JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 4 - 2 Okayama Yunogo Belle
JEF United struggled to score many goals in 2013, and in no match did they score more than twice. Following their very poor performance away to Vegalta Sendai, it seemed highly likely that they would struggle in their first home game against Okayama Yunogo Belle. Belle have had serious problems with personnel this year and their narrow win over Kibi did little to dispel worries about their ability to achieve another top three finish. Belle made no changes to their starting eleven, as way their custom in 2013. JEF United made one change, with captain Sakuramoto coming in for Koike Kokoro.
JEF United took the lead within three minutes, Sugasawa Yuika with the goal after poor defending and by the 34th minute she had scored twice more to put JEF four goals to the good, with Sakuramoto heading in the second goal from a corner kick.
Belle finally got themselves organised in the second half and pulled back two goals in the last seven minutes, Nakano Manami and Matsuoka Miki the scorers, but it was much too late and manager Taneda Kaori has a lot of work to do if her side is to keep up with the opposition. They next take on the struggling Iga at home. JEF United also play in Okayama at the same time, against FC Kibikokusaidaku Charme.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Wakabayashi Minori, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Chino Shoko, Ueno Saki, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Anzai Yuka, Ikadai Risa, Fukasawa Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Hosaka Nodoka (Anzai Yuka, 66 mins), Matsuura Nagisa (Ikadai Risa, 79 mins), Tsurumi Ayaka (Ueno Saki, 90+3 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Koike Kokoro, Hanagiri Naomi, Shimada Ayako
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (3, 24, 34 mins), Sakuramoto Naoko (20 mins)
Booked: Matsuura Nagisa
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Kado Yuka, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawano Saki, Mizushima Kumi, Kuzuma Riyo, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Asano Miki, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Fushiki Kaho (Kawano Saki, 36 mins), Kitaura Miho (Kuzuma Riyo, 65 mins)
Unused subs: Hayashizaki Mei, Taniguchi Kikumi, Nakada Maiko
Scorers: Nakano Manami (83 mins), Matsuoka Miki (87 mins)
Vegalta Sendai Ladies 1 - 0 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Vegalta Sendai were deserved winners over INAC Kobe Leonessa, who were extremely poor and some of their players'performances were far below their standard of the last few seasons. Their younger forward players such as Kyokawa Mai, Masuya Rika and substitute Ito Miki showed real determination and should be commended for their efforts.
Masuya had come in for Minamiyama Chiaki, injured in the dramatic loss to Urawa; Vegalta for their part made no changes to their starting eleven from their opening day victory over JEF United.
The first half was largely free of incident, with neither side creating any clear chances, but in the second half Vegalta came out with greater determination and started putting more sustained pressure on Kaihori's goal.
Sendai had some excellent chances to score which were wasted, the most frustrating of which fell to Tahara Nozomi. With the ball played across the INAC goal, it seemed all she had to do was hit it first time to score, but a lack of confidence resulted in her taking too much time and the defence got back to deflect the ball out for a corner. Sendai had earlier been denied what they felt was a clear penalty, when former INAC player Takara Ryoko was felled in the area.
It seemed likely that the home side would have to settle for a draw, which they probably would have taken prior to the start of the season, but Inoue Ayaka, who had come on as a substitute in the 77th minute, produced a fine run through the middle and her pass to Ono ahead of her was perfect for the local heroine who steered the ball into the corner past the despairing Kaihori.
INAC Kobe, and in particular their captain Takase Megumi, finally woke up with the concession of this goal but it was far too late and their onslaught on the Vegalta goal was repelled by the determined and organised home defence.
INAC Kobe have thus lost two consecutive games for the first time since 2010, when they lost four in a row early in the season. Their second loss in that run was to Vegalta's former incarnation TEPCO Mareeze, a side that contained several of Vegalta's current players. Their third loss in that run was to Beleza, and it is perhaps fortunate that they do not meet their great rivals next weekend. Instead, the team will feel that they can recover well against Niigata, but won't take anything for granted. Vegalta Sendai travel north to Akita to face Beleza where a win would take them five points clear of the great Tokyo side.
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Saita Yuki (capt), Yamamoto Risa, Osafune Kana, Takahashi Nana, Hamada Haruka, Tahara Nozomi, Kawamura Yuri, Uetsuji Yumi, Yasumoto Sawako, Takara Ryoko, Ono Hitomi
Subs: Inoue Ayaka (Takara Ryoko, 77 mins), Kakazu Asuka (Tahara Nozomi, 83 mins), Sakai Yuki (Ono Hitomi, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Sasaki Mayu, Ideue Asako, Kawashima Haruna
Scorers: Ono Hitomi (88 mins)
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Noguchi Ayaka, Kai Junko, Miyake Shiori, Watanabe Ayaka, Sawa Homare, Nakajima Emi, Masuya Rika, Tanaka Yoko, Kyokawa Mai, Takase Megumi (capt)
Subs: Ito Miki (Tanaka Yoko, 64 mins), Isokane Midori (Nakajima Emi, 71 mins), Nakada Ayu (Masuya Rika, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Yamada Maho
Albirex Niigata Ladies 0 - 0 Nippon TV Beleza
Both sides came into this game having won their opening game, Beleza expectedly against Saitama, Niigata less so against Iga. Sakaguchi Moeno replaced Kodama Keiko for the home side, the visitors had replaced young goalkeeper Yamashita Ayaka with the more experienced Soyama Kanako.
Beleza had the better of the first half, with Niigata restricted to just one shot at goal, though in the second half they had far more of the ball though neither they nor Beleza could find an opening.
The result means both sides have four points, which will please Niigata far more than Beleza. Niigata travel to Kobe to face an INAC side desperate to win and get back on track. Beleza will welcome back Hasegawa Yui from the World Cup in Costa Rica for their next home game against Vegalta Sendai in Akita, northern Tohoku.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Takamura Chisato, Yamamoto Arina, Kitahara Kana, Obara Yuria, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saito Yuri, Saeki Aya, Yamazaki Marumi, Sakaguchi Moeno, Hirai Sakina
Subs: Oishi Sayaka (Hirai Sakina, 59 mins), Yamada Shoko (Sakaguchi Moeno, 82 mins), Kodama Keiko (Saeki Aya, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae, Sayama Momoko, Takahashi Haruka, Shimokawa Saori
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Takahashi Saori, Doko Mayo, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Ariyoshi Saori, Hara Natsuko, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Sumida Rin, Nakasato Yu, Tanaka Mina, Momiki Yuka
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Nakasato Yu, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Kobayashi Miharu, Fukumaru Tomoko, Shimada Chiaki
AS Elfen Saitama 4 - 1 FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme
In 2012 Kibi beat AS Elfen Sayama twice in a playoff series to condemn the Saitama side to the Challenge League, and today their renamed side had full revenge in windy conditions. In the first half Kibi had very little of the ball and with the wind in their faces their passing style was hampered by the poor pitch.
Saitama dominated but wayward shooting led to growing frustration but Kibi's defence couldn't hold out forever and eventually Ito Kanako used her skill to make an opening for herself and her 40th minute goal changed the game, as Kibi would now have to attack in the second half.
Although Kibi did attack more in the second half, with Nishikawa and Hamamoto breaking clear on occasion, but it was to be Saitama's day and Ito scored again on 53 minutes, with Arakawa adding a trademark header eleven minutes later. Kanbara Misaki and Noma Fumika came on for Kibi as they looked to change tactics to all-out attack. Three minutes later Hamamoto scored her first of the season to give the visitors some hope but Saitama held firm and in additional time Sugiyama Takako added a fourth.
Kibi host JEF United in their opening home game next Sunday, with Saitama away to Urawa in the first Saitama derby of the season.
AS Elfen Saitama:
Yamago Nozomi (capt), Azami Rie, Takeda Arisa, Saito Natsumi, Nara Misaki, Ito Kanako, Hagiwara Aimi, Nakano Rino, Sugiyama Takako, Arakawa Eriko, Saito Yuri
Subs: Uchida Saki (Saito Yuri, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Takeyama Yuko, Akitaya Misato, Takahashi Yuko, Yamazaki Sayuri, Suzuki Kaoruko
Scorers: Ito Kanako (40, 53 mins), Arakawa Eriko (64 mins), Sugiyama Takako (90+3 mins)
Booked: Yamago Nozomi
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Morimoto Kiyo, Nakai Yuna, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Eguchi Mika, Yoshitake Manami, Takano Saki, Takatsuka Ayane, Miyake Ayumi, Hamamoto Marin, Kurakazu Shiho, Nishikawa Asuka
Subs: Kanbara Misaki (Miyake Ayumi, 72 mins), Noma Fumika (Kurakazu Shiho, 72 mins), Adachi Eriko (Takatsuka Ayane, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Isashi Kaede, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Tachibana Mami, Tajima Mitsuyo
Scorers: Hamamoto Marin (75 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi 0 - 3 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Urawa's fine start to the season continued in Iga today, as Iga again capitulated badly at home, with Noichi Aya and Sugita Ami coming into the Kunoichi side, and although Sugita made an impression, there was no stopping Urawa.
The visitors took the lead in the 42nd minute, Kira Chinatsu with her first of the season, heading in Fujita's corner. Naomoto Hikaru scored her third goal of the season, and indeed her career, from the spot in the 68th minute and six minutes later Kohata Shiho headed in another goal from a Fujita corner to end the game as a contest. There was one last dramatic twist, as Urawa captain Goto Michi found herself sent off for picking up two bookings for rough play.
Urawa take on Saitama at home in a local derby, while Iga are away to Belle with both sides needing a win to get back on track.
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Miyasako Tamami, Michikura Hiroko, Ohashi Mio, Sato Ai, Nasu Maiko (capt), Noichi Aya, Kobayashi Makiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Sugita Ami, Haji Madoka
Subs: Ogawa Shiho (Tsutsumi Saki, 58 mins), Sakumoto Fumika (Sato Ai, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Yamaguchi Ayako, Okamoto Rina, Matsunaga Tomoe, Matsunaga Yoshie
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Sakamoto Riho, Norimatsu Ruka, Kohata Shiho, Dozono Ayano, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Fujita Nozomi, Kato Chika, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Kishikawa Natsuki (Kato Chika, 77 mins), Otaki Ami (Kira Chinatsu, 84 mins), Saito Akane (Shibata Hanae, 88 mins)
Unused subs: Hirao Chika, Usui Rie, Kurishima Akari, Seike Kiko
Scorers: Kira Chinatsu (42 mins), Naomoto Hikaru (68 mins, pen), Kohata Shiho (74 mins)
Sent off: Goto Michi