Omiya Ardija's topsy turvy season took a turn for the better after the three points from Saturday's 2-0 win over Tokyo Verdy took the Squirrels up to the dizzy heights of seventh place - amazingly just four points off top spot, with nearly half the season completed. And it was a deserved triumph against a team that rarely stopped moaning for long enough to get on with the business of trying to win the match. The main culprits were the Brazilian trio of Diego, Leandro and Hulk, the latter in particular giving a world-class - one might almost say Washingtonian - display of child-like petulance.
But an Ardija side lacking skipper Yoshiyuki Kobayashi in midfield opened the scoring early through a "daisy cutter" from Denis Marques. He saw Verdy keeper Yoichi Doi out of position and let fly from 25 yards: 1-0 to the Squirrels. After such a dramatic opening, the rest of the first half was somewhat uneventful, although Omiya had a lucky escape when former Ardija defender Yukio Tsuchiya almost pulled the Green Machine level, heading against the post after being unmarked from a corner.
The Squirrels nevertheless made it 2-0 after the break through Denis the menace. Omiya's star man tormented the Verdy back line all game and got his second after a nice set-up from Chikara Fujimoto left him with the relatively easy chance of side-footing diagonally past Doi from inside the area. Subsequently there were few real problems for Ardija and Daigo Kobayashi, Naoya Saeki and Masato Saito all put in impressive displays in midfield. However, as has been the case in many games this season Denis Marques was simply in a different class.