Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 1 Albirex Niigata Ladies
A second consecutive 1-1 draw for Niigata means that they go into the international break in fourth, five points behind Belle, who stay top. As in the opening game of the Exciting Series Niigata took the lead, on this occasion through Saeki Aya, who finished off at the back post after a fine powerful run down the right by Obara Yuria.
As in their opening game Miyama Aya was the one who rescued Belle, scoring from just outside the area with yet another trademark free kick. Miyama has now scored thirteen goals in twenty games this season and it is unquestionably her presence which has resulted in their leading the league.
Belle travel east to face Beleza in their next match on October 5th, with Niigata hosting INAC Kobe the previous day.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Kado Yuka, Kitaura Miho, Mizushima Kumi, Takahashi Sachie, Kuzuma Riyo, Nakano Manami, Miyama Aya, Asano Miki, Arimachi Saori, Matsuoka Miki
Unused subs: Taniguchi Kikumi, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawano Saki, Fushiki Kaho, Nakada Maiko, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Miyama Aya (74 mins)
Booked: Takahashi Sachie
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Obara Yuria, Kitahara Kana, Yamamoto Arina, Kojima Miku, Takahashi Haruka, Saito Yuri, Sakaguchi Moeno, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saeki Aya, Oishi Sayaka
Subs: Yamazaki Marumi (Oishi Sayaka, 66 mins), Yamada Shoko (Saeki Aya, 76 mins), Kubota Mayu (Sakaguchi Moeno, 88 mins)
Unused subs: Koganemaru Sachie, Okakura Mika
Scorers: Saeki Aya (27 mins)
Booked: Obara Yuria, Kojima Miku
INAC Kobe Leonessa 3 - 4 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
JEF United, starting the Exciting Series with just one point and with a loss away to Belle, needed to take all three points from their visit to Hokkaido where they took on INAC Kobe, themselves equally in need of three points.
Having just returned to Japan, Kawasumi Nahomi went into INAC Kobe's starting lineup at the first opportunity and she showed how much they have missed her early in this game as she ran powerfully through midfield and gave a defence-splitting pass to Takase Megumi to score in the sixth minute.
JEF United held firm when possibly expected to crumble, and equalised with just under thirty minutes gone, their top scorer Sugasawa Yuika beating the offside trap off an Ikadai flick to race clear and finish expertly past Kaihori.
The second half saw the scoring of five goals, with JEF United initially taking the lead in the 53rd minute. They showed tremendous pressure on the INAC defence through the middle and both wings and eventually found an opening. A cross from the left was attacked by Sugasawa and the INAC defenders, the ball came loose where Anzai was waiting and she deftly crossed it to the far post where Fukusawa got enough on the ball for it to cross the line before Kaihori could claw it back.
INAC came back almost immediately, with Kawasumi the scorer this time, getting the decisive touch on a free kick played in by Nakajima. Any hopes of INAC pushing on to win were crushed however by two goals in three minutes from the opposition.
Putting JEF United back into the lead was Kawamura Mari, who had scored the opener in the match with Belle a week earlier. From a short corner the ball found itself at the back post where Sugasawa was all alone, the INAC defence completely disorganised, and her ball across the face of goal was struck home confidently by Kawamura.
Setoguchi scored two minutes later to put JEF United into a seemingly unassailable lead, with Anzai and Sugasawa again the providers, the former crossing from the right, the latter heading down to Setoguchi to fire home.
Masuya Rika has shown her high levels of enthusiasm all season and she gave INAC hope of another late comeback with a goal two minutes from time. Kawasumi found Takase with a good ball down the right and when her shot was not held by Yamane, Masuya was there to score.
In additional time INAC continued to pressurise the JEF United defence and were awarded an indirect free kick on the six yard line apparently for Wakabayashi's holdig the ball with her knees. Sakuramoto Naoko was subsequently sent off for a second yellow card when a number of JEF players rushed out to block the free kick before it had been taken. When the free kick was eventually taken, it was Tsurumi Ayaka who made the block on the line, a player who has barely featured in the league, this being only her third substitute appearance this year.
INAC Kobe move bottom of the Upper Section and will face another determined team in Niigata on October 4th. JEF United move into fifth and take on Urawa in their first home game of the Exciting Series.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Noguchi Ayaka, Kai Junko, Miyake Shiori, Isokane Midori, Kawasumi Nahomi, Sawa Homare, Nakajima Emi, Minamiyama Chiaki, Masuya Rika, Takase Megumi (capt)
Subs: Watanabe Ayaka (Miyake Shiori, 73 mins), Nakada Ayu (Minamiyama Chiaki, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Kyokawa Mai, Ito Miki
Scorers: Takase Megumi (6 mins), Kawasumi Nahomi (56 mins), Masuya Rika (88 mins)
Booked: Takase Megumi
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: Oya Madoka (Chino Shoko, 40 mins), Kamogawa Miho (Anzai Yuka, 71 mins), Tsurumi Ayaka (Kamogawa Miho, 90+2 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Matsuura Nagisa, Yasuda Saki
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (29 mins), Fukasawa Risa (53 mins), Kawamura Mari (68 mins), Setoguchi Kozue (70 mins)
Booked: Wakabayashi Minori, Kamogawa Miho
Sent off: Sakuramoto Naoko
Nippon TV Beleza 0 - 3 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Beleza had no answer to Urawa's strength in attack, with the visitors shaking off their heartbreak from conceding a late penalty against INAC to strike back, take all three points and move into second, two points behind leaders Belle.
All three goals came in a twelve minute spell in the middle of the first half, with Kira Chinatsu involved in the build up each time. Kishikawa scored the first, getting away a fine shot having almost lost her footing. That goal came in the 21st minute and within two minutes Urawa had doubled the lead. On this occasion Urawa broke very quickly after a Beleza attack had broken down and Kato Chika unleashed a tremendous shot from outside the area to beat Soyama.
Urawa's third goal came after thirty-two minutes, with Naomoto finishing off after Kira had smacked her shot off the crossbar from an acute angle. In the second half Beleza created far more than Urawa did, but naturally with a three-goal lead the visitors could afford to soak up pressure.
Beleza have had a sluggish start to the Exciting Series and will need to improve significantly if they are to overcome Belle in their next match in the same manner as they did in July, with a 4-0 win. Urawa make the short trip to Chiba to take on JEF United in the early game on Saturday 4th.
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Kinoshita Shiori, Ariyoshi Saori, Hara Natsuko, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Sumida Rin, Hasegawa Yui, Momiki Yuka, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Kiryu Nanase (Sumida Rin, HT), Yamaguchi Mami (Tanaka Mina, 69 mins), Kobayashi Yayoi (Hasegawa Yui, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Doko Mayo, Kobayashi Miharu, Nakasato Yu
Booked: Kinoshita Shiori
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Hirao Chika, Dozono Ayano, Norimatsu Ruka, Kohata Shiho, Wada Naoko, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kato Chika, Kira Chinatsu, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Seike Kiko (Kato Chika, 74 mins), Usui Rie (Wada Naoko, 77 mins), Sakamoto Riho (Kira Chinatsu, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Ikeda Sakiko, Saito Akane, Nagano Fuka, Otaki Ami
Scorers: Kishikawa Natsuki (21 mins), Kato Chika (23 mins), Naomoto Hikaru (32 mins)
Vegalta Sendai Ladies 4 - 0 Iga FC Kunoichi
Vegalta Sendai proved much too strong for Iga, who have severely missed Elise Kellond-Knight in defence, with all four goals essentially scored from the area she would usually protect.
Sendai scored twice in either half, with Iga barely troubling the home side's new on-loan goalkeeper Brittany Cameron in the first half, and only with the introduction of Sugita and Ogawa at half-time was their any promise of an Iga reply.
Four players scored for Sendai: Kawamura, Yamamoto, Osafune and Hamada. They have now moved onto fourteen points and are likely to guarantee safety very soon, with Iga some nine points back and four games remaining.
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Brittany Cameron, Takara Ryoko, Yamamoto Risa, Osafune Kana, Sameshima Aya, Tahara Nozomi, Kawamura Yuri, Uetsuji Yumi (capt), Kakazu Asuka, Hamada Haruka, Ono Hitomi
Subs: Inoue Ayaka (Tahara Nozomi, 64 mins), Kawashima Haruna (Ono Hitomi, 76 mins), Irie Miki (Kakazu Asuka, 81 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Takahashi Nana, Sasaki Mayu, Koyama Kie
Scorers: Kawamura Yuri (22 mins), Yamamoto Risa (29 mins), Osafune Kana (78 mins), Hamada Haruka (87 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Miyasako Tamami, Michikura Hiroko, Ohashi Mio, Kiyohara Marie, Nasu Maiko (capt), Matsunaga Tomoe, Kobayashi Makiko, Tsutsumi Saki, Matsunaga Yoshie, Haji Madoka
Subs: Sugita Ami (Tsutsumi Saki, HT), Ogawa Shiho (Haji Madoka, HT), Sonomura Nana (Matsunaga Tomoe, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Sato Ai
AS Elfen Saitama 3 - 0 FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme
Another Kibi loss sees them edge closer to certain relegation, with Saitama in a very strong position to stay up, sitting seven points ahead of Iga.
The opening goal was scored by Azami Rie, who very easily rounded Kibi 'keeper Isashi Kaede to score in just the third minute. By half-time the game was over as a contest, Suzuki adding another on 24 minutes and Arakawa the third six minutes before half-time.
The only remaining item of note was the introduction of Sarah Gregorius in the 73rd minute, as the New Zealander made her first appearance in Japanese league football.
Saitama stay at home for their next game against Vegalta Sendai, with Kibi hosting Iga knowing that a loss means at least a relegation play-off.
AS Elfen Saitama:
Nozomi (capt), Akitaya Misato, Takeda Arisa, Takahashi Yuko, Takeyama
Yuko, Hagiwara Aimi, Ito Kanako, Nara Misaki, Azami Rie, Arakawa Eriko,
Subs: Yamazaki Sayuri (Suzuki Kaoruko, 62 mins), Sarah Gregorius (Nara Misaki, 73 mins), Takahashi Kaho (Hagiwara Aimi, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Funada Mayu, Utsumi Yui, Uchida Saki, Sugiyama Takako
Scorers: Azami Rie (3 mins), Suzuki Kaoruko (24 mins), Arakawa Eriko (39 mins)
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Kaede, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Noma Fumika (capt), Asai Sakura, Nagano
Momoko, Takano Saki, Yoshitake Manami, Eguchi Mika, Hamamoto Marin,
Komatsu Mina, Nishikawa Asuka
Subs: Kanbara Misaki (Komatsu Mina, 73 mins), Takahashi Chiho (Hamamoto Marin, 73 mins), Miyake Ayumi (Eguchi Mika, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Fujita Suzuka, Takatsuka Ayane, Oka Misako, Tajima Mitsuyo
Booked: Nishikawa Asuka