Nippon TV Beleza 0 - 0 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
Six consecutive wins had moved Beleza into within striking distance of the two league leaders, though they were stopped in their tracks today by JEF United in Hitachinaka. Neither side made any changes, and it was again Beleza's younger players who stood out, especially Tanaka Mina who had the majority of chances, though her disappointing season continued.
JEF United will probably be the happier of the two teams to pick up a point, though by Sunday evening they had dropped into the relegation section on goal difference. They have another relatively short trip to Kumagaya to take on Saitama, whom they beat earlier in the season. Beleza also play in Saitama, a day earlier on Saturday, when they face Urawa in a game they must win if they are to finish top after eighteen games.
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Shimizu Risa, Kinoshita Shiori, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Ariyoshi Saori, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Sumida Rin, Momiki Yuka, Nakasato Yu, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Nakasato Yu, 63 mins), Yamaguchi Mami (Momiki Yuka, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Doko Mayo, Kobayashi Miharu, Takahashi Saori, Shimada Chiaki
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Wakabayashi Minori, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Chino Shoko, Ueno Saki, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Hosaka Nodoka, Fukasawa Risa, Ikadai Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Anzai Yuka (Setoguchi Kozue, 32 mins), Kamogawa Miho (Ikadai Risa, 79 mins), Oya Madoka (Ueno Saki, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Tsurumi Ayaka, Yasuda Saki, Matsuura Nagisa
Booked: Chino Shoko
Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 4 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Having been comprehensively beaten by Beleza last weekend, Belle could not afford another slip to Urawa and got off to an ideal start when Asano Miki scored her third of the season in just the fourth minute, finishing calmly past Hirao after Matsuoka found her in space with a fine pass. With seven minutes gone the scores were level when Goto Michi's corner was turned into her own net by Nakano Manami.
In the second half Urawa dominated the play and it was again their superb newcomer Seike Kiko who scored the goals which won the game. After 56 minutes she scored from in front of goal when Goto's header fell invitingly for her. With four minutes remaining Seike scored again, from a header this time, with the ball coming, as with her previous goal, from a left-sided cross. Urawa scored another in additional time as Belle recorded another heavy defeat, Saito Akane with her second of the season from off the bench.
Urawa go three points clear at the top, though have a difficult final four games, beginning with a home tie against Beleza on Saturday. Belle make the long journey north to face Vegalta Sendai desperate to recover their form.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Hosokawa Motoyo, Kitaura Miho, Mizushima Kumi, Takahashi Sachie, Kuzuma Riyo, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Asano Miki, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Unused subs: Taniguchi Kikumi, Kawano Saki, Fushiki Kaho, Nakada Maiko, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Asano Miki (4 mins)
Booked: Miyama Aya
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Hirao Chika, Dozono Ayano, Norimatsu Ruka, Kohata Shiho, Wada Naoko, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kato Chika, Seike Kiko, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Ishii Saki (Kato Chika, 77 mins), Usui Rie (Wada Naoko, 83 mins), Saito Akane (Seike Kiko, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Tajiri Yumi, Nagano Fuka, Kira Chinatsu, Otaki Ami
Scorers: Own Goal (7 mins), Seike Kiko (56, 86 mins), Saito Akane (90+2 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi 0 - 1 Vegalta Sendai Ladies
Vegalta Sendai's away win against Iga meant their escape into the top six, while at the same time condemning Iga to contest the relegation section in the Exciting Series. Vegalta's recent bad run of just two draws from six games began with a home draw against Iga, but their recent run of three wins against the bottom three will give them impetus to finish the season well.
Goal chances were of extremely low supply in the first half, but six minutes into the second Hamada Haruka, playing up front in an unusual position, scored the goal that always looked likely to be enough to win the game. Two of Vegalta's best players this season, Kawamura Yuri and Takara Ryoko combined well at the edge of the box, with the latter bursting into the area with intent, and Hamada had little to do but turn her low cross home.
Vegalta take on Belle at home on Saturday hoping to inflict more damage on their visitors' fragile back line, while Iga have a very difficult game against INAC Kobe.
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Miyasako Tamami, Michikura Hiroko, Ohashi Mio, Elise Kellond-Knight, Nasu Maiko (capt), Matsunaga Tomoe, Kobayashi Makiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Matsunaga Yoshie, Haji Madoka
Subs: Sugita Ami (Matsunaga Yoshie, 55 mins), Ogawa Shiho (Haji Madoka, 65 mins), Tameka Butt (Tsutsumi Saki, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Sato Ai, Kiyohara Marie, Sonomura Nana
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Saito Ayaka, Sakai Yuki, Yamamoto Risa, Osafune Kana, Sasaki Mayu, Inoue Ayaka, Kawamura Yuri, Uetsuji Yumi (capt), Kakazu Asuka, Takara Ryoko, Hamada Haruka
Subs: Tahara Nozomi (Inoue Ayaka, 86 mins), Irie Miki (Takara Ryoko, 90 mins), Ideue Asako (Kakazu Asuka, 90+4 mins)
Unused subs: Saita Yuki, Takahashi Nana
Scorers: Hamada Haruka (51 mins)
INAC Kobe Leonessa 6 - 0 FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme
With Kibi already destined to compete in the lower section in the Exciting Series, manager Ota Shinji decided to put Takahashi Chiho up front alongside Adachi Eriko and to put Muramatsu Mafuyu into the centre of defence. Another notable change was a first starting appearance for Fujita Suzuka in goal. INAC Kobe started with Kibi gradute Isokane Midori in midfield and with three at the back: Miyake, Kai and Polkinghorne. Noguchi started on the right side of midfield.
Takase scored INAC's first goal after just five minutes, when Noguchi crossed from the right and the league's top scorer did very well to head home out of Fujita's reach. Takahashi Chiho had a good chance to equalise at the other end not long after, but couldn't quite jump high enough.
Kibi stayed positive and Adachi Eriko beat the offside trap after sixteen minutes but seemed to panic and rush her shot which went badly wide. INAC responded and in the twentieth minute Isokane shot powerfully and the ball rebounded down just outside the goal before eventually being cleared.
Minamiyama did well to make a chance for herself off a pass from Takase and when both Muramatsu and Noma attempted to tackle her, they both did so poorly and a penalty was awarded, which Takase scored to make it 2-0 after twenty-seven minutes.
Kibi played much better in the first half of this game than they have done recently, and Fujita made a good impression in goal. INAC Kobe were taking things quite easy and were happy enough to be leading by two goals, especially as Kibi have never scored against them and the chances of a goal were slim.
Nagano and Tajima came in for Kurakazu and Adachi as Kibi looked to keep their shape. The two players taken off weren't at their best and the two younger players made a good start to the second half. Nishikawa had a good chance but shot wide and it was INAC who scored the next goal, Minamiyama again combining with Takase in the box though Kibi will feel they could have defended better. Takase got free of the defence far too easily a few minutes later and shot against the post. Takase's former teammate in school, Nishikawa Asuka, shot from well out but the ball rebounded back into play off the crossbar with Kaihori beaten.
Kyokawa Mai came into the game on 63 minutes, replacing two-goal heroine Takase Megumi and seconds later INAC Kobe had their fourth goal, Nishikawa Asuka inadvertently heading the ball into her own net.
With fourteen minutes remaining Tachibana Mami came on for Yoshitake Manami as Kibi made their last change. INAC Kobe made another change shortly afterwards, Minamiyama coming off for Ito Miki. Ito scored a goal not long after coming on, Noguchi passing it back for her to shoot home from the right side of the box.
Tajima recovered a poor INAC pass to run clear but was well tackled and though she got the ball back to Nishikawa, she shot wildly over as Kibi's last chance for a first-ever goal against INAC Kobe was missed.
Kyokawa showed persistance in following up to score a sixth from close range in additional time. INAC Kobe's goal difference was improved significantly by this result and they move above the three sides who are also on twenty-three points. Kibi's young players will be disappointed to have lost by so many given how much improvement they showed but they can improve further given more opportunities to play at theis level.
INAC Kobe are at home again next weekend to Iga FC Kunoichi; Kibi are also at home, hosting Niigata.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Clare Polkinghorne, Kai Junko, Miyake Shiori, Noguchi Ayaka, Sawa Homare, Isokane Midori, Watanabe Ayaka, Nakajima Emi, Takase Megumi (capt), Minamiyama Chiaki
Subs: Kyokawa Mai (Takase Megumi, 64 mins), Ito Miki (Minamiyama Chiaki, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Nakada Ayu, Masuya Rika
Scorers: Takase Megumi (5, 27 mins (pen)), Minamiyama Chiaki (51 mins), Own Goal (64 mins), Ito Miki (80 mins), Kyokawa Mai (90+2 mins)
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Fujita Suzuka, Eguchi Mika, Kadota Rui, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Noma Fumika, Kurakazu Shiho, Yoshitake Manami, Oka Misako, Nishikawa Asuka, Adachi Eriko, Takahashi Chiho (capt)
Subs: Tajima Mitsuyo (Adachi Eriko, HT), Nagano Momoko (Kurakazu Shiho, HT), Tachibana Mami (Yoshitake Manami, 76 mins)
Unused subs: Isashi Kaede, Miyake Ayumi, Nakai Yuna, Kanamori Ayaka
Albirex Niigata Ladies 1 - 2 AS Elfen Saitama
Having beaten Urawa away from home, Niigata will have felt they had enough to see off Saitama but it was not to be as the visiting side, guaranteed to compete in the lower section, came away with their third win of the season, their other two having both come against Kibi.
Saitama went in at half-time a goal up, Azami Rie with her fifth of another fine season. From a right-sided free kick which was not cleared, Nara Misaki had a shot at goal which was not well-struck but Azami was quickest to react to the situation and fired home well past Ichitani.
Niigata equalised after 64 minutes, Oishi Sayaka with a penalty after a foul in the area. Though expected to then push on to win, Niigata fell behind again five minutes later, Ito's corner volleyed home by Takahashi, who had just come on before the penalty kick had been taken and for whom this was her first ever league goal in her first season.
Niigata travel to Tsuyama to play Kibi, whom they beat by seven goals earlier in the season, and they cannot to slip up against the league's bottom side. Saitama play JEF United at home in Kumagaya.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Obara Yuria, Kitahara Kana, Yamamoto Arina, Takamura Chisato, Takahashi Haruka, Saito Yuri, Sakaguchi Moeno, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Kodama Keiko, Oishi Sayaka
Subs: Sayama Momoko (Kodama Keiko, 63 mins), Kubota Mayu (Oishi Sayaka, 76 mins), Kojima Miku (Takamura Chisato, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Koganemaru Sachie, Okakura Mika, Shimokawa Saori, Yamada Shoko
Scorers: Oishi Sayaka (64 mins, pen)
AS Elfen Saitama:
Yamago Nozomi (capt), Akitaya Misato, Saito Natsumi, Takahashi Yuko, Takeyama Yuko, Hagiwara Aimi, Ito Kanako, Nara Misaki, Azami Rie, Arakawa Eriko, Suzuki Kaoruko
Subs: Takahashi Kaho (Suzuki Kaoruko, 63 mins), Saito Yuri (Nara Misaki, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Takeda Arisa, Sugiyama Takako
Scorers: Azami Rie (25 mins), Takahashi Kaho (69 mins)
Booked: Suzuki Kaoruko, Akitaya Misato