after Iga had failed to clear properly, Hosoka took a clean strike from outside the area and Ogawa got the merest of touches as it sailed past Ono. Nine minutes later the Kunoichi were level, top scorer Kobayashi Makiko with a wonderful volley into the bottom corner. Like the first goal, the defence failed to deal well with clearing the ball.
And thus it ended 1-1, with Iga remaining in sixth place, and JEF United in seventh. Niigata's win means that even in JEF do beat them at home, they cannot now breach the top five. Iga are away to Takatsuki where the result means everything to the home side.
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: Haji Madoka (Matsunaga Yoshie, 82 mins), Sakaguchi Sakie (Tsutsumi Saki, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Matsunaga Tomoe, Noichi Aya
Scorers: Kobayashi Makiko (61 mins)
Booked: Tsutsumi Saki
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Sakuramoto Naoko, Takahashi Sachie, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawamura Mariko, Ikadai Risa, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Anzai Yuka, Fukasawa Risa (capt), Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Shimizu Yuka (Anzai Yuka, 66 mins), Kawamura Noriko (Ogawa Shiho, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Tezuka Saori, Yamamoto Naomi, Yonemoto Nao
Scorers: Ogawa Shiho (52 mins)
Booked: Kawamura Mariko, Yanai Rina