Go! Go! Omiya Ardija
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This site is produced by a dedicated team of contributors and is compiled by Furtho.
  • This site is produced by a dedicated team of contributors and is compiled by Furtho.
  • Go! Go! Omiya Ardija provides up-to-date English-language news, views and comment on Japanese football club Omiya Ardija - direct from the heart of the Squirrel Nation.

    If you'd like to get in touch, you're welcome to post comments (see the Posting A Comment category on the right-hand side for help), or to email furthoAThotmail.com


    Ins Winter 08/09

    Coach Jang Wae-Ryong, Incheon United
    GK Takahiro Takagi, Sapporo (loan end)
    DF Shunsuke Fukuda, Hosei University
    DF Haruki Nishimura, Takasaki (loan end)
    DF/MF Ryohei Arai, Omiya Youth
    FW Naoki Ishihara, Shonan

    Outs Winter 08/09

    Coach Yasuhiro Higuchi, Yokohama FC
    GK Hiroki Aratani, Sapporo
    DF Akira Ishigame
    DF Tatsuya Kawahara, Kusatsu (loan)
    DF Leandro
    DF Takuro Nishimura
    MF Naoya Saeki
    FW Hiroshi Morita, Kofu
    FW Naoto Sakurai
    FW Manabu Wakabayashi
    FW Kota Yoshihara

    Ardija Squad 2008

    GK 1 Hiroki Aratani
    GK 20 Nobuhisa Kobayashi
    GK 21 Koji Ezumi
    GK 31 Keiki Shimizu (r)

    DF 2 Taishi Tsukamoto (r)
    DF 3 Leandro
    DF 4 Yasuhiro Hato
    DF 5 Daisuke Tomita (v/c)
    DF 18 Takuro Nishimura
    DF 19 Yusuke Murayama
    DF 22 Terukazu Tanaka
    DF 26 Daiki Niwa (n)
    DF 29 Tatsuya Kawahara (r)

    MF 6 Yosuke Kataoka
    MF 7 Naoya Saeki
    MF 8 Daigo Kobayashi
    MF 11 Chikara Fujimoto (v/c)
    MF 15 Masato Saito
    MF 17 Hayato Hashimoto
    MF 23 Shin Kanazawa
    MF 24 Takaya Kawanabe
    MF 25 Tomoya Uchida (n)
    MF 28 Kohei Tokita (r)
    MF 32 Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (c)
    MF 34 Takuya Aoki (r)

    FW 9 Kota Yoshihara
    FW 10 Denis Marques
    FW 13 Pedro Junior
    FW 14 Hiroshi Morita
    FW 16 Klemen Lavric (n*)
    FW 27 Masahiko Ichikawa (r)
    FW 30 Naoto Sakurai
    FW 35 Daisuke Watabe (r)

    (c) = captain
    (n) = new for 2008
    (n*) = signed during 2008
    (r) = rookie
    (v/c) = vice-captain

    Loans Out until

    DF Tatsuya Kawahara, Kusatsu 31 Jan 10
    DF Daiki Niwa, Fukuoka 31 Jan 09
    FW Pedro Junior, Vila Nova 31 Dec 08

    Ardija J1 Games

    09 Mar H v Niigata 2-0
    16 Mar A v Kyoto 1-2
    30 Mar A v S-Pulse 0-0

    02 Apr H v Nagoya 1-2
    05 Apr H v Oita 2-0
    12 Apr A v JEF 4-2
    20 Apr A v Urawa 0-0
    27 Apr H v Kashima 1-1
    30 Apr A v Gamba 3-2

    03 May H v FC Tokyo 0-3
    06 May A v Marinos 1-1
    10 May H v Sapporo 1-2
    17 May A v Kawasaki 3-2

    28 Jun H v Verdy 2-0

    05 Jul A v Kobe 0-1
    12 Jul H v Jubilo 1-2
    17 Jul A v Kashiwa 0-1
    21 Jul A v Nagoya 0-4
    27 Jul H v S-Pulse 0-0

    09 Aug A v Sapporo 2-1
    16 Aug H v Gamba 2-0
    24 Aug A v Oita 0-1
    28 Aug H v Marinos 1-0

    13 Sep A v FC Tokyo 1-3
    21 Sep H v Urawa 0-1
    27 Sep H v Kobe 0-2

    01 Oct A v Kashima 0-2
    04 Oct H v Kashiwa 0-4
    18 Oct A v Verdy 0-1
    26 Oct H v JEF 2-1

    08 Nov H v Kawasaki 2-1
    23 Nov A v Niigata 2-2
    30 Nov H v Kyoto 1-1

    06 Dec A v Jubilo 1-0

    J1 Scorers final

    8 Denis Marques
    5 Lavric
    3 Fujimoto
    3 Kobayashi D
    3 Kobayashi Y
    2 Leandro
    2 Morita
    2 Pedro Junior
    2 Saito
    2 Tomita
    2 Yoshihara
    1 Kataoka
    1 Tokita

    J1 Cards final

    YYY Kataoka
    YYY Kobayashi Y
    YYY Lavric
    YYY Morita
    YYY Tokita
    YY Murayama
    YY Pedro Junior
    YY Uchida
    Y Fujimoto
    Y Hashimoto
    Y Saeki
    Y Saito
    Y Tomita


    Emperor's Cup Games

    02 Nov H v Cerezo 1-0
    15 Nov H v Nagoya 1-2

    Emperor's Cup Scorers

    1 Lavric
    1 Uchida

    Emperor's Cup Cards

    Y Fujimoto
    Y Lavric
    Y Uchida


    Nabisco Cup Table final

    1. Marinos 12 (+6)
    2. Oita 11 (+4)
    3. Niigata 4 (-4)
    4. Omiya 3 (-6)

    Nabisco Cup Games

    20 Mar A v Niigata 2-2
    23 Mar H v Marinos 0-0

    16 Apr A v Marinos 0-4

    25 May H v Oita 1-2
    31 May H v Niigata 1-1

    08 Jun A v Oita 0-1

    Nabisco Cup Scorers final

    1 Denis Marques
    1 Kobayashi D
    1 Morita
    1 Pedro Junior

    Nabisco Cup Cards final

    Y(YY=R) Denis Marques
    YY Leandro
    Y Kanazawa
    Y Kobayashi D
    Y Morita
    Y Niwa
    Y Pedro Junior
    Y Saeki
    Y Tanaka
    Y Tomita
    Y Yoshihara


    J1 Table final

    1. Kashima 63 (+26)
    2. Kawasaki 60 (+23)
    3. Nagoya 59 (+13)

    4. Oita 56 (+9)
    - - - - - - - - - -
    5. S-Pulse 55 (+8)
    6. FC Tokyo 55 (+4)
    7. Urawa 53 (+8)
    8. Gamba 50 (-3)
    9. Marinos 48 (+11)
    10. Kobe 47 (+1)
    11. Kashiwa 46 (+3)
    12. Omiya 43 (-9)
    13. Niigata 42 (-14)
    14. Kyoto 41 (-9)
    15. JEF 38 (-17)
    - - - - - - - - - -
    16. Jubilo 37 (-8)
    17. Verdy 37 (-12)
    18. Sapporo 18 (-34)

    Last J1 Games 06 Dec

    JEF 4-2 FC Tokyo
    Jubilo 0-1 Omiya
    Kobe 0-2 Kashiwa
    Kyoto 1-3 S-Pulse
    Niigata 3-2 Gamba
    Oita 0-0 Nagoya
    Sapporo 0-1 Kashima
    Urawa 1-6 Marinos
    Verdy 0-2 Kawasaki

    Next J1 Games tbc


    J2 Table final

    1. Hiroshima 100 (+64)
    2. Yamagata 78 (+26)
    3. Sendai 70 (+15)
    - - - - - - - - - -
    4. Cerezo 69 (+21)
    5. Shonan 65 (+20)
    6. Tosu 64 (-1)
    7. Kofu 59 (+9)
    8. Fukuoka 58 (-11)
    9. Kusatsu 53 (-7)
    10. Yokohama FC 50 (-5)
    11. Mito 47 (-18)
    12. Kumamoto 43 (-26)
    13. Gifu 42 (-28)
    14. Ehime 37 (-27)
    15. Tokushima 29 (-32)

    Last J2 Games 06 Dec

    Cerezo 2-1 Ehime
    Fukuoka 3-1 Shonan
    Gifu 1-0 Tosu
    Hiroshima 3-0 Tokushima
    Sendai 1-0 Kusatsu
    Yamagata 1-0 Mito
    Yokohama FC 0-0 Kofu

    Next J2 Games tbc

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【--/--/-- --:--】 スポンサー広告
Saito Strikes As Squirrels Stay Up
Omiya Ardija 1-1 Kawasaki Frontale

0-1 Chong 21'
1-1 Saito 89'

GK Ezumi (7)
DF Murayama (6)
DF Leandro (7)
DF Tomita (7)
DF Hato (7)
MF Daigo Kobayashi (7)
MF Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (7)
MF Kataoka (5) (Saito 62') (7)
MF Fujimoto (8) (Denis Marques 69') (6)
FW Morita (5) (Wakabayashi 73')
FW Yoshihara (7)

Subs not used:

GK Ogi
DF Okuno
MF Hirano
FW Pedro Junior

04 Dec 07 - Goal hero Masato Saito. An unusual collection of words there

Goal hero Masato Saito. An unusual collection of words there

It may have been 99% sure after last weekend's sensational victory at FC Tokyo, but Omiya Ardija made it absolutely certain that they will retain their J1 status for 2008 in the last game of what has been a traumatic season. With relegation rivals Sanfrecce Hiroshima unable to pull off the required big win over Gamba Osaka, the Mighty Squirrels confirmed matters with a solid performance at Omiya Koen against Kawasaki Frontale - one of the division's form teams.

Despite the fact that it took Ardija until injury time to grab the point, Omiya were the better side for most of the match and it was the familiar problem of poor finishing that almost proved costly. Coach Satoru Sakuma, a.k.a. the Luckiest Man Alive, elected to field a front pairing of top scorer Kota Yoshihara and Hiroshi Morita, but it was Frontale who took the lead via a bullet header from 23-year-old forward Tese Chong following a corner midway through the first half.

The Squirrels had a few chances in the opening period and nearly equalised through the unlikely figure of Morita, whose acrobatic overhead went flashing inches past Eiji Kawashima's post. Chikara Fujimoto almost followed on from his vital goal against Tokyo by lobbing Kawashima from well inside the Ardija half, but Cheeky's ambitious effort went just wide with the Kawasaki keeper left flailing.

But it was a more attacking and threatening Omiya team that took to the field after the interval, numerous chances being created but none converted. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi had a shot from fifty yards that was caught just under the bar by Kawashima and Daigo Kobayashi fired in two dangerous free kicks - one of which went just over from 35 yards and another late on that struck the woodwork. Big defender Leandro sought to build upon his spectacular solo goal last Saturday, but placed a free header wide of the target when he should have scored.

04 Dec 07 - An emotional Seiichiro Okuno

An emotional Seiichiro Okuno

Perhaps appropriately, though - bearing in mind the fact that the game marked the retirement of an Omiya legend in former captain Seiichiro Okuno - it was Okuno's longest-standing team-mate Masato Saito who popped up with the equaliser in stoppage time. A cross-cum-shot from Yoshiyuki Kobayashi fell at the feet of the midfield man, who rifled an angled right-foot shot into the Kawasaki net for his first league goal since 2004.

Emotional scenes followed when Saito raced over to Okuno on the substitutes' bench to celebrate, as tears ran down the cheeks of the departing skipper. After the final whistle, there was an Okuno tribute that even included a message from his long-time defensive partner Toninho. But Ardija are safe - roll on 2008!

Photos to follow
【2007/12/01 16:21】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(6)
Leandro Takes Giant Step To Safety
FC Tokyo 1-2 Omiya Ardija

1-0 Ishikawa 47'
1-1 Fujimoto 49'
1-2 Leandro 89'

GK Ezumi (7)
DF Murayama (7)
DF Leandro (10)
DF Tomita (7)
DF Hato (7)
MF Daigo Kobayashi (7)
MF Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (7)
MF Kataoka (6)
MF Fujimoto (8) (Sakurai 80')
FW Morita (6) (Hashimoto 75')
FW Yoshihara (8) (Saito 64') (6)

Subs not used:

GK Ogi
MF Hirano
FW Wakabayashi
FW Denis Marques

26 Nov 07 - A picture of Leandro

A picture of Leandro

Omiya Ardija defender Leandro guaranteed himself instant club legend status in a dramatic afternoon at Ajinomoto on Saturday, as in the closing seconds of the game with FC Tokyo he scored the goal that almost ensures the Squirrels's J1 survival. After an incredible run, the big Brazilian fired home from ten yards to clinch a vital victory with what was, remarkably, his first goal of the season.

While relegation rivals Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Ventforet Kofu were losing their matches, perhaps the greatest goal ever scored by an Ardija player meant that Satoru Sakuma's team were able to squeeze past the Gasheads 2-1. A day that had begun jam-packed with tension ended with Omiya three points ahead of a Hiroshima side on cataclysmically bad form - and with a markedly better goal difference into the bargain. In other words, barring total disaster in the final match of the season, Leandro's goal has succeeded in keeping the Squirrels in J1.

Contrary to press reports before kick-off, Sakuma fielded a relatively conventional line-up, Yosuke Kataoka coming into central midfield in place of Naoya Saeki and Kota Yoshihara making a welcome return to the team alongside Hiroshi Morita up front. And it was Yoshihara who was the key man for Ardija, who looked committed from the start, pressing and harrying an FC Tokyo team with little to play for but pride.

26 Nov 07 - Another picture of Leandro. Woohoo!

Another picture of Leandro. Woohoo!

The one-time Japanese international forward had some good opportunities in the opening period. The first of these arrived in the sixth minute when Yoshiyuki Kobayashi's blocked shot fell to Omiya's diminuitive number nine, who struck his shot wide of the right post. Later, Yoshihara had another good chance when Daigo Kobayashi put him clean through only for the outstretched hand of Hitoshi Shiota to prevent an opening goal and the same player should again have scored shortly afterwards, when he ballooned a shot over the bar after Yoshiyuki set him up.

Otherwise, the first half was fairly even, with not much threat at either end, but just a couple of minutes after the re-start the home side took the lead when right-sided midfield man Naohiro Ishikawa took delivery of a clever back pass and smashed a shot past Koji Ezumi. After a decent performance, things could scarcely have looked bleaker for Omiya.

In contrast with so many of this season's performances, however, these cornered Squirrels fought back and with the crowd barely back in their seats after Ishikawa's opener, Yoshihara dis-possessed a defender and squared it for captain Chikara Fujimoto to fire home an equaliser. Frustratingly, with the score at one apiece - and in the knowledge that winning the game would provide a massive advantage in the relegation fight - Sakuma opted for a more defensive formation and Ardija were on the backfoot for most of the remainder of the game.

With time running out and thoughts starting to turn to what would have been next week's decider against Kawasaki Frontale, Leandro won a tackle on the edge of his own penalty area and weaved his way past several defenders, running virtually the whole length of the pitch finally to blast a right-foot shot past Shiota from ten yards out.
【2007/11/24 15:53】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(3)
Nishimura Off Again, As Draw Puts Omiya On A Knife Edge
Ventforet Kofu 0-0 Omiya Ardija

GK Ezumi (7)
DF Takuro Nishimura (5)
DF Murayama (6)
DF Tomita (6)
DF Hato (6)
MF Daigo Kobayashi (7)
MF Saito (6)
MF Saeki (6) (Kataoka 67')
MF Fujimoto (6) (Wakabayashi 74')
FW Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (6)
FW Pedro Junior (5) (Sakurai 64') (6)

Subs not used:

GK Ogi
DF Tanaka
MF Hirano
FW Yoshihara

19 Nov - The distant view of the Squirrel Nation

The distant Yamanashi view of the Squirrel Nation

If Omiya Ardija do manage to avoid relegation at the end of this season, they will look back to Sunday's match with rivals Ventforet Kofu and will surely believe that they were lucky to get a point - and indeed to prevent Kofu from obtaining what would have been a crucial win for the claret-and-blues. Squirrels coach Satoru Sakuma fielded a starting line-up that had in total netted only seven league goals all year, adopting a 4-5-1 from the start and rookie forward Pedro Junior understandably struggled to cope against three markers.

Ardija nevertheless had some reasonable chances in the first half - defender Daisuke Tomita had a header from a 34th-minute corner that cleared the bar and Pedro Junior beat his man and was about to round keeper Tatsuya Tsuruta and score, when Tsuruta stuck out an arm to prevent the youngster from giving Omiya a 1-0 lead. The home side, however, were particularly dangerous from set plays, especially free-kicks, and had several notable opportunities when Squirrels netminder Koji Ezumi had to be particularly alert.

19 Nov 07 - That idiot Nishimura chases Katsuya Ishihara

That idiot Nishimura chases Katsuya Ishihara

In the second half, star midfielder Daigo Kobayashi had a couple of long range left-footed efforts, Pedro Junior had a shot blocked with the keeper in no man's land and Ardija's chance of the game fell to substitute Naoto Sakurai who sent in a right-footed curler that Tsuruta palmed on to the angle of post and crossbar and out for a corner. The majority of possession remained with a Ventforet side desperately seeking a goal and those three precious points and the final few minutes were horribly nerve-wracking for Omiya supporters.

Unbelievably, right back Takuro Nishimura - on his first game back in the team - got himself sent off as he had done just last month at Albirex Niigata and after that it looked like Omiya would get punished in injury time, as had occurred in that match. And how Ventforet failed to score remains a mystery. Deep into injury time, confusion between Tomita and Yusuke Murayama resulted in Zeljko Radovic being completely clean through with the simple task of Ezumi to beat. He didn't. The ball went wide and seconds later the referee blew his whistle. A fortuitous point and thanks to Leandro's equaliser for Vissel Kobe at Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Omiya stay fifteenth.
【2007/11/18 16:16】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(3)
Omiya Blow It And Relegation Fight Goes On
Omiya Ardija 1-2 Oita Trinita

1-0 Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (3')
1-1 Fukaya (26')
1-2 Maeda (88')

GK Ezumi (5)
DF Tanaka (5)
DF Murayama (8)
DF Tomita (6)
DF Hato (7)
MF Daigo Kobayashi (6)
MF Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (7)
MF Saeki (6) (Kataoka 64') (5)
MF Fujimoto (6)
FW Morita (5) (Saito 51') (5)
FW Denis Marques (5) (Pedro Junior 68') (5)

Subs not used:

GK Ogi
MF Hirano
FW Wakabayashi
FW Sakurai

15 Nov 07 - Before it all went wrong

Before it all went wrong

As far as curtain-raisers go, Omiya Ardija's fantastic new stadium really should have had a better spectacle than the gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat to Oita Trinita, although the atrocious weather was certainly a factor in what was a disappointing ninety minutes of football. Well, eighty-seven minutes; because just three minutes into the opening fixture at the new Omiya Koen stadium, Squirrels midfielder Yoshiyuki Kobayashi got things off to a dream start when he rifled in an unstoppable left-foot effort.

For a time, it appeared as if all was going to be well for Ardija. Coach Satoru Sakuma, in undoubtedly the most important match of his short career, had elected for an untested back four combination, with Yusuke Murayama moving into the centre from right back, where he was replaced by inexperienced Terukazu Tanaka. Oita had their fair share of the play, but were held at arm's length only until the 26th minute, when skin-headed defender Yuki Fukaya was on hand to tap home after a shot hit Koji Ezumi's post and fell to his feet.

The Squirrels probed and Denis Marques could have restored the lead, but the Brazilian forwards failed to get on the end of a cross from the right. And as the game moved into the second half, Sakuma appeared content to concede the initiative with the match still at one goal apiece; Omiya had a few chances in the second half, notably when Chikara Fujimoto's header went over the bar, but the home side were usually second best.

15 Nov 07 - A fisheye view of the new Omiya Park

A fisheye view of the new Omiya Park

It was the substitutions that altered the direction of the game and for this the Ardija boss must take responsibility. Big striker Hiroshi Morita was replaced just six minutes after the re-start by defensive midfield man Masato Saito and incredibly - in a match that would have provided the whole club with a massive boost to win - Omiya went from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1.

While two other Squirrels substitutions quickly followed, on the away bench Trinita coach Chamusca held his nerve. Unsurprisingly, the goalscoring opportunities subsequently dried up for the men in orange, who were on the back foot for the remainder of the game. The visitors clearly felt that the three points were there to be won and in the closing stages made three changes to pep up their attack. And Oita had a goal disallowed for a foul on keeper Ezumi, but made no mistake just two minutes before the end when Shunsuke Maeda lashed home a left-foot shot from close range.

A point was therefore thrown away when a more positive attitude could have led to Omiya getting a massively valuable win - one that would have enabled them to overtake the Kyushu side and increase the gap between themselves and relegation rivals Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Ventforet Kofu. The feeling remains that the Squirrels are not a side that cope well with a tough physical challenge and this is exactly what they need to overcome in another vital fixture at Kofu on Sunday.
【2007/11/11 17:56】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(5)
Makeshift Squirrels Crash Out Of Cup
Omiya Ardija 0-2 Yokohama FC

0-1 Takizawa (11')
0-2 Nejime (56')

GK Ogi
DF Murayama
DF Leandro
DF Hato
DF Kataoka
MF Daigo Kobayashi
MF Saeki
MF Shimada (Saito 62')
MF Hirano
FW Morita (Sakurai 68')
FW Yoshihara (Wakabayashi 71')

Subs not used:

GK Aratani
DF Tanaka
MF Hashimoto
MF Fujimoto

07 Nov 07 - Toyama

The packed stadium in sunny Toyama
【2007/11/04 14:53】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(0)
Squirrels Leapfrog Sanfrecce As Daigo Wins It
Yokohama FC 0-1 Omiya Ardija

0-1 Daigo Kobayashi (39')

GK Ezumi (7)
DF Maruyama (7)
DF Leandro (6)
DF Tomita (6)
DF Hato (7)
MF Daigo Kobayashi (9)
MF Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (7)
MF Saeki (7) (Kataoka 73') (6)
MF Fujimoto (7)
FW Morita (7) (Saito 70') (6)
FW Denis Marques (9) (Yoshihara 89')

Subs not used:

GK Ogi
DF Hirano
MF Shimada
FW Wakabayashi

29 Oct 07 - A sunny day at Mitsuzawa for the Squirrel Nation

A sunny day at Mitsuzawa for the Squirrel Nation

What a vital weekend this is in the history of Omiya Ardija. Sunday sees the opening at long last of the club's refurbished stadium with a friendly against neighbours Kashiwa Reysol, but of greater significance than that milestone was the second game in the Squirrels' current quartet of key J1 fixtures - games that will without doubt decide in which division Ardija end up playing their football next year. And the prayers of coach Satoru Sakuma are being answered, in the shape of consecutive wins for the first time all season, combined with another top drawer display from midfield maestro Daigo Kobayashi.

And although Saturday's opposition was weak, the 1-0 defeat of J2-bound Yokohama FC was arguably the Squirrels' most most comfortable win of 2007. On another day Omiya could have won by three or four goals, Daigo and also Brazilian front man Denis Marques both putting in outstanding performances in truly atrocious conditions, that often led to the ball getting stuck in pools of water.

Right up until his replacement in the dying seconds by Kota Yoshihara, Denis was, for want of a better word, a menace and ghosted past the home defence time and again with consummate ease. He hit the post with a fine drive from the left-hand side of the penalty area just before Daigo opened the scoring in the 39th minute. The crucial goal came as a result of a Yusuke Murayama cross which eluded the Sky Blues' back line and was then brilliantly chipped over Takanori Sugeno by the in-form Omiya star.

29 Oct 07 - Best of friends again, Daigo and fans

Best of friends again, Daigo and fans

The home side had several long-range efforts in the game, all of which went wide and didn't trouble keeper Koji Ezumi at all. And if anything, the second half was more one-sided than the first had been, Denis Marques in particular orchestrating some positive attacking moves. He was clean through with only the keeper to beat but his excellent right foot attempt was palmed to safety by Sugeno with no-one on hand to put in what would have been a simple rebound.

Daigo should have added his second when he flashed a header past the post from Chikara Fujimoto's cross when unmarked. But despite the missed opportunities, Ardija were never put in any real difficulty by their lacklustre opposition and the result - combined with Sanfrecce Hiroshima sensationally conceding twice in injury time to throw away a 2-0 lead - means that the Mighty Squirrels climb out of the bottom three for the first time since June. There are still twelve points to pay for, but could an unlikely escape be on the cards?
【2007/10/27 15:54】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(14)
Wakabayashi Throws A Lifeline
Omiya Ardija 1-0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

1-0 Wakabayashi (81')

GK Ezumi (7)
DF Murayama (7)
DF Leandro (7)
DF Tomita (7)
DF Hato (7)
MF Daigo Kobayashi (8)
MF Yoshiyuki Kobayashi (7)
MF Kataoka (6)
MF Fujimoto (5) (Hirano 69') (7)
FW Morita (6) (Wakabayashi 78') (7)
FW Denis Marques (7) (Saito 86')

Subs not used:

GK Ogi
DF Tanaka
FW Pedro Junior
FW Yoshihara

22 Oct 07 - Sakuma elects to field several small children

Sakuma elects to field several small children

Nine minutes from time and just three minutes after having come on as a replacement for Hiroshi Morita, Omiya Ardija super sub Manabu Wakabayashi netted a truly vital goal to claim all three points for his team against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Saturday afternoon. And it was a deserved win for the Squirrels, providing a major boost for players and fans alike in what was the last-ever Ardija game to be staged at Komaba Stadium. It also meant that Omiya overtook Ventforet Kofu to move out of the automatic relegation places, as a nailbiting final phase of the 2007 season finally got underway.

As expected, on-loan defender Yusuke Murayama stepped in for a full debut in place of the suspended Takuro Nishimura at right back. An injury to Naoya Saeki meant a return to the starting line-up for Yosuke Kataoka in central midfield, while up front Morita was partnered by Denis Marques as top scorer Kota Yoshihara had to be content with a place on the bench for the match against Squirrels bogey side Sanfrecce.

22 Oct 07 - Sakuma shouts at Ardija’s star man

Sakuma shouts at Ardija’s star man

Building on a lively opening in which Denis Marques and Daigo Kobayashi both had attempts on goal, Omiya were purposeful and energetic throughout and apart from the totally out of sorts Chikara Fujimoto, every player did themselves proud. The star of the show was Daigo, who put in a performance reminiscent of last season's form, turning up everywhere and making some excellent opportunities.

Fujimoto, however, had another wretched game in what has been for him individually a desperately disappointing season. The Omiya skipper had a free header from a tremendous Daigo cross that he put wide when only a few yards out and also struck a tame shot straight at Hiroshima keeper Takashi Shimoda from a similar position. Eventually he was taken off in favour of Takashi Hirano and shortly afterwards Wakabayashi came on to grab his third goal of the year from close range.

In contrast with the generally hard-working and committed Squirrels, Hiroshima were poor and indeed have now gone five games without picking up so much as a point. This run of results has seen them slip perilously close to the relegation zone, seemingly with no idea as to how they might bring about a change of fortune. Experienced striker Ueslei had a header ruled out for offside in the first half and they hit the bar after the interval, which caught everyone - especially Omiya keeper Koji Ezumi - by surprise. The subsequent rebound drifted harmlessly to safety, taking with it the visitors' chances of taking any points from the game.

22 Oct 07 - Wakabayashi receives the congratulations of the Squirrel Nation

Wakabayashi receives the congratulations of the Squirrel Nation

The reaction to Wakabayashi's goal from a noisy crowd of just over 11,000 was a mixture of relief and ecstasy and, unlike other games this season, Ardija held on to win. With the big four games against Omiya's relegation rivals now underway, from here on in - things could get interesting.
【2007/10/20 15:50】 2007 Match Reports | TRACKBACK(0) | COMMENT(10)
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