Nippon TV Beleza 2 - 0 Vegalta Sendai Ladies
A good crowd turned out in Akita for the visit of Beleza and Vegalta, with both sides looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Beleza had the greater number of chances in the first half but it wasn't until the 64th minute when they took the lead. Momiki Yuka intercepted the ball as the Vegalta defenders failed to clear the ball near the left touchline and her low ball across the face of goal was not claimed by Vegalta goalkeeper Saita Ayaka, who hasn't looked entirely comfortable in any game this season. The ball broke for Sakaguchi, and she poked home for her second goal in three games.
Beleza had been pressing well until that point and scored again five minutes later to take all three points. This time it was Momiki who scored, with Ariyoshi supplying the final ball in a move almost identical to that which resulted in the first goal. Momiki scored five goals last season but is already up to three this year.
Beleza move back into second on seven points from a possible nine, with Vegalta dropping to fifth. They take on AS Elfen Saitama in Ishinomaki expecting a better result next weekend, while Beleza will also expect to win away to bottom side Iga FC Kunoichi.
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Takahashi Saori, Doko Mayo, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Ariyoshi Saori, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Sumida Rin, Nakasato Yu, Tanaka Mina, Momiki Yuka
Subs: Hasegawa Yui (Nakasato Yu, HT), Shimada Chiaki (Sumida Rin, 78 mins), Kobayashi Miharu (Momiki Yuka, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Kinoshita Shiori, Kobayashi Yayoi, Fukumaru Tomoko
Scorers: Sakaguchi Mizuho (65 mins), Momiki Yuka (69 mins)
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, 62 mins), Kakazu Asuka (Tahara Nozomi, 66 mins), Sakai Yuki (Ono Hitomi, 80 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Sasaki Mayu, Ideue Asako, Kawashima Haruna
INAC Kobe Leonessa 2 - 0 Albirex Niigata Ladies
INAC Kobe returned home to face a Niigata side yet to concede this season, and in no mood to allow the champions an easy return to winning ways.
In the opening exchanges there was a lot of hustle and bustle but little in the way of clear openings. Niigata were making good progress down the right wing as INAC's defence were slightly slow to react to danger. However it was INAC who took the lead from a corner kick, Masuya sticking out her right foot to guide a flick on from Miyake. Kyokawa had a chance moments later to double the lead but shot over, as Niigata's defence was stretched.
INAC Kobe, having taken the lead in a game for the first time this season, were much more relaxed than in their previous two matches, and started to play the ball around better in midfield. Niigata responded and in the 24th minute captain Kamionobe Megumi hit the crossbar with a fine shot. At the other end Noguchi Ayaka had a shot at goal in the 29th minute that was just tipped over by Ichitani for a corner kick.
For the rest of the half, Niigata had very little attacking play that was threatening and for INAC Kobe it was again noticeable that their younger players were the ones most enthusiastic about getting stuck in.
Neither side made a change at half-time and Niigata came out in a fighting mood, again looking to attack down the right. For all of their attacking intent, they showed little ability in finding shooting angles, and INAC withstood the pressure. At the other end Nakajima almost scored when Ichitani was hesitant in diving to save her rasping shot.
In the 62nd minute INAC felt more comfortable following Masuya's second goal. Again it was from a set play by Nakajima, her free kick knocked into the area and Masuya was allowed to head home far too easily, with little or no challenge from the Niigata defenders.
A few minutes later Niigata made their first change, Kodama making way for Sakaguchi. Still they made no impression on the INAC goal, as their defence was well organised and Niigata were unable to find a gap. For INAC Kobe Nakada Ayu came on for Watanabe Ayaka in the 74th minute.
Still Niigata tried to come forward with little effect, and the game petered out with a series of late substiutions. Oishi Sayaka was replaced by Belle veteran Takahashi Haruka in the 78th minute, with Kamionobe moving more forward for the closing stages, and forward Hirai Sakina replaced Yamazaki not long after. With under eight minutes remaining Tanaka Yoko was replaced by Ito Miki, making her third substitute appearance in three games.
Hirai made a good forward run with six minutes remaining but her wayward shot was typical of Niigata's finishing, and INAC had no trouble in holding on for their first points of the season. Niigata will be frustrated that they couldn't do more to at least worry the INAC defence, which hitherto has not been particularly impressive.
INAC Kobe face Belle next week, though the chances of a repeat of the 7-0 thrashing they handed out last season seem remote. Niigata are away to JEF United, another side which has had a variable start to the season.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Noguchi Ayaka, Kai Junko, Miyake Shiori, Watanabe Ayaka, Nakajima Emi, Masuya Rika, Sawa Homare, Kyokawa Mai, Takase Megumi (capt), Tanaka Yoko
Subs: Nakada Ayu (Watanabe Ayaka, 74 mins), Ito Miki (Tanaka Yoko, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Isokane Midori, Yamada Maho
Scorers: Masuya Rika (14, 62 mins)
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Takamura Chisato, Yamamoto Arina, Kitahara Kana, Obara Yuria, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saito Yuri, Saeki Aya, Yamazaki Marumi, Kodama Keiko, Oishi Sayaka
Subs: Sakaguchi Moeno (Kodama Keiko, 68 mins), Takahashi Haruka (Oishi Sayaka, 78 mins), Hirai Sakina (Yamazaki Marumi, 80 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae, Sayama Momoko, Yamada Shoko
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies 5 - 0 AS Elfen Saitama
Urawa continue to lead the way following an easy and comprehensive win over local rivals AS Elfen Saitama, who included former Urawa players Yamago Nozomi and Arakawa Eriko in their starting lineup. In front of a very good crowd of almost 3,500 Urawa swept away the opposition with five goals from four players. Kato Chika scored the first just on sixteen minutes as Otaki and Kurishima combined down the left. Otaki scored the second in the 35th minute, her first in league football in Japan, as she was found through the middle by Shibata.
Five minutes after the restart the same combination worked again for Urawa, and with their third they effectively ended the game. Seike Kiko, who was only called into the senior squad days before the league started, came on for Otaki in the 71st minute and she scored the fourth in another almost identical move down the middle, with Saitama simply unable to hold the ball in midfield.
A fifth in stoppage time for another substitute, Saito Akane, was a fine reward for the hard work of the team and their management as they maintain their 100% record.
Next weekend Urawa are again at home and will expect a similar result against FC Kibi, who are yet to register a point and who do not have as strong a team as that which twice beat Urawa last season. Saitama travel to Ishinomaki on Miyagi's coast hoping for a better performance.
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Dozono Ayano, Norimatsu Ruka, Kohata Shiho (capt), Usui Rie, Kurishima Akari, Fujita Nozomi, Naomoto Hikaru, Kato Chika, Shibata Hanae, Otaki Ami
Subs: Saito Akane (Kurishima Akari, 58 mins), Seike Kiko (Otaki Ami, 71 mins), Kishikawa Natsuki (Kato Chika, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Hirao Chika, Sakamoto Riho, Tomari Shiho, Wada Naoko
Scorers: Kato Chika (16 mins), Otaki Ami (35, 50 mins), Seike Kiko (76 mins), Saito Akane (90+2 mins)
AS Elfen Saitama:
Yamago Nozomi (capt), Azami Rie, Takeda Arisa, Saito Natsumi, Nara Misaki, Hagiwara Aimi, Ito Kanako, Nakano Rino, Saito Yuri, Arakawa Eriko, Suzuki Kaoruko
Subs: Sugiyama Takako (Suzuki Kaoruko, 42 mins), Akitaya Misato (Hagiwara Aimi, 71 mins), Yamazaki Sayuri (Nakano Rino, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Takeyama Yuko, Takahashi Yuko, Segi Aiki
Booked: Sugiyama Takako
Okayama Yunogo Belle 2 - 1 Iga FC Kunoichi
Last season's meeting in Iga between these sides saw a dramatic finish as Sonomura scored in the final seconds to give Iga the win, but today it was Belle who took all three points with a late twist.
Matsuoka Miki has had a fine start to the season, and scored in her third successive game to give Belle the lead. From a corner kick taken as always by Miyama Aya, a scramble developed in the box and Matsuoka did enough to get the ball over the line for the opening goal.
Iga fought back and had more of the chances, eventually equalising in the 74th minute through Miyasako Tamami, who scored her first ever league goal in her 87th appearance. She combined with Kobayashi Makiko down the right wing and crossed the ball into the box only to see her cross end up in the back of the net to the understandable delight of all Kunoichi.
Just when it seemed that Miyasako's goal - the first her team have scored this year - would be enough to secure a point for Iga and with Sugita having crashed a fine shot against the crossbar, Belle went back in front for good. Ariyoshi Saori burst into the box and tried to round Kuno but was pulled down and up stepped set-play specialist Miyama to win the game.
Iga stay bottom and next face another significant challenge in the form of Beleza. Belle are at home to INAC Kobe in Okayama City, where a repeat of last year's 7-0 annihilation seems remote.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Kado Yuka, Hosokawa Motoyo, Fushiki Kaho, Mizushima Kumi, Kuzuma Riyo, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Asano Miki, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Unused subs: Hayashizaki Mei, Taniguchi Kikumi, Kawano Saki, Kitaura Miho, Nakada Maiko, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Matsuoka Miki (24 mins), Miyama Aya (90+1 mins, pen)
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Miyasako Tamami, Michikura Hiroko, Ohashi Mio, Yamaguchi Ayako, Nasu Maiko (capt), Matsunaga Tomoe, Kobayashi Makiko, Sugita Ami, Matsunaga Yoshie, Haji Madoka
Subs: Ogawa Shiho (Matsunaga Yoshie, HT), Noichi Aya (Matsunaga Tomoe, 69 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Sato Ai, Tsutsumi Saki
Scorers: Miyasako Tamami (74 mins)
Booked: Miyasako Tamami, Nasu Maiko, Kuno Fubuki
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme 1 - 2 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
Struggling FC Kibi got off to a great start in very poor weather conditions against JEF United when Noma Fumika scored after just six minutes, with Hamamoto Marin at the centre of the action. Her initial shot came back of the post and when her second shot was parried by JEF goalkeeper Yamane Erina, Noma was on hand to score.
As in previous games however, Kibi were overrun in midfield and simply didn't create enough chances, allowing JEF to get back into the game and two goals in two minutes in the final twenty minutes won them the game. Anzai Yuka put in a cross from the right and with the ball flying over the heads of all defenders Hosaka Nodoka was there to slide in to equalise.
Worse was to come for Kibi, as just as in last year's meeting between these sides, JEF United came from a goal down to win 2-1. The visitors burst forward and were awarded a dubious penalty when Takahashi Chiho was judged to have clipped Fukusawa, and JEF's top scorer in 2013 scored herself from the spot.
Kibi worked hard to get back into the game but JEF held firm and for the second week take three points from an Okayama team. They next host Niigata with both sides evenly matched. Kibi have a daunting away trip to Urawa.
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Isashi Kaede, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Eguchi Mika, Yoshitake Manami, Takano Saki, Takatsuka Ayane, Oka Misako, Noma Fumika, Hamamoto Marin, Nishikawa Asuka
Subs: Kanbara Misaki (Hamamoto Marin, 73 mins), Kurakazu Shiho (Oka Misako, 78 mins), Adachi Eriko (Yoshitake Manami, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Tajima Mitsuyo, Tachibana Mami, Nakai Yuna, Morimoto Kiyo
Scorers: Noma Fumika (6 mins)
Booked: Takahashi Chiho, Nishikawa Asuka
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Ueno Saki, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Wakabayashi Minori, Chino Shoko, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Anzai Yuka, Ikadai Risa, Fukasawa Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Hosaka Nodoka (Ikadai Risa, HT), Kamogawa Miho (Anzai Yuka, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Tsurumi Ayaka, Matsuura Nagisa, Shimada Ayako
Scorers: Hosaka Nodoka (70 mins), Fukasawa Risa (72 mins, pen)