JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies 1 - 1 Vegalta Sendai Ladies
JEF United, who included Tokiwagi Gakuen graduate Nishikawa Ayaka in their opening day starting lineup, took the lead against their guests from Sendai with a goal from last year's top scorer Sugasawa Yuika. Vegalta Sendai started with three new players, goalkeeper Takenaka Rei from INAC Kobe and from Belle the experienced pairing of Nakano Manami and Arimachi Saori. In a very even game it was former JEF player Kawamura Yuri who equalised for the visitors and both sides will be reasonably satisfied with a point.
Both sides are at home next weekend, JEF United hosting Kanto rivals Urawa and Vegalta play Niigata in the Yurtec Stadium.
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Chino Shoko, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Nishikawa Ayaka, Wakabayashi Minori, Hosaka Nodoka, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Fukasawa Risa, Ikadai Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Yanai Rina (Setoguchi Kozue, 70 mins), Anzai Yuka (Ikadai Risa, 80 mins), Ueno Saki (Hosaka Nodoka, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Tsurumi Ayaka, Shimada Ayako, Kamogawa Miho
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (45 mins)
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Takenaka Rei, Sakai Yuki, Yamamoto Risa, Takahashi Nana, Takara Ryoko, Kakazu Asuka (capt), Kawamura Yuri, Sasaki Mayu, Nakano Manami, Hamada Haruka, Arimachi Saori
Subs: Giovania (Hamada Haruka, 63 mins), Inoue Ayaka (Arimachi Saori, 87 mins), Tahara Nozomi (Nakano Manami, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Irie Miki
Scorers: Kawamura Yuri (69 mins)
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies 2 - 3 INAC Kobe Leonessa
Just as on the opening weekend of last season, late goals resulted in a 3-2 victory for the away side. Last year's MVP Goto Michi gave Urawa the lead after thirty-four minutes. Naomoto took the ball down the left, crossed to the far post for Shibata and her cross back into the middle saw Goto score with a diving header.
INAC Kobe got back into the game with a crucial equaliser just before half-time, when Kyokawa Mai easily beat Wada Naoko for pace and her cross to the far post was put away by Takase Megumi. Kyokawa had a goal for herself with twenty minutes remaining to give the visitors the lead when she half-volleyed home a delightful pass from veteran newcomer Ito Kanako.
Sawa Homare scored the decisive goal just as time ran out, heading in a corner kick, though there was time for another goal at the other end, new defensive recruit Osafune Kana also heading in a corner kick.
INAC Kobe host Belle next Sunday in another real test for both sides. Urawa are in action a day earlier, away to JEF United.
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Norimatsu Ruka, Osafune Kana, Kohata Shiho, Wada Naoko, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kato Chika, Shiraki Akari, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Seike Kiko (Kato Chika, 70 mins), Kira Chinatsu (Wada Naoko, 79 mins), Usui Rie (Kishikawa Natsuki, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Hirao Chika, Suzuki Rina, Nagano Fuka, Fujita Nozomi
Scorers: Goto Michi (34 mins), Osafune Kana (90+1 mins)
Booked: Goto Michi
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Sameshima Aya, Kawasumi Nahomi, Ito Kanako, Sawa Homare, Kyokawa Mai, Takase Megumi, Ohno Shinobu (capt)
Subs: Masuya Rika (Kyokawa Mai, 70 mins), Nakajima Emi (Ohno Shinobu, 80 mins), Minamiyama Chiaki (Takase Megumi, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Shibusawa Anna, Saito Natsumi, Ito Miki
Scorers: Takase Megumi (44 mins), Kyokawa Mai (70 mins), Sawa Homare (90 mins)
Nippon TV Beleza 3 - 0 Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki
Beleza completely dominated newly promoted Takatsuki and their three-goal victory saw them go top of the table after the first weekend. Uetsuji Yumi is well known for her expertise at set-pieces and her first goal for her new club came from a direct free kick. Tanaka Mina had a variable season last year but showed good form in the cup final. Today she scored two second-half goals to seal the win and set Beleza up for their visit to Saitama next weekend. Takatsuki are at home to Iga and will be desperate not to fall six points behind potential relegation rivals.
Nippon TV Beleza:
Yamashita Ayaka, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Muramatsu Tomoko, Ariyoshi Saori, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Uetsuji Yumi, Hasegawa Yui, Kiryu Nanase, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Momiki Yuka (Hasegawa Yui, 59 mins), Sumida Rin (Uetsuji Yumi, 76 mins), Nakasato Yu (Kiryu Nanase, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Doko Mayo, Kinoshita Shiori, Shimada Chiaki
Scorers: Uetsuji Yumi (30 mins), Tanaka Mina (48, 59 mins)
Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki:
Ono Maya, Tsuboi Ayako, Sato Kaede, Akiba Yumeko, Takeda Arisa, Takahashi Saki, Enya Mari, Torao Naomi (capt), Narumiya Yui, Maruyama Karina, Hazuki Yuki
Subs: Saito Toshiko (Enya Mari, 64 mins), Yoshimura Midori (Hazuki Yuki, 68 mins), Hirano Satoko (Maruyama Karina, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Yamamoto Maho, Kitagawa Wakana
Albirex Niigata Ladies 0 - 1 Iga FC Kunoichi
Iga struggled unexpectedly last season, so this away win over Niigata, who finished third in 2014, will have been a big boost to their confidence. Hatanaka Miyuka started for Iga for the first time since her move from Takatsuki, while neither of the Kunoichi's American players are yet available. Suzuki Kaoruko, another newcomer from Saitama, scored an early goal which ultimately was enough for Iga who withstood a Niigata onslaught in the second half.
Iga are at home next to Takatsuki and will be confident of another three points; Niigata need to reassert themselves away to Vegalta Sendai.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Takamura Chisato, Nakamura Kaede, Yamamoto Arina, Obara Yuria, Saito Yuri, Takahashi Haruka, Sakaguchi Moeno, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saeki Aya, Yamazaki Marumi
Subs: Watanabe Ayaka (Saeki Aya, 61 mins), Oishi Sayaka (Yamazaki Marumi, 61 mins), Kubota Mayu (Takahashi Haruka, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae, Sayama Momoko, Kojima Miku, Kodama Keiko
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Miyasako Tamami, Ohashi Mio, Hatanaka Miyuka, Shimojo Aya, Suzuki Kaoruko, Nasu Maiko (capt), Matsunaga Tomoe, Sugita Ami, Haji Madoka, Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Matsunaga Yoshie (Matsunaga Tomoe, HT), Sonomura Nana (Suzuki Kaoruko, 63 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Noichi Aya, Michikura Hiroko
Scorers: Suzuki Kaoruko (8 mins)
Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 0 AS Elfen Saitama
In front of a disapponting number of spectators, one goal for the home side was enough to see them past a poor Saitama side. New recruit Takano Saki was the only Saitama player to register a shot at goal. Matsuoka Miki was once again Belle's goalscorer. A good pass into the box from Nakajima Chihiro found Miyama Aya, and she did well to hold up the ball for Matsuoka to finish smartly. Nakajima was one of three new players to start for Belle today, the other two being Kobayashi Makiko and Kishino Sana.
Belle's title potential will be revealed when they visit Kobe next Sunday, while Saitama hope for much better against another title contender, Nippon TV Beleza.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Kado Yuka, Takahashi Sachie, Nakajima Chihiro, Mizushima Kumi, Kuzuma Riyo, Asano Miki, Miyama Aya, Kobayashi Makiko, Matsuoka Miki, Kishino Sana
Unused subs: Mita Isayo, Taniguchi Kikumi, Takahashi Chiho, Kawano Saki, Hashimoto Shoko, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Matsuoka Miki (17 mins)
Booked: Mizushima Kumi
AS Elfen Saitama:
Funada Mayu, Akitaya Misato, Matsuoka Sayuri, Nara Misaki, Sakurabayashi Ayako, Otani Erina, Takano Saki, Takahashi Saori, Azami Rie (capt), Sarah Gregorius, Takahashi Kaho
Subs: Kitano Rie (Takahashi Kaho, 50 mins)
Unused subs: Sakuragi Ayana, Onuma Miho, Segi Aiki, Shimokawa Saori