JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 2 - 1 Nippon TV Beleza
JEF United got the upper hand on neighbours Beleza to overtake their illustrious rivals in the table, with Beleza dropping to an unusually low seventh position entering the international break.
The home side dominated the first half and deservedly went in a goal to the good, with Ikadai Risa scoring a fine goal just before half-time, having herself dispossessed Hara Natsuko in midfield.
Sugasawa Yuika justified her selection to the national team's squad for the upcoming Asian Cup when she scored JEF United's second just after the hour mark. From inside her own half, following trademark JEF pressing and tackling, Setoguchi Kozue found Fukasawa Risa wide open on the left wing and her cross to the unmarked Sugasawa was perfectly weighted for the striker to knock home her fifth of the season.
Beleza attacked far more in the second half and did eventually pull a goal back with fifteen minutes remaining. Having kept possession on the right wing, Momiki Yuka found a chance to cross into Sakaguchi in the box and with Ueno Saki struggling to jump high enough, Sakaguchi had a relatively simple finish for her fourth goal of the season.
Despite sustained Beleza pressure, JEF United held on for another impressive win, and will expect more of the same when they take on AS Elfen Saitama on May 31st. Beleza are at home to leaders Urawa a day later.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Wakabayashi Minori, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Chino Shoko, Ueno Saki, Anzai Yuka, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Fukasawa Risa, Ikadai Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Hosaka Nodoka (Ikadai Risa, 64 mins), Kamogawa Miho (Anzai Yuka, 88 mins), Matsuura Nagisa (Sugasawa Yuika, 90+3 mins)
Unused subs: Miki Yoshimi, Koike Kokoro, Yasuda Saki, Hanagiri Naomi
Scorers: Ikadai Risa (43 mins), Sugasawa Yuika (61 mins)
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Kobayashi Miharu, Nakasato Yu, Ariyoshi Saori, Sumida Rin, Hara Natsuko, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Momiki Yuka, Shimada Chiaki
Subs: Hasegawa Yui (Nakasato Yu, 58 mins), Kobayashi Yayoi (Shimada Chiaki, 68 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Doko Mayo, Takahashi Saori, Kinoshita Shiori, Tanaka Mina
Scorers: Sakaguchi Mizuho (75 mins)
Vegalta Sendai Ladies 1 - 1 Iga FC Kunoichi
Vegalta Sendai were hoping to keep the pressure up on Urawa on the top with another win over Iga who have so far struggled this season, with last weekend's win over Iga their first thus far. Vegalta had more of the play throughout the game as Iga found keeping the ball in midfield difficult.
Vegalta took the lead in the 31st minute, Uetsuji scoring a fine goal direct from a free kick and the hosts were well worth their lead going into half time.
Iga managed to hold Vegalta to that single goal though, and the introduction of their two-goal heroine from last week, Sugita Ami, made a difference as they started holding the ball better in midfield. Although her teammates were unable to find her initially, their persistance paid off and she scored the equaliser with four minutes remaining. Fellow substitute Haji Madoka showed strength and persistance down the left and found Sugita free towards the edge of the area and she showed composure to sidefoot into the corner of the net.
Iga held on for the final few minutes and will be delighted to have come away with a point. Sugita will be the only Kunoichi to fly to Vietnam as part of the Japan squad for the Asian Cup. Playing for Australia will be Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Butt who will both join Iga for three months following the tournament. The management will be hoping that their qualities can lift the team out of the mire and at least into mid-table.
Iga play INAC Kobe on June 1st and will hope that they can disrupt the champions as other mid-ranking sides have; Vegalta Sendai travel to Tsuyama to face the resurgent Okayama Yunogo Belle, who are now level with them on thirteen points.
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Saita Yuki (capt), Yamamoto Risa, Osafune Kana, Takahashi Nana, Hamada Haruka, Kakazu Asuka, Kawamura Yuri, Uetsuji Yumi, Yasumoto Sawako, Takara Ryoko, Ono Hitomi
Subs: Inoue Ayaka (Takara Ryoko, 56 mins), Irie Miki (Ono Hitomi, 62 mins), Koyama Kie (Kakazu Asuka, 74 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Sasaki Mayu, Tahara Nozomi, Kawashima Haruna
Scorers: Uetsuji Yumi (31 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Sawada Norimi, Miyasako Tamami, Michikura Hiroko, Ohashi Mio, Yamaguchi Ayako, Nasu Maiko (capt), Noichi Aya, Kobayashi Makiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Matsunaga Yoshie, Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Sugita Ami (Matsunaga Yoshie, 57 mins), Haji Madoka (Kobayashi Makiko, 66 mins)
Unused subs: Kuno Fubuki, Sato Ai, Matsunaga Tomoe
Scorers: Sugita Ami (86 mins)
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies 1 - 3 Okayama Yunogo Belle
Belle scored three second-half goals to hand Urawa their first defeat and reduce their lead at the top of the table to two points.
Urawa took the lead just before half-time, Kato Chika with her fourth so far this season, finishing off a fine left-sided move.
Two goals during a five-minute spell beginning midway through the second half turned things around in Belle's favour. Nakano Manami equalised on 68 minutes, Matsuoka Miki heading on Fukumoto's clearance into Nakano's path and the ten-year veteran made no mistake. Belle took the lead on 73 minutes, Miyama Aya scoring a trademark goal from a direct free kick right on the edge of the area as Belle ramped up the pressure. Indeed the free kick came as a result of a handball in the Urawa wall from a free kick directly beforehand.
Miyama scored again in additional time with a fine sweeping shot into the top corner of the net away from the dive of Hirao Chika, who made her first Nadeshiko League appearance while on loan from the JFA Academy Fukushima.
Urawa face another tough opponent when the league restarts, with a short trip to face Beleza who themselves need to regain momentum. Belle are at home to Vegalta Sendai with whom they are level on points.
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Hirao Chika, Sakamoto Riho, Norimatsu Ruka, Kohata Shiho, Dozono Ayano, Shibata Hanae, Fujita Nozomi, Naomoto Hikaru, Kato Chika, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Seike Kiko (Kato Chika, 73 mins), Wada Naoko (Sakamoto Riho, 75 mins), Otaki Ami (Kira Chinatsu, 80 mins)
Unused subs: Tajiri Yumi, Saito Akane, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kurishima Akari
Scorers: Kato Chika (44 mins)
Booked: Fujita Nozomi
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: Nakano Manami (68 mins), Miyama Aya (73, 90+1 mins)
Booked: Fushiki Kaho
AS Elfen Saitama 1 - 4 Albirex Niigata Ladies
AS Elfen Saitama got off to a great start as they looked for another desperately needed win, with Azami Rie scoring her first goal of the season after a quarter of an hour.
Saitama held the until into the second half, when Niigata's attacking prowess was just too much for the home side to withstand. Three goals in six minutes won the game for Niigata, with Yamazaki Marumi, Kamionobe Megumi and Sakaguchi Moeno the scorers, with Kamionobe's goal one of three scored from direct free-kicks today.
Yamazaki scored again five minutes from time to take her season's total to five. Niigata are next at home to bottom side Kibi in the unfamiliar surroundings of Tokkamachi, with Saitama taking on JEF United. Both games are on May 31st.
AS Elfen Saitama:
Yamago Nozomi (capt), Takeda Arisa, Nara Misaki, Takahashi Yuko, Takahashi Kaho, Azami Rie, Ito Kanako, Uchida Saki, Saito Yuri, Sugiyama Takako, Nakano Rino
Subs: Yamazaki Sayuri (Saito Yuri, 63 mins), Hagiwara Aimi (Uchida Saki, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Saito Natsumi, Utsumi Yui, Takeyama Yuko, Segi Aiki
Scorers: Azami Rie (15 mins)
Booked: Uchida Saki
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Obara Yuria, Sayama Momoko, Kitahara Kana, Yamamoto Arina, Saito Yuri, Yamada Shoko, Yamazaki Marumi, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Sakaguchi Moeno, Hirai Sakina
Subs: Takahashi Haruka (Saito Yuri, HT), Oishi Sayaka (Yamada Shoko, 68 mins), Kodama Keiko (Hirai Sakina, 80 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae, Takamura Chisato, Saeki Aya
Scorers: Yamazaki Marumi (59, 85 mins), Kamionobe Megumi (63 mins), Sakaguchi Moeno (65 mins)
Booked: Yamazaki Marumi, Kodama Keiko
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme 0 - 5 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Kibi had another terrible day, and were overrun in every area of the field, with a severe lack of confidence not helping.
The home side produced almost nothing going forward, and no sooner than Kyokawa Mai had scored the opening goal, heading in from almost underneath the crossbar, than the result was decided.
INAC Kobe were 3-0 by half-time, with Ito Miki scoring her first goal at the top level, and Isokane Midori scoring her first in INAC colours against her old team. Takase Megumi scored the fourth in the 63rd minute and Kyokawa finished off the scoring with her second of the game five minutes later.
The only good news for Kibi was their home attendance of over 1,500 people, and they will have to hope that they can become more organised by the time the Exciting Series begins in September, as they are sure to be fighting relegation.
Both sides are away for their next matches, INAC travel to Iga, with Kibi making the long journey to Tokkamachi to face Niigata.
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Isashi Kaede, Eguchi Mika, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Muramatsu Mafuyu, Oka Misako, Takano Saki, Takatsuka Ayane, Yoshitake Manami, Hamamoto Marin, Komatsu Mina, Nishikawa Asuka
Subs: Miyake Ayumi (Oka Misako, HT), Kurakazu Shiho (Hamamoto Marin, HT), Noma Fumika (Komatsu Mina, 67 mins)
Unused subs: Morimoto Kiyo, Nakai Yuna, Tachibana Mami, Adachi Eriko
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Noguchi Ayaka, Kai Junko, Miyake Shiori, Isokane Midori, Nakajima Emi, Sawa Homare, Masuya Rika, Kyokawa Mai, Takase Megumi (capt), Ito Miki
Subs: Minamiyama Chiaki (Sawa Homare, 65 mins), Nakada Ayu (Ito Miki, 65 mins), Watanabe Ayaka (Kai Junko, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Yamada Maho, Tanaka Yoko
Scorers: Kyokawa Mai (8, 68 mins), Ito Miki (24 mins), Isokane Midori (42 mins), Takase Megumi (63 mins)
Booked: Kai Junko