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J.LEAGUE PLAYBACK Watch the best 20 matches of 2019 in full!

Starting on May 9, the J.League official SNS will stream 2019 season's full matches. (*Unavailable in some regions including Japan)

These 20 best matches will be rerun.

Watch them here!

J.League Official YouTube account (International)
https://www.youtube.com/jleagueinternational
J.League Official facebook account (English)
https://www.facebook.com/jleagueofficial.English/
J.League Official facebook account (Thai)
https://www.facebook.com/jleagueofficial.Thai/

1.Yokohama F・Marinos show their incredible attacking ability on the opening match of the 2019 season!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/022307/live/

2.Anderson Lopes with an incredible four-goal haul!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/030901/live/

3.Thai stars Chanathip and Thitiphan face each other!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/040601/live/

4.Chanathip scores his first goal in this match!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/042001/live/

5.A winner in the additional time! Sendai striker scores a dramatic goal against his former club

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/042807/live/

6.A golazo by Leandro Damião! Kawasaki beat Shimizu

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/051204/live/

7.Shonan complete an incredible comeback!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/051703/live/

8.Villa and Iniesta each score a brace!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/063001/live/

9.An equalizer in the additional time! Yoshifumi Kashiwa nets two goals

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/063014/live/

10.Torres scores a brace in his first match after announcing his planned retirement

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/063005/live/

11.Douglas helps Shimizu beat Kobe, despite Villa's beautiful goal

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/070602/live/

12.Jay displays his world-class aerial strength

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/072001/live/

13.Iniesta scores in the Hanshin derby!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/080201/live/

14.Sapporo beat Shimizu with a goal show! Chanathip scores a brace

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/081701/live/

15.Torres' final match. Watch his countryman Iniesta's beautiful skill!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/082301/live/

16.The beginning of Yokohama F・Marinos' incredible streak! New signing Erik shows a stunning bicyle kick!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/082402/live/

17.Theerathon scores his first J.League goal!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/083102/live/

18.Cerezo win the intense Osaka derby

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/092810/live/

19.Unstoppable speed! 'MVP' Nakagawa scores an incredible goal!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/110907/live/

20.The final showdown between the top two teams! Yokohama F・Marinos become champions for the first time in 15 years!

Match Stats
https://www.jleague.jp/en/match/j1/2019/120703/live/

 

J.LEAGUE News

Change of competition format of the 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE

J.LEAGUE announced the format details of the 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE after the extraordinary board of directors held today.

■2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE League Format
【Promotion/Relegation Rule】
1. Clubs finishing in first and second place of the J2 LEAGUE will be automatically promoted to the J1 LEAGUE and J1/J2 Play-Offs will not be held.
2. Clubs finishing in first and second place of the J3 LEAGUE will be automatically promoted to the J2 LEAGUE.
3. If either of the top two finishers do not possess a requisite license, promotion will not carry down to any clubs in third place or below.
4. The above rules apply only when each category holds more than 75% of its total matches and 50% of each team's games. However, it may be further discussed at the board of directors to meet a contingency.
5. If the above criteria are not met, the season will not be considered as completed. The ranking in each category will not be determined and there will be no promotion. Hence in the 2021 season, the number of clubs in each category will be 18-20 clubs for J1, 20-24 clubs for J2 and 14-18 clubs for J3.

【Prize Money and Awards】
1. If the season is not completed, prize money will not be paid and awards and presentation ceremonies will not be held.
2. If the season is not completed, scoresheets of the matches will be used as reference data. Player's stats (appearances, goals, etc.) will be counted as records.

 

J.LEAGUE News

J.LEAGUE to Change Format in the 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE

J.LEAGUE decided to change format in the 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE and apply exceptional rules for promotion/relegation in all categories after the board of directors held on 17 March and the extraordinary executive committee held today.

Further announcements of when to resume and details on league format and match schedules will be made on 25 March.

■2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE League Format

Apply exceptional rules below for promotion/relegation after resume (in all J1, J2 and J3 category)
Promotion
    *No promotion in J1
    *2 clubs promote from J2 to J1
    *2 clubs promote from J3 to J2
     (number of clubs to promote may change due to licensing regulations)
Relegation
    *No relegations

Comment by J.LEAGUE Chairman Mitsuru Murai

“Including the committee held today, the league has had many thorough discussions in the past weeks. We may face circumstances or unfairness when we resume, such as in the use of home stadiums, tight schedules and in difference in # of home/away matches, but the decision was unanimously made among our members with determination to continue playing football by avoiding relegations.” 

 

J1 LEAGUE

Season opener’s throwback, with manager’s comments – Postecoglou analyzes Yokohama FM’s defeat

The new season of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicked off on February 23. The defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos hosted Gamba Osaka.

The home side was hoping for a good start to defend the title, but conceded in the 6th minute and again in the 34th. F.Marinos were dominant in the second half and Marcos Junior halved the deficit in the 74th, but could not find an equalizer and ended up losing 2-1.

“We conceded within 10 minutes. After that, the players re-focused and many things went well. We created many chances, but ended with a regrettable result”

As manager Ange Postecoglou said after the match, giving away a goal early affected the whole game plan.

Shu Kurata’s first goal of the game was a result of poor passing between a Yokohama defender and the goalkeeper. That is a risk that comes with their style of football, in which they build up from the back. Gamba’s second goal came as the visitors took advantage of F.Marinos’ high defensive line.

However, the manager spoke of the game positively. “We created a lot of chances and the players did well”. Indeed, Yokohama showed their attacking style of football and overwhelmed the opponents, especially in the second half.

“Whether we’re winning or losing, it’s not an option for me to change [the play-style]. The most important thing is how we start. We learned today that we have to fight from the very beginning.”

While they need to improve their approach to the game, the Yokohama boss made it clear that they are sticking with the attacking style that won them the J1 title.

 

 

J1 LEAGUE

Season opener’s throwback, with manager’s comments – The reason why Gamba overcame defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos

A season opener away, facing the defending champions was a tough fixture for Gamba Osaka; however, they dealt very well with Yokohama F.Marinos and managed to snatch a 2-1 victory. 

“We thought about how to beat F.Marinos both in defensive and offensive phases. I don’t need to go into details, I think we showed it during the game.”

As manager Tsunayasu Miyamto said in his post-match comments, Gamba’s plan worked out smoothly.

Shu Kurata’s first goal in the 6th minute came from an opponents’ mistake which was a result of Gamba’s high pressing. Shinya Yajima’s second goal in the 34th minute was created by beating Yokohama’s high line through a long pass and sprint from the midfield.

They were both good examples of how to overcome Yokohama. Miyamoto’s smart planning and the players’ excellent execution both deserve praise.

The presence of Yasuhito “Yatto” Endo, who tied the J1 record of most appearances (631 matches), was also important. Playing at the bottom of the midfield, he soothed down the game when Yokohama were dominant, while also directing Gamba’s attacks.

Miyamoto praised his performance after the game. “I thought Yatto could slow down the game and he did exactly that. We needed Yatto mainly for creating time to prepare for attacking. I thought it would be difficult for him to play the whole 90 minutes, but he did well. He controlled the game using his experience”

The 40-year-old midfielder will remain an important player for Gamba Osaka this season.

 

 

J1 LEAGUE

Who will be this season's Top Scorer? Introducing the candidates! (Part 2)

There are other strikers to watch besides Teruhito Nakagawa and Diego Oliveira.

Douglas, who joined Vissel Kobe from Shimizu S-Pulse, is one of them. He scored 21 goals in 2015 to help Sanfrecce Hiroshima win the league, and after playing in UAE and Turkey, he joined Shimizu S-Pulse in the summer of 2018. The Brazilian striker scored 11 goals in 15 appearances that season, and helped his team avoid relegation by scoring 14 goals last year.

Despite his relatively small size, he has great skills and shows his strength in diverse situations. His powerful left-foot shots and headers earned him a total of 46 J1 goals so far.

This year he also has excellent support from his teammates. Andres Iniesta in partucilar is a great help for any striker, and in fact Douglas already scored a goal against Yokohama F.Marinos in the FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP, thanks to the Spanish midfielder. If Douglas and Iniesta can build a good partnership it would mean a lot of scoring opportunities.

Sapporo’s Musashi Suzuki is another player to watch. He has been attracting attention from a young age, but did not fulfill the promises during his days at Albirex Niigata. Finally, in 2018, he netted 11 goals at V-Varen Nagasaki followed by 13 goals in the past season at Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. His performance was also rewarded with a call up to the Japanese national team.

His strength is speed. He beats the defensive line with his explosive sprint before finishing with accurate shots. He already had a good start of the season, scoring a goal in the season opener at Kashiwa Reysol. The 26-year-old is still developing, and it won’t be a surprise if he ends up winning the title of top scorer.

 

 

 

J1 LEAGUE

Who will be this season's Top Scorer? Introducing the candidates! (Part 1)

This season’s MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicked off on February 21. The race for the top scorer promises to be very interesting.

Last year, Teruhito Nakagawa and Marcos Junior shared the honor as they managed to score 15 goals each. It was the first time in J.League history that two players from the same team became the top scorers. The attacking duo of the defending champions can lead the race this season too.

Especially Nakagawa deserves attention. His performance in 2019 resulted in many goals which led the team to the title. He was genuinely impressive and as a result he was awarded the season’s MVP prize. 

Nakagawa’s typical goal is scored with his left foot, after cutting in from the right flank with a speedy dribbling. He can also dash into the box and finish off a cross, as well as find the net with a header even though he is only 161 cm tall. Since other teams are now more aware of his capability, it would be interesting to see whether he can keep up last year’s impressive form.

FC Tokyo’s Diego Oliveira is another strong candidate. His goal record has been consistent in Tokyo, with 13 goals in 2018 and 14 in 2019. His team is counting on a similar or even better performance this season.

The Brazilian combines speed and power, in addition to great skills. His powerful sprints make him the perfect target-man to complete FC Tokyo’s short counter-attacks.

The attacking trio, which also includes new signings Leandro and Adailton is possibly one of the deadliest in the league, and, supported by his new team-mates, Diego Oliveira might be able to focus on finishing even more than in the past season. If wingers can penetrate into the box area often and earn penalty kicks, he could also have more opportunities to score from the spot.

 

 

 

J.LEAGUE News

Postponement of 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE and J.LEAGUE YBC Levain Cup in between 28th February and 15th March

Following the postponement of the J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP on the 26th February, J.LEAGUE will also postpone all J.LEAGUE matches scheduled in between 28th February and 15th March.

The decision has been made at the Board of Directors held today, considering the statement made by the experts on a government panel that the upcoming one to two weeks are critical to prevent clusters of the new coronavirus from further spreading.

J.LEAGUE will take every effort to take measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and to prepare to resume the matches. Substitutional dates and handling of tickets will be announced once decided.

■Matches postponed

  Sec. Date # of matches
2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE 2nd sec. Friday, 28th February
Saturday, 29th February
Sunday, 1st March
9
3rd sec. Saturday, 7th March
Sunday, 8th March
9
4th sec. Friday, 13th March
Saturday, 14th March
9
2020 MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE 2nd sec. Saturday, 29th February
Sunday, 1st March
11
3rd sec. Saturday, 7th March
Sunday, 8th March
11
4th sec. Saturday, 14th March
Sunday, 15th March
11
2020 MEIJI YASUDA J3 LEAGUE 1st sec. Saturday, 7th March
Sunday, 8th March
9
2nd sec. Saturday, 14th March
Sunday, 15th March
9
2020 J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP Group Stage 2nd sec. Wednesday, 26th February*
Wednesday, 11th March
8
Group Stage 3rd sec. Wednesday, 4th March 8

*previously announced

J1 LEAGUE

Gamba defeat defending champions Yokohama FM! Newly promoted Kashiwa score four goals!

The new season of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE kicked off on February 21.

Shonan Bellmare were the dominant side in the early phases of the opening match against Urawa Reds, and Naoki Ishihara opened his account in the 7th minute. However, Urawa gradually picked up pace and took the lead after Shinzo Koroki and new signing Leonardo found the net respectively in the 39th and 42nd minute.

Shonan fought back in the second half and Naoki Yamada’s header equalized for the home side in the 65th minute. Finally in the 85th minute, Takahiro Sekine finished from a counter attack and Urawa snatched a 3-2 win.

Four games took place on Saturday and Kashiwa Reysol beat Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo to claim their first victory after returning to J1.

Kashiwa took an early lead at home thanks to Ataru Esaka scoring in the 13th minute and Olunga doubling the advantage in the 20th minute. They each added another goal in the second half, and although Sapporo eventually halved their lead, the newly promoted side won 4-2.

Cerezo Osaka hosted Oita Trinita and kept a clean sheet, the winner coming from Bruno Mendes in the 8th minute. Vegalta Sendai drew 1-1 with Nagoya Grampus with Simão Mate’s goal in the 18th minute being canceled out by Hiroyuki Abe in the 34th. Kawasaki Frontale and Sagan Tosu could not manage to net a winning goal in a scoreless draw.

Another 4 games were played on Sunday and defending champions Yokohama FM started their campaign with a defeat at the hands of Gamba Osaka.

Gamba capitalized on their opponents’ mistake to take an early lead, and extended their advantage in the 34th minute, beating the home side’s high defensive line. Yokohama bossed the second half and Marcos Júnior scored his first J1 goal of the season in the 74th minute, but the champions ended up losing 2-1 at home.

FC Tokyo traveled to Shizuoka to meet Shimizu S-Pulse. Although it was the home side that took the lead early in the second half with Teerasil Dangda’s goal, Diego Oliveira equalized by scoring a penalty in the 77th minute and Adailton completed the comeback three minutes later. Leandro added another goal to secure a 3-1 win.

Douglas Vieira scored the first goal in the 20th minute for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who faced Kashima Antlers at home. Leandro Pereira and Tsukasa Morishima each added a goal in the 25th and 84th minute to help the team claim a 3-0 victory. 

Finally, Yokohama FC managed to take the lead in Kobe when Tatsuki Seko scored in the 24th minute. But Vissel dominated the game and found an equalizer in the 74th minute. As a result, Yokohama picked up a precious point on the road, but could not start their first J1 season in 13 years with a win.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The 2020 season finally kicks off! Defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos face Gamba Osaka while Yokohama FC make their first J1 appearance in 13 years against Emperor’s Cup winners Vissel Kobe

A new season of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League begins on February 21. Can Yokohama F.Marinos defend their title? Will the two newly promoted clubs thrive in J1? Young talents are also under the spotlight ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. 

The opening match is a clash between Shonan Bellmare and Urawa Reds. Shonan lost several regulars this winter, but they shook off some of the concerns by beating Oita Trinita in the Levain Cup last week. The new 4-4-2 system and the performance of new signing Leonardo will be talking points for Urawa.

Defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos meet Gamba Osaka at home. They lost to Vissel Kobe at penalties in the FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP, but defeated South Korean and Australian champions in the AFC Champions League. They are eager to show their entertaining football on the domestic stage as well. Gamba also have great firepower in Takashi Usami and Ademilson. New signing Gen Shoji could make an appearance.

Last year’s runners-up FC Tokyo face Shimizu S-Pulse away. Adding Leandro and Adailton to the squad, they already had a good start in the ACL. The performance of the Brazilian trio that also includes Diego Oliveira will be a key. Shimizu are trying to develop their new style of possession football under new manager Peter Cklamovski.

Kashiwa Reysol, after comfortably winning J2 last year, have their first game back in J1 at home against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. In addition to the powerful duo formed by Olunga and Cristiano, they reinforced each position with reliable players. Their goal is to repeat the 2011 season when they won the league immediately following a return in the top division. Sapporo did not see a major change to their squad and will continue on their way in the third year under Mihailo Petrovic.

Yokohama FC return to J1 for the first time in 13 years and open away at Vissel Kobe. They feature a mix of young talents as well as experienced players. With organized defense and aggressive attack, they challenge one of the most talented squad in the league. Meanwhile, Kobe are already on fire this season, winning all three official matches so far. New signing Douglas is in top form, and last season’s key players including Iniesta displayed already consistent performances. To achieve the goal of winning the league for the first time, they need a great start in their J1 campaign.

This is Vegalta Sendai’s first season under new manager Takashi Kiyama. Due to a number of injured players, including Isaac Cuenca, expectations fall on attackers such as Shuhei Akasaki. The opponents Nagoya reinforced the squad by adding Hiroyuki Abe and Sho Inagaki among others. Although Jô will miss the opening match due to injury, last year’s leading scorer for Grampus, Naoki Maeda, has what it takes to make a difference.

Kawasaki Frontale begin their journey to win back the title at home against Sagan Tosu. New attacking trio showed their strength in the Levain Cup and will be dangerous in the opening match as well. Tosu aspire to play a more attacking style of football this season, and have a new weapon in new signing Tomoya Koyamatsu’s dribbling.

Cerezo Osaka meet Oita Trinita at home. The Osakans had the best defense in the league last season, and added Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Yuta Toyokawa to improve their offensive quality. They want to take advantage of the momentum after beating Matsumoto Yamaga 4-1 in the Levain Cup. Oita reinforced their attacking force by signing Kei Chinen and Daiki Watari. Since both teams boast solid defensive units, it could be a game in which a single goal makes the difference.

Finally, Sanfrecce Hioshima host Kashima Antlers. Since the home side did not make any big signing this winter, youngsters such as Keisuke Osako and Tsukasa Morishima, who had a breakthrough last year, are expected to play even more important roles. Toshihiro Aoyama is in a fine form and ready for the opening match. Meanwhile, it will be a year of change for Kashima under new manager Zago. They reinforced the squad by adding many new players such as Ryuji Izumi and Tatsuki Naga. However, defeats in the ACL playoff and last week’s Levain Cup might suggest that it will take some time for their new style to start working as hoped.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The J1 opening day is around the corner! Let’s look at the key players of all teams! (Kashima, FC-Tokyo, Yokohama F・M)

The 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicks off on February 21.
Ahead of the opening day, let’s look at the key player of all 18 teams.

In this final installment, we look at the players to watch for title contenders Kashima Antlers, FC Tokyo and Yokohama F.Marinos.

■Kashima Antlers
Achievements in 2019
J1: 3rd place
Levain Cup: Semifinals

・Player to watch
FW 36 Ayase Ueda
The youngster joined Kashima from a university team last season, two years ahead of the schedule, and already scored four goals in 13 appearances.  The U-23 Japanese international, aiming to make a big impact at the Tokyo Olympics, is a typical striker who intelligently overcomes defenders with great positioning and quickness.

■FC Tokyo
Achievements in 2019
J1: 2nd place
Levain Cup: Quarterfinals

・Player to watch
FW 9 Diego Oliveira
An all-round striker, gifted with strength, speed and skill. He had the best season of his career last year, scoring 14 goals and helping the team to fight for the title. His dynamic sprints towards the goal are a nightmare for defenders, and he doesn’t neglect to contribute when the team needs to defend.

■Yokohama F.Marinos
Achievements in 2019
J1: Champions
Levain Cup: Group stage

・Player to watch
FW 23 Teruhito Nakagawa
The last season’s top scorer was also selected in the Team of the Year and awarded the MVP. He is now the absolute star of the reigning champions. With skillful dribbling that shred the opponents’ defense, accurate crosses and deadly shots, Nakagawa is marked to make a difference this season as well.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The J1 opening day is around the corner! Let’s look at the key players of all teams! (Hiroshima, C-Osaka, Kawasaki-F)

The 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicks off on February 21.
Ahead of the opening day, let’s look at the key player of all 18 teams.

This fifth installment looks at the key players of last season’s League Cup winners Kawasaki Frontale as well as Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Cerezo Osaka.

■Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Achievements in 2019
J1: 6th place
Levain Cup: Quarterfinals

・Player to watch
MF 14 Ezequiel
The new signing from Brazilian side Botafogo boasts excellent speed and skill. He plays on the flanks or behind a striker, and likes to torment the opposition’s defenders with his dribbling. If the 21 year old can get adjusted well to Japan, he might have a breakthrough this season.

■Cerezo Osaka
Achievements in 2019
J1: 5th place
Levain Cup: Playoff stage

・Player to watch
MF 10 Hiroshi Kiyotake
The experienced attacker who played for German side Nürnberg and Sevilla in LaLiga has been struggling with injuries since he returned to Cerezo three years ago. Still, he is one of the most talented players in Japan, and hopefully this could be the year of his comeback.

■Kawasaki Frontale
Achievements in 2019
J1: 4th place
Levain Cup: Winners

・Player to watch
MF 10 Ryota Oshima
Oshima has become the playmaker who directs Kawasaki’s attacks. After the past season, during which he often endured several injuries, he is eager to contribute more in 2020. In addition to extraordinary passing in the midfield, he is expected to increase his presence in the final third of the pitch.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The J1 opening day is around the corner! Let’s look at the key players of all teams! (Oita, Kobe, G-Osaka)

The 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicks off on February 21.
Ahead of the opening day, let’s look at the key player of all 18 teams.

This Installment edition looks at Oita Trinita, Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe, the club that features Iniesta.

■Oita Trinita
Achievements in 2019
J1:9th place
Levain Cup: Group stage

・Player to watch
FW 9 Kei Chinen
The physically-gifted striker who joined from Kawasaki Frontale this season will threaten the opposition by sneaking into the box and unleashing powerful strikes. He is also good at helping his teammates to keep the ball in the opponents’ half by taking advantage of his physical strength. Oita need big performances from him to improve their attacking power.

■Vissel Kobe
Achievements in 2019
J1:8th place
Levain Cup: Group stage

・Player to watch
MF 8 Andres Iniesta
A world-class superstar who won a countless number of titles with FC Barcelona and Spain. He is an absolutely unique player who can fascinate the fans with a single pass or touch. In particular, his superb through passes are once again guaranteed to surprise fans this season.

■Gamba Osaka
Achievements in 2019
J1:7th place
Levain Cup: Semifinals

・Player to watch
FW 33 Takashi Usami
Gamba Osaka’s star has already a rich career, after playing overseas for several years since joining German giants Bayern Munich at the age of 19. His signature moves are speedy dribbling and bold shots. He returned to Gamba for the second time during the past season and scored several goals towards the end of the year. His contribution will be essential for Gamba in order to clinch a title.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The J1 opening day is around the corner! Let’s look at the key players of all teams! (Shimizu, Sendai, Sapporo)

The 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicks off on February 21.
Ahead of the opening day, let’s look at the key player of all 18 teams.

This third installment looks at Shimizu S-Pulse, Vegalta Sendai and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, the clubs that finished between 12th and 10th places last season.

■Shimizu S-Pulse
Achievements in 2019
J1: 12th place
Levain Cup: Group stage

・Player to watch
FW 23 Teerasil Dangda
Thailand’s hero has earned more than 100 caps for his country, and his excellent skills and physical strength enable him to support his teammates as well as to deliver accurate shots. He played for Sanfrecce two years ago and in Hiroshima scored six goals.

■Vegalta Sendai
Achievements in 2019
J1:11th place
Levain Cup: Playoff stage

・Player to watch
DF 23 Simão Mate
A strong center back from Mozambique, Simão Mate has a wide range of defensive qualities. He can also play in the midfield and his strength in the air makes it difficult to beat him on high balls. He was appointed team captain for this season.

■Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo
Achievements in 2019
J1:10th place
Levain Cup: Runners-up

・Player to watch
MF 18 Chanathip
The Thai star features all-round offensive skills: great dribbling, passing and shooting. Despite being less than 160cm tall, his magical playstyle often overwhelms even the strongest defenders. He is a crucial part of Sapporo’s attack and a lot will depend on his performance.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The J1 opening day is around the corner! Let’s look at the key players of all teams! (Tosu, Urawa, Nagoya)

The 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicks off on February 21.
Ahead of the opening day, let’s look at the key player of all 18 teams.

In this second installment, we look at the three teams who struggled last year and aim for a better season; Tosu, Urawa and Nagoya.

■Sagan Tosu
Achievements in 2019
J1: 15th place
Levain Cup: Group Stage

・Player to watch
FW 44 Mu Kanazaki
A striker who has played in Germany and Portugal, once he receives the ball, usually points straight towards the goal to unleash powerful shots. In addition, his physical strength enables him to be the focal point of the attack, and he works hard as an extra defender as well. After scoring the most goals (7) for his team last season, expectations are high for him to go double-digit in 2020.

■Urawa Reds
Achievements in 2019
J1: 14th place
Levain Cup: Group Stage

・Player to watch
FW 45 Leonardo
Despite being only 22yo, and having a lot of room for improvement, the Brazilian striker was crowned top scorer for two years in a row. First at J3’s Gainare Tottori in 2018, and then with J2’s Albirex Niigata in 2019. He is aiming to net 23 goals in his first J1 season to become the top scorer in three different categories in three years.

■ Nagoya Grampus
Achievements in 2019
J1: 13th place
Levain Cup: Quarterfinals

・Player to watch
FW 25 Naoki Maeda
A left-footed attacker characterized by lightning-fast dribbling and powerful shots. He scored 9 goals last season, more than any of his teammates. His quickness reminds of former Dutch international Arjen Robben as he often cuts in from the right flank and explodes powerful shot with his left foot. Expectations are high for him to be the core of Nagoya’s attack.

 

J1 LEAGUE

The J1 opening day is around the corner! Let’s look at the key players of all teams! (Yokohama FC, Kashiwa, Shonan)

The 2020 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicks off on February 21.
Ahead of the opening day, let’s look at the key player of all 18 teams.

In this first installment, we look at the two newly-promoted sides as well as Shonan Bellmare, the team that finished at the 16th place last season.

■Yokohama FC
Achievements in 2019
J2: 2nd place (Promoted to J1)
Levain Cup: Did not participate

・Player to watch
MF 46 Shunsuke Nakamura
The Japanese legend is known well around the globe as a great free-kicks taker, and scored twice against Manchester United when he played for Celtic (Scotland). Even though he is now 41, his excellent passing and accurate free-kicks’ skills are intact. There are some concerns over his condition, but we are likely to see him play against Iniesta on the opening day!

■Kashiwa Reysol
Achievements in 2019
J2: 1st place (Promoted to J1)
Levain Cup: Group Stage

・Player to watch
FW 14 Olunga
A Kenyan international striker who boasts incredible physical attributes. J2 defenders could not handle his aerial strength and speed last season. In a historical performance, in the past season he scored 8 goals in one game against Kyoto Sanga on the final match-day proving that he is more than ready to succeed in J1.

■Shonan Bellmare
Achievements in 2019
J1: 16th place
Levain Cup: Group Stage

・Player to watch
MF 16 Mitsuki Saito
A “midfield dynamo” who could be a star of the Tokyo Olympics this summer as part of U-23 Japan. He wins balls, has seemingly endless stamina and great reading of the game. Another of his skills are speeding up the attack with accurate passes to the forwards. He plays an important role both in defense and offence and often displays powerful long shots.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Yokohama F.Marinos clinch J1 League for the fourth time after a 15 years hiatus!

The final round of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League took place on December 7, and Yokohama F.Marinos lifted the trophy after beating FC Tokyo.

The largest crowd in J1 history, 63,854 spectators, gathered for the historical match between table leaders Yokohama F.Marinos and second-place FC Tokyo.

Yokohama had a huge initial advantage, as a three-point advantage in the table and a better goal difference meant they could have claimed the title even by losing by three. Things got even better for them when Thai international Theerathon scored the first goal in the 26th minute. Brazilian striker Erik added another before the end of the half and the home side returned to the locker room with a two-goal lead.

Goalkeeper Park Iru-gyu was sent off in the 67th minute, but 22-year-old Japanese international winger Keita Endo scored the third goal from a counterattack some ten minutes later. Yokohama kept a clean sheet and the game ended with a 3-0 result.

F.Marinos reached 70 points after beating their direct rivals and clinched their fourth league title, the first since 2004.

Second-place FC Tokyo and third-place Kashima Antlers qualified for next season’s AFC Champions League. Seventeenth-place Matsumoto Yamaga and eighteenth-place Jubilo Iwata were relegated to J2, while sixteenth-place Shonan Bellmare will play in the play-off against a J2 side, in hope of staying up in J1.

 

J1 LEAGUE

David Villa announces retirement [Vissel Kobe]

Vissel Kobe have announced on November 13 that David Villa will retire at the end of the current season.

The Spanish striker made his professional debut at Sporting Gijón in 2001 and went on to play for Real Zaragoza, Valencia CF, FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, before moving to New York City FC in 2014 and finally joining Vissel Kobe this season.

In addition to winning the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League with FC Barcelona, Villa won the Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA Word Cup, and was the top scorer of both competitions. He is also the all-time record goal scorer of the Spanish national team with 59 goals. In the Meiji Yasuda J1 League, he claimed 12 goals in 26 appearances (as of Round 31).

A retirement ceremony will be held after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Round 34 match against Jubilo Iwata, on December 7.

 

J.LEAGUE News

2019 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE Matches to be distributed in more than 140 countries and regions through “Rakuten Sports”

J.LEAGUE announced today that the 2019 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE matches will be available for viewing in more than 140 countries and regions via Rakuten’s new live streaming, video on demand service, Rakuten Sports.

The matches will now be enjoyed by over 150 countries and regions with the start of Rakuten Sports.

The international superstars like Andrés Iniesta (Vissel Kobe) and Fernando Torres (Sagan Tosu) now playing in the league has raised attention from fans around the world, and it was one of the incentives to start the distribution. With the new platform, it enables J.LEAGUE to be enjoyed by a wider international audience.

【Watch 2019 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE through Rakuten Sports】

■Platform:
Rakuten Sports
URL:https://sports.rakuten.com

■Match schedule:
2019 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE(3 matches per round)

■Available from:
Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

■Licensed Territories:
More than 140 countries and regions worldwide, excluding the following: Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chad, China, Croatia, Djibouti, Egypt, FYR Macedonia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Mauritania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States and Yemen.
*More contents are scheduled to be distributed going forward.

【About Rakuten Sports】
Rakuten Sports is a global live streaming, video on demand service that powers the 2019 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE matches on live and video on demand, and also distributes exclusive video contents about football such as about Andrés Iniesta, who plays for Vissel Kobe, the Rakuten Group’s J1 football club.

<Reference> Countries and regions J.LEAGUE is available through other broadcasters/channels
 (as of 11th June, 2019)

No Broadcaster Country
1 i-Cable Sports Limited Hong Kong
2 Cineplex Company Limited (TrueVision) Thailand
3 Teledifusao De Macau S.A (TDM) Macau
4 China Sports Media Limited (CSM) China
5 Measat Broadcasting Network Systems Sdn Bhd (Astro) Brunei, Malaysia
6 United Media SARL (SportKlub) Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia,
Slovenia
7 Sportdigital Tv Sende-Und Producktion
GMBH
Austria, Germany, Switzerland
8 Perform Media Channels (DAZN) USA, Canada

 

 

J1 LEAGUE

Vissel Kobe’s newest player David Villa arrives in Japan! [Press Conference Report]

On Dec. 1, Vissel Kobe announced the signing of Spain international David Villa. On the same day, Villa and club chairman Hiroshi Mikitani appeared together at a Noevir Stadium press conference.

During a question-and-answer session, Villa discussed his reasons for joining Kobe.

“First off I’m grateful to chairman Mikitani and everyone in the Vissel Kobe staff. I’m really happy to be joining this club. I want to use everything I’ve been capable of thus far in my career to bring Vissel to new heights. I hope that I can adjust to our style of football quickly and contribute to our results from the start of the season. Finally I’m grateful that I’ve been received so warmly by the club, its supporters, and everyone in Japan. I hope I can somehow return the favor.”

Here’s what Mr. Mikitani had to say:

“What I remember most is his game-winning goal in the UEFA Champions League final, and how he’s such a natural goal-scorer. He’s also a leader. I’m excited that we have three of the world’s best players at Vissel Kobe. We want to play attractive and strong Vissel-style football.

Q&A

-- What was your biggest reason for choosing Vissel Kobe?

“Throughout my career, whenever I’ve had to make a big decision I’ve always paid attention to how the club welcomes me. I’ve felt that warm welcome from so many Vissel staffers, and I feel like I can become a part of this project. It’s also a very attractive proposition to play with Andres Iniesta, who embodies the kind of football they want to accomplish.

-- Did you consult with Iniesta when you made the decision?

“When the offer came I called him. He told me how great a time he’s having in Kobe, how great the club is, and how great the project is, and I got a good feeling from that. I was really excited to be able to play again with my good friend of so many years.

-- What was your impression of today’s match and the stadium atmosphere?

“I thought it was a great match. Vissel controlled the initiative and created lots of chances. It was fun to watch. I can’t wait to start playing with this team next season, and I’m happy I was able to greet my new teammates.”