JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 1 - 0 INAC Kobe Leonessa
JEF United had come within seven minutes of beating INAC Kobe back in April, but on this occasion they were not to be denied and at the end of the weekend they sit in fifth.
Mikami Shoko brought in Setoguchi Kozue in place of Anzai Yuka for the home side, with INAC Kobe unchanged from the side which lost to Belle.
JEF United looked to get the ball out wide to create openings, with INAC going for a far more direct approach, looking to find Takase with long balls at every possible opportunity. In the opening exchanges there were few good chances though Ikadai did hit the crossbar from a free kick on eleven minutes. In the twentieth minute INAC had their best chance when Yamane Erina in the JEF goal advanced to meet Takase Megumi, but went to ground to early, only to be saved by a fine tackle by Ueno Saki. In the 36th minute Takase had another chance to shoot from a similar right-sided position but put the ball well wide. At the other end JEF were busy but didn't create clear openings to shoot on goal, Kawamura having the best chance after 39 minutes, though she shot well over after good build up play.
Five minutes after the restart Takase shot against the post and then shot just wide as INAC's pressure began to build, though Takase seemed to be their only attacking option. JEF United took the lead when they again attacked down the wing, on this occasion down the right through half-time substitute Anzai Yuka, who beat Watanabe to the goal line to get the ball into Sugasawa in the middle. Though her initial effort was blocking by the sliding Isokane, JEF's top scorer was not to be denied and she quickly followed up to score her tenth goal of the season.
Neither side made much of an impression thereafter, with the kind of attacking prowess seen from INAC Kobe in recent years noticeably lacking. JEF United stuck to their plan of spreading the play down the wings but were happy enough with a goal lead and didn't rashly look for another goal. In the end Kobe simply didn't have enough to overcome the JEF defence and have fallen to their fifth defeat of the season to leave them sixth, outside of the relegation zone only on goal difference. JEF United stay two points clear of danger with this result.
INAC Kobe will surely get back to winning ways this weekend at home to bottom side Kibi; JEF United travel north into Ibaraki to face Beleza, whom they beat in May.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Wakabayashi Minori, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Chino Shoko, Ueno Saki, Hosaka Nodoka, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Fukasawa Risa, Ikadai Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Anzai Yuka (Hosaka Nodoka, HT), Kamogawa Miho (Ikadai Risa, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Tsurumi Ayaka, Oya Madoka, Matsuura Nagisa, Hanagiri Naomi
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (56 mins)
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Miyake Shiori, Isokane Midori, Clare Polkinghorne, Watanabe Ayaka, Minamiyama Chiaki, Sawa Homare, Masuya Rika, Nakajima Emi, Takase Megumi (capt), Tanaka Yoko
Subs: Kyokawa Mai (Tanaka Yoko, HT), Ito Miki (Masuya Rika, 64 mins), Noguchi Ayaka (Watanabe Ayaka, 73 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Kai Junko
Vegalta Sendai Ladies 8 - 0 FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme
On a very wet and miserable day, the visiting Kibi had simply no answer to the marauding Vegalta Sendai for whom this eight-goal victory has given their hopes - and goal difference - a huge boost in the run-in. Kibi will now certainly contest the relegation series in the Exciting Series, and while Vegalta are still in the bottom four, they have given themselves a good chance of making the top six. Vegalta had a disappointing mid-season run but have now picked up full points from two games against the bottom two and next visit Iga, where they will be hopeful of another three points.
In the game itself, Kibi started well in the first twenty minutes as usual, but faltered badly as the game went on. Neither the defence nor the midfield is strong enough to hold the ball and the passing was very poor. Koyama Kie and Osafune Kane both scored a brace in the first half as it was clear by half-time that Vegalta would win by a considerable margin.
In the second half the goals flowed, as Kibi's defence seemed to almost stop trying at times. Goals came from Kakazu Asuka, Inoue Ayaka, Kawamura Yuri and Hamada Haruka. Osafune, Kakazu and Inoue all scored for the first time this season.
One moment of note for Kibi was the appearance as a substitute of Kanamori Ayaka, a fourth year student for whom this was the first league appearance, a reward for all of the hard work she has done behind the scenes. Kibi next play INAC Kobe and are unlikely to return home with anything but a heavy loss.
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Saito Ayaka, Sakai Yuki, Yamamoto Risa, Osafune Kana, Sasaki Mayu, Inoue Ayaka, Kawamura Yuri, Uetsuji Yumi (capt), Kakazu Asuka, Takara Ryoko, Koyama Kie
Subs: Hamada Haruka (Koyama Kie, HT), Kawashima Haruna (Kakazu Asuka, 70 mins), Irie Miki (Takara Ryoko, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Saita Yuki, Takahashi Nana, Ideue Asako, Sasaki Miwa
Scorers: Koyama Kie (21, 33 mins), Osafune Kana (38, 41 mins), Kakazu Asuka (47 mins), Inoue Ayaka (59 mins), Kawamura Yuri (76 mins), Hamada Haruka (78 mins)
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Isashi Kaede, Noma Fumika, Kadota Rui, Takahashi Chiho (capt), Nagano Momoko, Kurakazu Shiho, Takano Saki, Yoshitake Manami, Komatsu Mina, Nishikawa Asuka, Hamamoto Marin
Subs: Takatsuka Ayane (Komatsu Mina, HT), Muramatsu Mafuyu (Yoshitake Manami, 76 mins), Kanamori Ayaka (Hamamoto Marin, 76 mins)
Unused subs: Fujita Suzuka, Nakai Yuna, Kanbara Misaki, Adachi Eriko
Okayama Yunogo Belle 0 - 4 Nippon TV Beleza
A hugely damaging loss for Belle in Shimane today, with the resurgent Beleza - six wins in a row for the Tokyo side - now just three points behind the two leaders. Only Belle made a change to their starting lineup, Hosokawa Motoyo coming in for Mizushima, who dropped to the bench.
Beleza took the lead seconds before the first half ended, Sakaguchi Mizuho once again unstoppable in the air as she headed in her seventh goal of the season from Momiki's left-sided free kick.
Belle were not at their attacking best, and it was Beleza who had more of the scoring chances, and in the second half they dominated play. On 66 minutes Sumida Rin doubled Beleza's lead, as Belle failed to clear a Beleza corner. The ball came to Sumida on the left from a failed interception and she skillfully curled the ball into the top corner away from the reach of Fukumoto.
Two late penalties added gloss to the scoreline, the first from Kobayashi Yayoi and the second from Yamaguchi Mami, only minutes into her first appearance since returning to the club. To add to Belle's woes, Kado Yuka was sent off for Belle, as it was she who committed both fouls.
Belle welcome leaders Urawa next week, a match which neither side dare lose. Beleza play near neighbours JEF United in Ibaraki.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Kado Yuka, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kitaura Miho, Takahashi Sachie, Kuzuma Riyo, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Asano Miki, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Mizushima Kumi (Kitaura Miho, 52 mins), Fushiki Kaho (Asano Miki, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Hayashizaki Mei, Taniguchi Kikumi, Kawano Saki, Nakada Maiko
Sent off: Kado Yuka
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Kinoshita Shiori, Ariyoshi Saori, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Sumida Rin, Momiki Yuka, Nakasato Yu, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Kobayashi Yayoi (Sumida Rin, 79 mins), Yamaguchi Mami (Tanaka Mina, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Kobayashi Miharu, Shimada Chiaki
Scorers: Sakaguchi Mizuho (45 mins), Sumida Rin (66 mins), Kobayashi Yayoi (88 mins, pen), Yamaguchi Mami (90+3 mins, pen)
Iga FC Kunoichi 4 - 1 AS Elfen Saitama
Iga put four past Saitama for the second time this season, leapfrogging them into eighth place. Tsutsumi scored her third of the season direct from a free kick just outside the area in the eighteenth minute to give the home side the lead at half-time. Just after the restart, Nakano Rino scored her first ever league goal to equalise, heading in from a rebound off the bar.
A penalty scored by Kobayashi Mariko on the hour mark restored the lead, and two more goals in the 69th and 71st minutes were enough to take all three points. Ogawa Shiho scored her first of the season for the first of those, with Yamago in the Saitama goal disappointed to let the ball squirm free of her grasp. The final Iga goal was an embarrassing own goal.
Both sides will almost certainly contest the relegation section of the Exciting Series, though Iga's two emphatic wins will give them great confidence that they can survive. They next host Vegalta Sendai, who are one place above them but eleven points clear. Saitama visit Niigata.
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: Ogawa Shiho (Haji Madoka, 61 mins), Sugita Ami (Tsutsumi Saki, 69 mins), Tameka Butt (Matsunaga Yoshie, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Sato Ai, Kiyohara Marie, Sonomura Nana
Scorers: Tsutsumi Saki (18 mins), Kobayashi Makiko (60 mins, pen), Ogawa Shiho (69 mins), Own Goal (71 mins)
AS Elfen Saitama:
Yamago Nozomi (capt), Azami Rie, Takeda Arisa, Saito Natsumi, Nara Misaki, Takahashi Kaho, Ito Kanako, Takeyama Yuko, Nakano Rino, Arakawa Eriko, Saito Yuri
Subs: Suzuki Kaoruko (Saito Yuri, 61 mins), Akitaya Misato (Takeyama Yuko, 71 mins), Hagiwara Aimi (Takahashi Kaho, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Takahashi Yuko
Scorers: Nakano Rino (47 mins)
Booked: Takeda Arisa
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies 0 - 2 Albirex Niigata Ladies
Kamionobe Megumi got Niigata off to a tremendous start against leaders Urawa, scoring direct with her left foot from a free kick from well outside the penalty area. Urawa again started with the on-loan Hirao Chika in goal, and she was caught out by the flight of the ball, expecting a deflection which never came. Niigata, who had brought in Sayama and Sakaguchi, matched Urawa in the first half and on 26 minutes doubled their lead, Kamionobe scoring direct this time from a corner kick, with Hirao again beaten at the far post.
In the second half Urawa increased the intensity of their play significantly, with Niigata becoming extremely defensive. Urawa have yet to come from behind to win this season and today was to be no different, as none of their eleven chances in the second half came to furition. Urawa have slipped recently, with just eight points from their last five games, and with a more difficult run-in than their rivals, will need to beat Belle next weekend to maintain hopes of finishing top at the end of the Regular Series.
Niigata have improved to a great degree this season and will expect to win their next two fixtures, at home to Saitama and away to Kibi.
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Hirao Chika, Dozono Ayano, Norimatsu Ruka, Kohata Shiho, Usui Rie, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kato Chika, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Seike Kiko (Goto Michi, 27 mins), Otaki Ami (Kira Chinatsu, HT), Wada Naoko (Usui Rie, 71 mins)
Unused subs: Tajiri Yumi, Ishii Saki, Saito Akane, Tomari Shiho
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Sayama Momoko, Kitahara Kana, Yamamoto Arina, Takamura Chisato, Takahashi Haruka, Saito Yuri, Sakaguchi Moeno, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saeki Aya, Oishi Sayaka
Subs: Kubota Mayu (Oishi Sayaka, 69 mins), Kodama Keiko (Saeki Aya, 75 mins), Yamada Shoko (Sakaguchi Moeno, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Koganemaru Sachie, Shimokawa Saori
Scorers: Kamionobe Megumi (2, 26 mins)
Booked: Sayama Momoko, Kubota Mayu