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

Monday, 20 January 2014

22nd All-Japan Women's Inter-Collegiate Championships - Final

Final Match, played on Sunday 19th of January:

Match 23:
University of Tsukuba  1 - 2  Kibi International University (aet)
(Attendance: 3,007)

Having lost on penalties at the semi-final stage in the past two years, Kibi International University have finally achieved their dream in winning the Inter-Collegiate title, though it was a much tougher battle than they would have anticipated. Strong winds made it difficult for both sides, as Kibi looked in the first half to strike early and often. Tsukuba looked for openings on the break, and with two-goal heroine Yokoyama Ai suspended, Yamamori Anna on the right found some chances. Up against her was former classmate and teammate Yoshitake Manami and the two enjoyed taking each other on. With Kibi's tallest players either injured or ineligible, they had some difficulty winning balls in the air effectively, but it was precisely through this route that they scored the opening goal. From a corner kick taken by Takano Saki, defender Kamata Ran leapt to get ahead of her marker and her back header found the far side of the net.

Kibi were expected to push on for another goal in the second half but playing into the wind was troublesome and having failed to score again were punished when Tsukuba equalised, the goal again coming from a corner. Kibi 'keeper Isashi Kaede collided with her own player in trying to catch the ball and with the ball falling to the ground invitingly, Fujimoto Mao swung at the ball but didn't connect properly, inadvertently setting up Ito Shiori to strike the ball home through a wall of Kibi defenders.

The equaliser came in the 77th minute and with neither side able to score again, the game entered twenty minutes of extra time. If the scores were still level at the end of extra time, both sides would be declared the winners, but neither side really wanted to have to share the title. With a scrappy first half about to end, Kibi suddenly found themselves back in the lead. A loose ball came to Shigemasa Kai, and from the halfway line her perfect through-pass to Takano Saki saw the third year Fujieda Junshin graduate score with a first-time strike into the side of the net, with Sugahara culpable for not making more of an effort to cut out the pass when it passed in front of her.

Tsukuba were visibly tired in the final ten minutes, and never looked likely to find the equaliser. With time running out, Kibi were able to hold on to the lead and indeed looked to attack at every opportunity. There were jubliant scenes on the pitch, bench and in the stands at the final whistle as Kibi became the first university from outside the Kanto and Kansai regions to win the title.

University of Tsukuba:
Kunika Shouko, Sato Chihiro, Sugahara Haruka, Setoguchi Kozue, Arai Yurika, Ito Shiori, Yamamori Anna, Taira Remi, Otomo Akane (capt), Akiyama Misora, Tamakoshi Asahi
Subs: Sakihara Hitomi (Tamakoshi Asahi, HT), Fujimoto Mao (Arai Yurika, 67 mins), Saito Kanae (Ito Shiori, Start of ET)
Unused subs: Kawahara Fusako, Toyokawa Kie, Ashizawa Hiromi, Masumitsu Ayano
Scorers: Ito Shiori (77 mins)

Kibi International University:
Isashi Kaede, Kamata Ran, Takeda Arisa, Kadota Rui, Takano Saki, Shigemasa Kai, Yoshitake Manami, Sugita Ami (capt), Takatsuka Ayane, Hamamoto Marin, Kurakazu Shiho
Subs: Yoshida Mayu (Yoshitake Manami, 64 mins), Yamaguchi Saya (Hamamoto Marin, 78 mins), Tanaka Shiho (Takatsuka Ayane, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Morimoto Kiyo, Miyake Ayumi, Oka Misako, Yoshida Mayu
Scorers: Kamata Ran (34 mins), Takano Saki (100+1 mins)

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