Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 0 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Belle bounced back from their comprehensive defeat to Urawa with a victory in the rain over champions INAC Kobe. Matsuoka Miki was the scorer of the only goal, twisting to turn in Asano Miki's cross at the near post ahead of Kaihori Ayumi seven minutes into the second half.
With this victory Belle stay very much in contention for the title, while INAC's hopes of a fourth successive championship grow slimmer with each passing game. Belle are next away to JEF United; INAC Kobe host Niigata, who have also disappointed.
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: Aoyagi Maririn, Taniguchi Kikumi, Kawano Saki, Fushiki Kaho, Nakada Maiko, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Matsuoka Miki (52 mins)
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kai Junko, Isokane Midori, Miyake Shiori, Watanabe Ayaka, Minamiyama Chiaki, Sawa Homare, Beverly Goebel-Yanez, Kawasumi Nahomi, Takase Megumi (capt), Tanaka Yoko
Subs: Nakada Ayu (Watanabe Ayaka, 79 mins), Noguchi Ayaka (Miyake Shiori, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Masuya Rika, Kyokawa Mai
Albirex Niigata Ladies 0 - 1 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
Urawa came away from Niigata with all three points in another typhoon-affected match, a result which both put Urawa clear at the top and ended any realistic hopes of a first title for Niigata.
Niigata had very few chances in the game, and it took just one strike from Kira Chinatsu in the first half to win the game. Having won the ball back with their usual tenaciousness, Goto found Naomoto from the right side and with the Niigata players drawn towards Naomoto, Kira was left with space to run into. Naomoto gave her an inviting pass and Kira made no mistake from just inside the area.
Urawa are now four points ahead of second-placed Belle, with Beleza having lost to JEF United opening the gap. Next Sunday they play Beleza in what will surely be a decisive game - Beleza simply cannot afford to lose. Niigata have picked up just two points in the Exciting Series and next face INAC Kobe Leonessa, who have already won all three of their previous meetings.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Sayama Momoko, Kitahara Kana, Yamamoto Arina, Obara Yuria, Takahashi Haruka, Saito Yuri, Sakaguchi Moeno, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saeki Aya, Yamazaki Marumi
Subs: Tiffany McCarty (Saeki Aya, 72 mins), Oishi Sayaka (Sakaguchi Moeno, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Koganemaru Sachie, Okakura Mika, Kojima Miku, Kodama Keiko, Kubota Mayu
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 (Kira Chinatsu, 77 mins), Otaki Ami (Kato Chika, 83 mins), Usui Rie (Goto Michi, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Ikeda Sakiko, Suzuki Rina, Tomari Shiho, Saito Akane
Scorers: Kira Chinatsu (35 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 2 - 1 Nippon TV Beleza
JEF United again overcame opposition against whom they were not expected to win, and have now picked up nine points in the Exciting Series, second only to Urawa who have attained thirteen.
Sugasawa Yuika has scored far more goals this season than in previous campaigns and added to her impressive total from the penalty spot after nineteen minutes to give the home side the half-time lead. Sugasawa herself was the one fouled, Iwashimizu pulling her back in the box.
Beleza scored the equaliser early in the second half, with Momiki Yuka the scorer, but just when it seemed Beleza would go on to win, Sugasawa popped up again in the 52nd minute with the winning goal. When Beleza failed to clear a ball played into the box, the Exciting Series' top scorer struck a speculative ball goalwards and it found its way into the top corner of the net.
JEF United stay fourth and with Urawa also winning are seven points behind the leaders, and if they are to have a shot at winning will need to beat Belle on Sunday at noon. This loss will have hit Beleza hard and they must beat Urawa, also on Sunday.
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: Tsurumi Ayaka (Chino Shoko, HT), Kamogawa Miho (Ikadai Risa, 65 mins), Hosaka Nodoka (Setoguchi Kozue, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Koike Kokoro, Matsuura Nagisa, Shimada Ayako
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (19 mins (pen), 52 mins)
Nippon TV Beleza:
Soyama Kanako, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Kinoshita Shiori, Ariyoshi Saori, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Sumida Rin, Momiki Yuka, Hasegawa Yui, Kiryu Nanase
Subs: Yamaguchi Mami (Kiryu Nanase, HT), Tanaka Mina (Hasegawa Yui, 71 mins), Kobayashi Yayoi (Sumida Rin, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Yamashita Ayaka, Kobayashi Miharu
Scorers: Momiki Yuka (49 mins, pen)
Booked: Iwashimizu Azusa, Tanaka Mina
Iga FC Kunoichi 2 - 0 Vegalta Sendai Ladies
Iga produced a fine performance to beat Vegalta Sendai at home today, as they prepare for an upcoming relegation play-off battle. Both of their goals today were supplied by loanee Kristie Mewis in a short two-minute spell in the second half. Haji Madoka scored her first of the season for the opener, heading in past Cameron after Mewis had shown power and pace down the left. That goal was the first Brittany Cameron has conceded in the league, and the second wasn't long in coming. Haji was replaced before the restart by Ogawa Shiho, and it was she who put away the second, volleying home Mewis' cross.
Iga's final game is against Kibi, again in Ueno. Vegalta Sendai are at home to AS Elfen Saitama in Sendai.
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Ohashi Mio, Nasu Maiko (capt) , Miyasako Tamami, Yamaguchi Ayako, Haji Madoka, Matsunaga Tomoe, Sugita Ami, Matsunaga Yoshie, Tsutsumi Saki, Kristie Mewis
Subs: Ogawa Shiho (Haji Madoka, 62 mins), Kobayashi Makiko (Tsutsumi Saki, 78 mins), Noichi Aya (Matsunaga Yoshie, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Kobayashi Misaki, Kiyohara Marie, Sakumoto Fumika
Scorers: Haji Madoka (62 mins), Ogawa Shiho (63 mins)
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Brittany Cameron, Sasaki Mayu, Yamamoto Risa, Osafune Kana, Sameshima Aya, Takara Ryoko, Kawamura Yuri (capt), Uetsuji Yumi, Kakazu Asuka, Hamada Haruka, Ono Hitomi
Subs: Inoue Ayaka (Ono Hitomi, 65 mins), Ideue Asako (Kawamura Yuri, 77 mins), Kawashima Haruna (Takara Ryoko, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Saita Yuki, Irie Miki
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme 1 - 2 AS Elfen Saitama
AS Elfen Saitama moved to within two points of Vegalta Sendai at the top of the Lower Section and a win on the final weekend over Sendai would leave them top of the section. Saitama brought in goalkeeper Funada Mayu and Saito Yuri for the first time this season and also recalled Kibi graduate Takeda Arisa to the starting lineup.
The opening goal didn't come until after the hour mark, Suzuki Kaoruko lifting the ball over Isashi Kaede in the Kibi net from a through pass from Takeyama Yuko. Takeyama gave a similar assist for the second Saitama goal, though from a deeper position, with Nakano Rino scoring her second of the season.
Kibi got on the scoresheet for the first time in the Exciting Series in additional time, with a goal from their hard-working forward Nishikawa Asuka who scored from distance with a tremendous shot.
This was Kibi's last home game in the Nadeshiko League, their final game at this level is away to Iga. Saitama travel to Sendai with an eye on overtaking their northern rivals, though they were easily beaten in their previous encounter.
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Isashi Kaede, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Noma Fumika, Mukai Satsuki, Miyake Ayumi, Yoshitake Manami, Komatsu Mina, Takano Saki, Hamamoto Marin, Kanbara Misaki, Takahashi Chiho (capt)
Subs: Nishikawa Asuka (Kanbara Misaki, 54 mins), Oka Misako (Komatsu Mina, 54 mins), Kurakazu Shiho (Hamamoto Marin, 82 mins)
Unused subs: Morimoto Kiyo, Amano Asumi, Adachi Eriko, Eguchi Mika
Scorers: Nishikawa Asuka (90+1 mins)
AS Elfen Saitama:
Funada Mayu, Takeda Arisa, Saito Natsumi, Takahashi Yuko, Takeyama Yuko, Nakano Rino, Ito Kanako (capt), Saito Yuri, Azami Rie, Arakawa Eriko, Suzuki Kaoruko
Subs: Akitaya Misato (Saito Yuri, HT), Sarah Gregorius (Suzuki Kaoruko, 61 mins), Sugiyama Takako (Arakawa Eriko, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Yamago Nozomi, Segi Aiki
Scorers: Suzuki Kaoruko (61 mins), Nakano Rino (72 mins)