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J.LEAGUE News

2021 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE Opening match fixtures

J.LEAGUE has announced the opening match fixtures for the 2021 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE have confirmed as below. The kick-off time and broadcasting details will be announced on 22nd January.

【2021 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE】

■Opening match(1st Sec.)

Date Fixture Venue
Friday 26 February Kawasaki Frontale vs Yokohama F・Marinos Todoroki


■1st Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Saturday 27 February Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo vs Yokohama FC Sapporo.D
Kashima Antlers vs Shimizu S-Pulse Kashima
Urawa Reds vs F.C.Tokyo Saitama.S
Shonan Bellmare vs Sagan Tosu LemonSHiratsuka
Cerezo Osaka vs Kashiwa Reysol YANMAR STADIUM
Vissel Kobe vs Gamba Osaka NOEVIR.S
Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Vegalta Sendai EDION Stadium.H
Oita Trinita vs Tokushima Vortis SHOWA DENKO.D
Sunday 28 February Avispa Fukuoka vs Nagoya Grampus BEST-STA


■11th Sec.※

Date Fixture Venue
Wednesday 3 March Nagoya Grampus vs Gamba Osaka Toyota.S


■2nd Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Saturday 6 March Vegalta Sendai vs Kawasaki Frontale Yurtec.S
Kashiwa Reysol vs Shonan Bellmare SANKYO FKashiwa
F.C.Tokyo vs Cerezo Osaka Ajinomoto
Yokohama FC vs Oita Trinita NHK SPRING .F
Shimizu S-Pulse vs Avispa Fukuoka IAI.S
Gamba Osaka vs Kashima Antlers Pana.S
Tokushima Vortis vs Vissel Kobe POCARI SWEAT.S
Sagan Tosu vs Urawa Reds EKI.S
Sunday 7 March Yokohama F・Marinos vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima Nissan.S

※The 11th Sec. will be held in March due to the adjustment to the AFC Champions League 2021 schedule.

【2021 MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE】

■1st Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Saturday 27 February Giravanz Kitakyushu vs Albirex Niigata MIKUNI.S
V・Varen Nagasaki vs Zweigen Kanazawa trasta
Sunday 28 February Mito Hollyhock vs Omiya Ardija K's denki.S
Tochigi SC vs Fagiano Okayama kanseki.S
Thespakusatsu Gunma vs Blaublitz Akita Shoda.S
JEF United Chiba vs Ventforet Kofu Fukuda.A
Tokyo Verdy vs Ehime FC Ajinomoto
FC Machida Zelvia vs Montedio Yamagata Machida GION S.
S.C. Sagamihara vs Kyoto Sanga F.C. GION STADIUM
Renofa Yamaguchi FC vs Matsumoto Yamaga F.C. Me-Life Stadium
FC Ryukyu vs Jubilo Iwata Tapic Stadium


■2nd Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Saturday 6 March Omiya Ardija vs Ventforet Kofu NACK5.S
Albirex Niigata vs V・Varen Nagasaki DENKA BIG SWAN
Jubilo Iwata vs FC Machida Zelvia Yamaha
Sunday 7 March Kyoto Sanga F.C. vs Matsumoto Yamaga F.C. SANGA S
Fagiano Okayama vs Zweigen Kanazawa CITY LIGHT S.
Ehime FC vs JEF United Chiba Ningineer.S


■3rd Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Sunday 14 March Ventforet Kofu vs Tochigi SC Yamanashibank.S
Matsumoto Yamaga F.C. vs Montedio Yamagata SUNAL
Zweigen Kanazawa vs Giravanz Kitakyushu Ishikawaseibu.S


■4th Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Sunday 21 March Montedio Yamagata vs Tochigi SC ND.S


■5th Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Sunday 28 March Blaublitz Akita vs Kyoto Sanga F.C. SOYU.S


【2021 MEIJI YASUDA J3 LEAGUE】

■1st Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Sunday 14 March Fukushima United FC vs Fujieda MYFC TOHO S.
Y.S.C.C. Yokohama vs Kataller Toyama NHK SPRING .F
FC Gifu vs Vanraure Hachinohe Nagaragawa
Kamatamare Sanuki vs AC Nagano Parceiro Pikara Stadium
FC Imabari vs Roasso Kumamoto YUMESTA
Tegevajaro Miyazaki vs Iwate Grulla Morioka UniSta
Kagoshima United FC vs Gainare Tottori Shiranami Sta


■2nd Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Saturday 20 March Azul Claro Numazu vs FC Imabari Ashitaka
Roasso Kumamoto vs Kagoshima United FC EGAO K Stadium
Sunday 21 March AC Nagano Parceiro vs Tegevajaro Miyazaki Nagano U
Kataller Toyama vs Vanraure Hachinohe Toyama
Fujieda MYFC vs FC Gifu Fujieda.S
Gainare Tottori vs Iwate Grulla Morioka Axis


■3rd Sec.

Date Fixture Venue
Sunday 28 March Vanraure Hachinohe vs Azul Claro Numazu Prifoods.S
Iwate Grulla Morioka vs AC Nagano Parceiro IWAGIN.S

 

J.LEAGUE News

Competition Format of the 2021 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE

J.LEAGUE announced the competition format of the 2021 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE. More details will be announced as soon as determined.

Competition Schedule and number of matches Competition format
MEIJI YASUDA
J1 LEAGUE
(20 teams)
Saturday 27 February – Saturday 4 December,
38 rounds/380 matches
Home and Away 
round-robin competition

* There is a possibility of that the schedule may change. 

■Promotion and relegation rules between J1 LEAGUE and J2 LEAGUE
● The bottom four clubs of J1 LEAGUE shall be relegated to J2 LEAGUE and the top two clubs of J2 LEAGUE shall be promoted to J1 LEAGUE
● J1/J2 Play-Offs shall not be held
● J2 clubs that have not received a J.LEAGUE club license cannot be promoted, and will not be replaced by third or lower place club

 

J1 LEAGUE

Clean sheet victory seals Nagoya Grampus’ Champions League dream, while Michael Olunga tops the chart with 28 goals

The final round of the Meiji Yasuda Life J1 League was held on the 19th of December. Nagoya Grampus were the final awardee for the ticket to the AFC Champions League (ACL).

Amid the heated contention for Asia’s premier tournament, Nagoya Grampus took on the nerve-racking Sanfrecce Hiroshima assignment. It was Naoki Maeda, who affirmed their international appearance next season, with a tingling stunner minutes before the final whistle. The sole goal retained Nagoya’s third-place position on the ladder and secured the final ticket to the Champions League.

Had Maeda screamer been non-existent, the winners between Kashima Antlers and Cerezo Osaka could have changed the list of Japanese contingents for the ACL next season. The two shared the spoils, however, with Kashima’s Everaldo Stum nullifying Riku Matsuda’s earlier lead. Cerezo remained fourth, three points behind the final ticketholder.

League champions Kawasaki Frontale traveled to Kashiwa Reysol. It was a series of fantasy at the Sankyo Frontier Kashiwa Stadium as Kawasaki flipped the two-goal deficit with three goals in the second half. Akihiro Ienaga lit the fire with the first, while Leandro Damião leveled the game at the 55th minute. It was Ienaga again, to silence the yellowish stadium with a witty chip. Regardless, Kashiwa’s rugged forward Michael Olunga was given the spotlight as he stood on top of the scoring chart with 28 goals this season.

The returnees from ACL, FC Tokyo and Vissel Kobe pitted at the capital and the Lebanese center-half Joan Oumari headed home the winner for all three points. In the derby match between Yokohama FC and Yokohama F. Marinos, home side Yokohama FC were the highlighted winner with Kazuyoshi Miura rewriting the league’s oldest player record (new record: 53 years 9 months 23 days) after making a 90th-minute appearance from the bench.

Yoshiaki Komai and Shunta Tanaka bagged three points away from home for Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo as they thumped Urawa Red Diamonds. Meanwhile, Sagan Tosu shared a point apiece with Oita Trinita on a four-goal haul with Daichi Hayashi equalizing in the 82nd minute.

Vegalta Sendai and Shonan Bellmare drew with no goals only underlining the dire need for better decisiveness. The bottom-place before Saturday’s fixture, Shimizu S-Pulse pounded runner-up Gamba Osaka through Riyo Kawamoto and Shota Kaneko. They have evacuated from being the wooden spoonist, plunging Shonan to the last on the ladder.

 

J.LEAGUE News

Yokohama FC vs Yokohama F・Marinos – Free Live Streaming on the J.League International YouTube Channel on December 19!

It's derby day in Yokohama! Global fans in select markets can catch all the action as Yokohama FC host Yokohama F·Marinos LIVE on our official J.LEAGUE International YouTube channel on December 19th!

Another outfit back to the league are Yokohama F. Marinos as they brace for a derby day with Yokohama FC. Three players including forward Marcos Júnior will be missed, but no excuses will be permitted for the defending champions given Yokohama FC’s recent hobble. They have been winless for the past six games and suffered a pounding four-goal defeat in the previous derby match.

*Broadcast only available to audiences in the following countries:
ASIA: India, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Philippines, Bhutan, Myanmar, Maldives, Mongolia and Laos.
MENA: United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Chad, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia and South Sudan.
EUROPE: Albania, Andorra, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican State.

Click here to watch!

 

J1 LEAGUE

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 34 Preview – A win to seal Nagoya Grampus’ Champions League entrance, while Kashima Antlers and Cerezo Osaka vie for the hope of upheaval

The final round of the Meiji Yasuda Life J1 League will be held on the 19th of December. With the top two positions already filled by Kawasaki Frontale and Gamba Osaka, three outfits contending for the last ticket to Asia’s premier tournament – Nagoya Grampus (60 points), Cerezo Osaka (59 points), and Kashima Antlers (58 points) - are under the limelight. An anything-can-happen affair, teams pit for the taste of fruition after a tumultuous season.

The most favourable candidate amongst the three, Nagoya Grampus host Sanfrecce Hiroshima. A win would seal the deal for Nagoya and pave the road to the AFC Champions League (ACL), although last month’s head-to-head defeat is still a trauma for Grampus. Only an improved finishing would favour the home-side’s aspirations, having vainly released visiting Yokohama FC on a goalless draw last week. It is no different for Hiroshima as they failed to score in the last two fixtures. The first goal of the game will prove to be decisive with both teams backed by the solid defence.

Sitting next to Nagoya, hoping for their slip, Kashima Antlers and Cerezo Osaka vie at the Kashima Soccer Stadium. A do-or-die fixture for both, it would be the three points worth the season should Nagoya stumble. Kashima have been honing for the final fixture with two consecutive victories. The 22-year-old forward, Ayase Ueda, sets his crosshairs on Cerezo custodian with a streak of a brace in the last two outings. Cerezo however, have not won in the last two games with a staggering defeat to Sagan Tosu on Wednesday. Only a steadfast defence that have kept them tight for the season would blow the chance for their international dream.

A personal agenda to be highlighted between Kashiwa Reysol and champions Kawasaki Frontale, as Michael Olunga with 27 goals to his bag seeks to secure the top-scoring title this weekend. Meanwhile, Kawasaki send off one-club veteran Kengo Nakamura and any points for Kawasaki at the final round would rewrite the record, having already amassed the most points in the league history.

Returning from international duty, FC Tokyo pit against Vissel Kobe at home. The return was met by pleasing three points for the capital outfit as they edged out Hiroshima. The usual eleven was reserved for the weekend, while the youngsters brought home the victory. The starting for the final round is in the fog, yet, a win to cap off the season before heading into the Levain Cup final will be necessary to gain the momentum. On the other hand, fitness is the top concern for Kobe, returning from a congested fixture at the ACL. Shifting the international success to the league would be key for Kobe.

Another outfit back to the league are Yokohama F. Marinos as they brace for a derby day with Yokohama FC. Three players including forward Marcos Júnior will be missed, but no excuses will be permitted for the defending champions given Yokohama FC’s recent hobble. They have been winless for the past six games and suffered a pounding four-goal defeat in the previous derby match.

At the Saitama Stadium, Urawa Red Diamonds host Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Host, Urawa bid farewell to manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki. Their last win dates back to mid-November and were victims of Kawasaki’s home finale last week. Defensive amendments are a key priority for the Reds. Likewise, visitors, Sapporo have not tasted the three points for long (last win on the 21st of November). The previous head-to-head ended in a defeat amid a seven-goal haul and Hokkaido seek to revenge to conclude the season.

After reaping their first three points in five games last week, Sagan Tosu house Oita Trinita. Yuta Higuchi will be given the spotlight after scoring his first professional in the previous outing against Cerezo. On a similar note, Oita garnered their first victory last week and it is intriguing to see which outfit would end the season with a run of victories.

Closer to the bottom of the ladder, sixteenth place Vegalta Sendai compete with seventeenth place Shonan Bellmare. A defeat may see either of them sink to the wooden spoonist should Shimizu S-Pulse win. Vegalta have been compensating for their early blunders with three wins in the last four fixtures, while Shonan have shown no signs of betterment. The two will grapple at the Yurtec Stadium Sendai.

Wooden spoonist S-Pulse enter the den of Gamba Osaka. Only victory will thwart last-place humiliation and the focus will be set on repairing the impaired defence. Meanwhile, Gamba wish to carry on the league success as they groom for the semi-final of the Emperor's Cup at the end of the month.

 

J.LEAGUE News

On Promotions and Relegations at the End of the 2021 Season

The J.League has determined as follows regarding promotion and relegation rules at the end of the 2021 season. Other competitions formats will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

[Promotion and relegation rules after the end of the 2021 season]
- Number of promoted and relegated clubs (as decided and announced on Nov. 17)

   -   Promotion from J2 to J1, and J3 to J2: 2 clubs
   -   Relegation from J1 to J2, and J2 to J3: 4 clubs

- Regulation regarding the two promoted clubs
   -   Promotion from J2 to J1 shall be automatic for the top two clubs in the league.
   -   Promotion from J3 to J2 shall be automatic for the top two clubs in the league.

※ Clubs that have not received a J.League club license can not be promoted, and will not be replaced by third or lower place club.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Todoroki sends off Kengo Nakamura with a home victory, while Gamba Osaka seal Emperor’s Cup and Champions League tickets through mid-week triumph

Six matches of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 33 took place on the 16th of December. Gamba Osaka were confirmed as the runner-up of the season with a reward of the entrance to Asia’s premier tournament.

Shu Kurata blew an early lead for Gamba as they pitted against Yokohama FC. The lead was doubled when Patric slotted home later in the second half. With 65 points collected, they have widened the gap from third place Nagoya Grampus to 5 points. The Osakans confirmed their runner-up honor of the season.

Not all the luck was shared between the Osakans as neighbours Cerezo Osaka were edged out by visiting Sagan Tosu. Despite Yuta Toyokawa’s equalizer in the first half, Tiago Alves’ winner at injury time derailed their course to third place should they win this fixture. They remained fourth on the table.

Champions, Kawasaki Frontale, hosted Urawa Red Diamonds. Despite allowing an opener through spot-kick to the visitors, Hidemasa Morita leveled the game in the 53rd minute and flipped when Kaoru Mitoma made it two. It was Mitoma’s 13th goal this season – a tie with the current J1 League rookie’s record. With another from Yu Kobayashi, Frontale sealed three points at home. The home fans bade farewell to one-club veteran Kengo Nakamura.

Michael Olunga’s opener secured all three points for Kashiwa Reysol as they pipped against Sanfrecce Hiroshima, while Oita Trinita thumped Shonan Bellmare with a come-from-behind victory through Yuya Takazawa and Kohei Isa. At the IAI Stadium Nihondaira, Vegalta Sendai’s Takuma Hamasaki netted the winning goal against Shimizu S-Pulse to evacuate from being the wooden spoonist. They have won the past two games, plunging Shimizu to the bottom.

 

J.LEAGUE News

Yokohama FC vs Gamba Osaka – Free Live Streaming on the J.League International YouTube Channel on December 16!

Don’t miss this MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE match between Yokohama FC and Gamba Osaka on Matchweek 33! The match will be available to global fans in select markets on our official J.LEAGUE International YouTube channel!

Three points against Yokohama FC would seal the return to Champions League for second-place Gamba Osaka. Their previous outing awarded them the impetus through a victory against Shona Bellmare. The Brazilian forward Patric has been sharp in the box and has bagged two goals in two recent outings. Gamba’s coveted three points may well flourish in the face of staggering Yokohama FC. They have been winless for five matches with poor finishing scrapping their fantasy. The diminutive forward Koki Saito had scored in the previous head-to-head against Gamba and will again be pinned hopes on.

*Broadcast only available to audiences in the following countries:
ASIA: India, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Philippines, Bhutan, Myanmar, Maldives, Mongolia and Laos.
MENA: United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Chad, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia and South Sudan.
EUROPE: Albania, Andorra, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican State.

Click here to watch!

 

J1 LEAGUE

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 33 Preview – Gamba Osaka bid for a return to Champions League, while veteran midfielder Kengo Nakamura bids farewell

Six matches of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 33 will take place on the 16th of December. With only two match-days to go, the contention for the AFC Champions League (ACL) spots is at its pinnacle.

Three points against Yokohama FC would seal the return to Champions League for second-place Gamba Osaka. Their previous outing awarded them the impetus through a victory against Shona Bellmare. The Brazilian forward Patric has been sharp in the box and has bagged two goals in two recent outings. Gamba’s coveted three points may well flourish in the face of staggering Yokohama FC. They have been winless for five matches with poor finishing scrapping their fantasy. The diminutive forward Koki Saito had scored in the previous head-to-head against Gamba and will again be pinned hopes on.

Undefeated for four games, fourth-place Cerezo Osaka invite Sagan Tosu home. With Nagoya Grampus sitting third on the table with a point ahead of Cerezo after completing their weekly fixture already, home triumph would see the two Osakans provisionally occupy the ACL qualifying spots. Despite failing to win against Kashiwa Reysol last week, their congealed defence has only allowed a goal in the past four outings. On the other hand, winless for the past four games, away side Tosu still reel off from the impact of the hiatus. A late equalizer against the champions Kawasaki Frontale was a positive sign, however, and the scorer, Renzo Lopez, is likely to pose threat to Osakan custodian this weekend.

Champions Kawasaki house Urawa Red Diamonds as they brace to send off one-club man, Kengo Nakamura. It will be his last at the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium ahead of his retirement and the ninety minutes of farewell will be marked by a flashback of his 18 years at Todoroki with the fans. Meanwhile, Urawa are winless for three matches and have not scored in the last two games. J1 League debutant Hidetoshi Takeda may make a fresh impact on the game.

It was their first defeat in nine games when Sanfrecce Hiroshima were edged out by FC Tokyo on Saturday. After the departure of Leandro Pereira with 15 goals to his bag, Yuya Asano and Tsukasa Morishima are demanded to fill the void. Visitors Kashiwa Reysol, however, have been winless for three matches after a goalless draw with Cerezo last weekend. The Kenyan rugged forward Michael Olunga has been silent for the last three matches and fans await for his return to scoring instinct.

Close to the bottom of the table, Shonan Bellmare are winless for five matches after a goalless draw with Urawa. With the outfit failing to generate goals upfront, forwards are demanded to break the shameful run off the streak. Likewise, Oita Trinita have not won for five matches. As both teams struggle to lit their artilleries, the first goal would prove to be significant for both.

On a similar note, Shimizu S-Pulse and Vegalta Sendai pit to avoid the wooden spoonist title. While Shimizu are winless for three games, Sendai thumped Oita last week. Their last meeting ended in a goalless draw and a win for Vegalta would shift the outfit off the bottom of the ladder.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Ayase Ueda brace keeps Champions League dream afloat for Kashima Antlers as Cerezo Osaka share the spoils with Kashiwa Reysol

Six matches of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 32 took place on the 12th of December. There were no shifts on the ladder as third-place Nagoya Grampus and fourth-place Cerezo Osaka both failed to secure the crucial three points.

A stalemate at the Paloma Mizuho Stadium bore a goalless draw between Nagoya and Yokohama FC. Host, Nagoya, would rue over their missed chances. Regardless, a point was enough to retain their position on the table – a position which paves the road to Asia’s premier tournament next season – as chasers Cerezo shared the spoils with Kashiwa Reysol. They remained fourth on the ladder.

An early lead through Ayase Ueda brace sealed the home victory for Kashima Antlers when Shimizu S-Pulse visited their den. After two successive outings, they now trail just two points behind Nagoya. Meanwhile, champions, Kawasaki Frontale bagged home a point after Shogo Taniguchi’s second-half lead was nullified by Sagan Tosu before the final whistle. It is their second consecutive draw.

Similarly, Oita Trinita’s opener through Naoki Nomura was met by a 75th-minute equalizer from Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. The two shared a point apiece and so did Urawa Red Diamonds and Shonan Bellmare as they marked yet another goalless draw.

On the same day, after returning from international duty, FC Tokyo’s homecoming was met by a piled homework – Match-day 31 against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Despite missing some of the key players, the returnees from Qatar sealed their three points through Hotaka Nakamura. It is their first league victory since the 11th of November.

 

J.LEAGUE News

Kashima Antlers vs Shimizu S-Pulse – Free Live Streaming on the J.League International YouTube Channel on December 12!

Shimizu S-Pulse travels to the Ibaraki Prefecture to face Kashima Antlers in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE this weekend! Global fans in select markets can catch it all LIVE on December 12th on our official J.LEAGUE International YouTube channel!

Another contender for the international ticket, fifth-place Kashima Antlers host Shimizu S-Pulse. The most unfavourable outfit for the ACL currently, their win will need to be reinforced by Nagoya’s failure to win. Their last outing against Urawa Red Diamonds was a landslide victory on a four-goal haul. All six points are required from the remaining two matches and forward Ayase Ueda will be pinned hopes on for goals. On the other hand, Shimizu come off from a 2-2 draw with the champions Kawasaki Frontale. The diminutive forward Carlinhos has been scoring in the last two matches and will again be decisive for Shimizu upheaval.

*Broadcast only available to audiences in the following countries:
ASIA: India, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Philippines, Bhutan, Myanmar, Maldives, Mongolia and Laos.
MENA: United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Chad, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia and South Sudan.
EUROPE: Albania, Andorra, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican State.

Click here to watch!

 

J1 LEAGUE

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 32 Preview – 2021 Champions League candidates vow to seal victories as Nagoya Grampus and Cerezo Osaka host guests at their den

Six matches of Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 32 will take place this Saturday.

Contending for next year’s AFC Champions League (ACL), third-place Nagoya Grampus host Yokohama FC. After pipping out Kashiwa Reysol last week, they marked themselves undefeated for four games in a row. Despite lackadaisical offensive display, the congealed defense has been impeccable - conceding just one goal in the last four outings – and will be pivotal to their will to cement the road to Asia’s premier tournament. Contrastingly, Yokohama FC have been winless for the last four matches. Takahiro Shimotaira-led boys need amendments on both ends of the pitch – defence, in particular, after causing their possible three points at the Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium last Saturday.

A point short of Nagoya, Cerezo Osaka call on Kashiwa to their home. Recent victories have accumulated nine points for the Osakans which includes a thumping 1-3 against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. With eight goals to his bag, Hiroshi Kiyotake will be depended on for Cerezo’s international dream. Meanwhile, short rest could play against Kashiwa Reysol’s will. They shared the spoils with Oita Trinita mid-week and will seek to claim three points through an attacking style of football despite having bid farewell to the ACL spots.

Another contender for the international ticket, fifth-place Kashima Antlers host Shimizu S-Pulse. The most unfavourable outfit for the ACL currently, their win will need to be reinforced by Nagoya’s failure to win. Their last outing against Urawa Red Diamonds was a landslide victory on a four-goal haul. All six points are required from the remaining two matches and forward Ayase Ueda will be pinned hopes on for goals. On the other hand, Shimizu come off from a 2-2 draw with the champions Kawasaki Frontale. The diminutive forward Carlinhos has been scoring in the last two matches and will again be decisive for Shimizu upheaval.

Already preparing for the upcoming season, Kawasaki Frontale will pit against Sagan Tosu away from home. The first match after sealing the title was a witness of their tenacity, equalizing a minute before the end of regular time to bring home the point. A king-like display will only augment their honours as the champions of the league as the host are muddled by three winless outings. Tosu have been defensively stable, however, featured by a clean sheet against the rival on their opening match. Maximizing chances upfront may see them throw confetti on Saturday.

After a thrashing defeat to Antlers last week, Urawa invite Shonan Bellmare to their den. The foremost priority is to rectify the defensive errors after conceding four last Sunday. Likewise, Shonan are no better; have not won in the last four games. Only managing to net once per game during the period mired by two draws and two defeats, only football’s simplest equation – more goals to win - would aid their away victory.

After a draw with Kashiwa on Wednesday, Oita Trinita encounter Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo amid a congested schedule. An extra-time equalizer safeguarded Oita’s single point at the Sankyo Frontier Kashiwa Stadium. They have been winless for four games and would wish to improve on decisiveness after scoring their first in four games on Wednesday. Similarly, Sapporo have not won for two games. The English veteran forward Jay Bothroyd’s performance has been a relief to Consadole, yet the impaired defence is a headache for manager Mihailo Petrović.

In meantime, the ACL participants have completed the weekly fixture in advance. The defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos were pounded by Sanfrecce Hiroshima on their away journey, while Vissel Kobe were edged out by Gamba Osaka on a single goal margin. FC Tokyo took the lead through Leandro and Yojiro Takahagi but shared the spoils with Vegalta Sendai after conceding a late equalizer.

On the 12th of December, Match-day 31 fixture between FC Tokyo and Sanfrecce Hiroshima will take place.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Patric header retains Gamba Osaka on the ladder, while neighbours, Cerezo Osaka extend their winning streak

Six matches of Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 31 took place on the 5th and 6th of December. Gamba Osaka retained their second place on the ladder after beating Shonan Bellmare.

An early lead sweetened Gamba’s visit to Shōnan. The sixth minute Yuya Fukuda screamer set the tone for black and blue, while Patric stole the three points at the Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka, albeit conceding one through a penalty in the 35th minute. They have now amassed 62 points in the league.

Another home silence was met at Kashiwa as visiting Nagoya Grampus edged out Kashiwa Reysol with the sole goal from Yuki Soma.

Also contending for the AFC Champions League (ACL) spot, Cerezo Osaka were travelers against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Bruno Mendes opened the account, while Hiroshi Kiyotake extended the lead. The English headed home a consolation at the 65th minute but thwarted by Bruno Mendes’ second. The three consecutive victories climbed Cerezo on the table to fourth.

IAI Stadium Nihondaira was graced with goals galore as Shimizu S-Pulse hosted the champions, Kawasaki Frontale. Each lead Shimizu put in was nullified by Kawasaki equalizers as Carlinhos and Renato Augusto prowess were both put to void. Yokohama FC also shared the spoils with Sagan Tosu despite Takuya Matsuura lead right before the halftime whistle. The late concession was met by a point apiece.

Wooden spoonist Vegalta Sendai were the unforeseen winners this weekend as they pipped out Oita Trinita through Takayoshi Ishihara and Hiroto Yamada. It was Sendai’s first three points in two matches, while Oita are muddled by their three winless outings.

 

J.LEAGUE News

Shimizu S-Pulse vs Kawasaki Frontale – Free Live Streaming on the J.League International YouTube Channel on December 5!

The newly-crowned champions hit the road in Shimizu! Our global fans in select markets can catch all the action on our official J.LEAGUE International YouTube channel as Shimizu S-Pulse host Kawasaki Frontale on December 5th! Another matchweek, another live broadcast from the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE!

Already crowned the champions of the league, Kawasaki Frontale visit Shimizu S-Pulse. It would be their first match after ascending to the throne and despite the absence of a tangible objective, keeping the momentum alive will be key to stay competitive ahead of the Emperor's Cup fixture scheduled for the end of the year. On a personal level, the 23-year-old forward, Kaoru Mitoma eye on rookie’s scoring record as one goal would prove to turn it in his favour. Meanwhile, Shimizu has been reaping the gains after the managerial change, garnering ten points in their last five matches; sitting 17th on the ladder. Revenge would see them rise along with the table, having lost on a five-goal margin to Kawasaki previously.

*Broadcast only available to audiences in the following countries:
ASIA: India, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Philippines, Bhutan, Myanmar, Maldives, Mongolia and Laos.
MENA: United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Chad, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia and South Sudan.
EUROPE: Albania, Andorra, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican State.

Click here to watch!

 

J1 LEAGUE

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 31 Preview – Gamba Osaka encounter Shonan Bellmare, while Nagoya Grampus tasked to inactive Michael Olunga as both travel away from home for the coveted Champions League ticket

With only four match-days left in this year’s Meiji Yasuda J1 League calendar, six matches of Match-day 31 will take place this weekend. The AFC Champions League (ACL) participants Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F. Marinos have already completed this week’s fixture. Both teams were defeated by Urawa Red Diamonds and Kashima Antlers respectively last month. FC Tokyo will face Sanfrecce Hiroshima on the 12th of December after returning from their international duty.

With the 2021 AFC Champions League (ACL) goal, second-place Gamba Osaka encounter Shonan Bellmare. A disappointing draw with Sagan Tosu last week denied any win for Gamba in the past two fixtures, but the in-form forward, Patric, will likely to provide rescue for the team. Shonan, on the other hand, are muddled by a winless run of three. Keeping the opponent at bay after taking the lead will be a top-notch priority for Shonan as they rue over their last two matches only to be drawn after their lead.

Chasing Gamba closely, third-place Nagoya Grampus will pit with Kashiwa Reysol after an undefeated run of three – last of which being a goalless draw with Oita Trinita. With Kenyan rugged forward Michael Olunga setting crosshairs on Nagoya, repetition of scoring incapability may well mire their Champions League dream. Likewise, boosted by the forward, Reysol are on a springboard. Despite the tight schedule, they collected all six points from the last two outings of which Olunga scored on both occasions. Michael will again be pinned hopes on for Kashiwa fantasy.

A point short of Nagoya, fifth-place Cerezo Osaka travel away to face Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. The desire for the coveted ACL ticket has been an impetus to Cerezo’s recent performance marked with two consecutive victories. Both wins have been featured by clean sheets and the Osakans would likewise wish to silence the Sapporo Dome. However, Sapporo haven’t been defeated for the last three fixtures, albeit sharing the spoils with Hiroshima last week after leading by two-goal meant defensive amendments were imperative for the Mihailo Petrović-led boys.

Already crowned the champions of the league, Kawasaki Frontale visit Shimizu S-Pulse. It would be their first match after ascending to the throne and despite the absence of a tangible objective, keeping the momentum alive will be key to stay competitive ahead of the Emperor's Cup fixture scheduled for the end of the year. On a personal level, the 23-year-old forward, Kaoru Mitoma eye on rookie’s scoring record as one goal would prove to turn it in his favour. Meanwhile, Shimizu has been reaping the gains after the managerial change, garnering ten points in their last five matches; sitting 17th on the ladder. Revenge would see them rise along with the table, having lost on a five-goal margin to Kawasaki previously.

While the neighbouring defending champions have left the town for international duty, Yokohama FC are failing to gather any spotlight – they have lost the last two matches. Pipped out by Cerezo 1-0 last week, Yokohama have been struggling to find the net. Another 23-year-old forward, Kazunari Ichimi with four goals to his bag, will be tasked for a breakthrough. Opponent Sagan Tosu drew with Gamba Osaka in the previous game. The 18-year-old youngster, Ryunosuke Sagara, who scored his first professional goal last week will be the key player.

At the Oita Bank Dome, Oita Trinita host wooden spoonist Vegalta Sendai. After upsetting Kawasaki which delayed their title conferment, Oita have been winless – the latest fixture against Nagoya Grampus was a goalless draw. The forwards are in dire need of goals. Meanwhile, Sendai were thumped by Kashiwa Reysol last Tuesday and remained bottom of the table. Vegalta’s top-scoring player, Shun Nagasawa holds the key to evacuate the disgrace.

 

J1 LEAGUE

[Meiji Yasuda J1 League Monthly Report: November] Formidable Kawasaki Frontale throw confetti as the fastest team to have secured the title, while the tickets to Champions League yet to be unfolded

The 2020 Meiji Yasuda J1 League title was awarded before the spine-tingling blow of winter in December. After displaying an impeccable performance throughout, Kawasaki Frontale claimed their third J1 title with four matches to go.

Despite the recent hiccups, Kawasaki thumped second-place Gamba Osaka on a five-goal haul with Akihiro Ienaga scoring a hattrick. They were not just the league winner but also the quickest outfit to lift the trophy with the most points in the league’s history. While being the most feared artilleries this season with 79 goals in 30 matches, they were also the hardest to break, with their congealed defence only conceding 25 goals thus far – the lowest in the league. The good mix of players was essential to their success too. With experienced players such as Ienaga and Yu Kobayashi supporting the side, youngsters in Kaoru Mitoma blew impetus. The full-depth of the squad allowed manager Toru Oniki to ‘rotate like Sir Alex Ferguson’ without dropping any quality.

Even as the new champions have been announced, the contention for next year’s AFC Champions League (ACL) spots are far from over. Second place Gamba Osaka had a fantastic run in both September and October, but not in November as they only collected eight points out of a possible 18. A spot below, Nagoya Grampus chase Gamba closely with just three points short. However, scoring was an issue with Nagoya as they failed to net on three out of five occasions in November.

As Nagoya struggle to find the net, Kashima Antlers have closed the gap to just a point with Grampus after collecting ten points in November. The forwards in Ayase Ueda and Everaldo Stum have been superlative as they eye on the top three finish with two fixtures left on the calendar. Meanwhile, Cerezo Osaka picked themselves by winning two games after losing two. Despite currently sitting fifth on the ladder, the greater number of games yet to be played than their contestants award them with an advantage. The four teams from second to fifth will pit for the two remaining ACL spots.

The team undefeated in November were Sanfrecce Hiroshima. With two wins and four draws, Hiroshima collected ten points in November. However, they would rue over some of their drawn matches for they could have been a possible three points, propelling them on the ladder. In meantime, the impact of COVID-19 was harshly felt for Kashiwa Reysol as they were forced to cease their activities – two league games and the Levain Cup final delayed – due to a surge in positive cases. Their return which was marred by defeat to Sagan Tosu raised concerns over their fitness but began to groove once they met Kashima on the next match-day. December will especially be hectic for the halted side with six matches remaining on the calendar. It’s crunch time for the 2013 J.League Cup winner to hone themselves ahead of the Levain Cup final in January.

The counters of the low rankers were again obvious in November. Tosu, Shonan Bellmare, and Vegalta Sendai each won two matches and Shimizu S-Pulse were predominant, winning three matches.

For Shimizu, the managerial change from Peter Cklamovski to Hiroaki Hiraoka blew them a fresh start. They scored three goals in each of the three wins and the improved attacking display was the main reason for their spur. Although they stand 17th on the league, it intrigues one to see where they sit at the end of the season.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Four-goal haul at the Kashima Soccer Stadium spring Kashima Antlers to fourth place, while Gamba Osaka share the spoils with Sagan Tosu

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 30 took place on the 28th and 29th of November. While second place Gamba Osaka were satisfied with a point, both Kashima Antlers and Cerezo Osaka brought home the victory. The Japanese contingents for the 2021 AFC Champions League (ACL) are in the fog.

Brazilian forward Patric was the lifeguard at the Panasonic Stadium Suita as he nullified Gamba’s earlier concession to share the spoils with Sagan Tosu. With the season nearing the end and the contention for the Champions League spots intensifying, it was a must-win for the Osakans. They now have 59 points on the league and have not won in the past two fixtures.

It was a relief for the black and blue that chaser Nagoya Grampus, too, drew at home with Oita Trinita. Nagoya failed to find the net within the 90 minutes, albeit Oita were no better. It was a goalless draw and Nagoya remained third on the ladder.

The 22-year-old young forward, Ayase Ueda opened the account for Kashima Antlers as they hosted Urawa Red Diamonds in a game marked by a four-goal haul. Later in the second half, the Japanese international doubled, while his Brazilian co in Everaldo Stum and Léo Silva made it four for Antlers. It was a thumping victory for Kashima. Meanwhile, Cerezo Osaka treasured their 61st-minute lead from Bruno Mendes against Yokohama FC. Kashima and Cerezo now stand fourth and fifth in the league respectively; both teams earned 55 points (goal difference stand Kashima on fourth).

After two away fixtures, Sanfrecce Hiroshima invited Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo at home. The Sapporo center half Akito Fukumori‘s ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ freekick blew the lead for the visitors minutes before the halfway mark, while Hiroki Miyazawa added another in the 53rd minute. Were they too complacent though? It took just five minutes for Hiroshima to level the game as Leandro Pereira and his Brazilian compatriot Douglas Vieira nullified the Sapporo lead. Both teams had chances to get ahead yet it was 2-2, a draw for both. Hiroshima are now undefeated for eight games.

The diminutive forward Hiroto Nakagawa broke the deadlock for Shonan Bellmare in the second half when they encountered Shimizu S-Pulse during the weekend. However, an equalizer from Carlinhos shared a point apiece for both teams at the final whistle.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 30 Preview – Champions League hunt on the go as Gamba Osaka call Sagan Tosu to their den, while third-placed Nagoya Grampus eye third consecutive victory

On Wednesday, Kawasaki Frontale sealed their third Meiji Yasuda J1 League title after thumping Gamba Osaka at home. With five match-days remaining, contention scorches for the ticket to the 2021 AFC Champions League (ACL). It is likely to be fogged until the final date for several are competing for the coveted spots.

After a bitter weekday defeat at Kawasaki, second-placed Gamba Osaka host Sagan Tosu. Recovery in both mentality and physicality is the key for Gamba, having conceded five-goal on Wednesday to the league giant. Tosu, likewise, suffered weekday defeat to Vegalta Sendai, causing their undefeated streak of eight. As their high-pressing game has been effective recently, it will be down to the forwards to break their silence.

On Saturday, Nagoya Grampus, sitting a rank below Gamba, will call Oita Trinita home. For Grampus, the current mood of two consecutive wins is an encouragement, while the rest on Wednesday is a plus. The Brazilian forward, Mateus, has netted in the last two outings and is likely to be pivotal again. On the other hand, Oita’s similar feat of winning streak came to a halt when they were edged out by Cerezo Osaka this week. As both outfits boast congealed defence, the pacey wingers will be the ones to make the difference.

Causing the melancholy at Oita, Cerezo invite Yokohama FC at home. This week, the Osakan outfit have finally paused their winless run of four matches with a positive signal of defensive improvement. The ex- Sevilla FC midfielder, Hiroshi Kiyotake will be assigned to spearhead the Cerezo return on Sunday. Yokohama, however, lost to Shimizu S-Pulse the same day. The 48-year-old manager Takahiro Shimotaira will need a different approach to the game after conceding two early goals in their previous outing.

With only a few match-days down on the calendar, fifth-placed Kashima Antlers are in trouble. The weekday fixture was mired by a miserable loss to Kashiwa Reysol and the defensive amendment will be the foremost priority after conceding four to Kashiwa – the highest concession of the season. Meanwhile, away side Urawa Red Diamonds were rested on Wednesday. Despite virtually bidding farewell to their ACL chances after a narrow defeat to Gamba last week, they seek to reward their ever-supportive fans with a win ahead of the 2021 season.

Undefeated for seven games, Sanfrecce Hiroshima house Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Unlike the glorified run of streak sounds, they have been sharing the spoils for most of it – failing to find the net even to staggering Shonan Bellmare. Only goals would rectify their insignificant glory and the forwards are in dire need of a breakthrough. Or they could learn it the hard way from the visitors who walk in after thumping Shimizu with a 5-1 victory. New signing Hugo Vieira will add an extra edge to Hokkaido’s already fiery arsenals in Jay Bothroyd and Anderson Lopes.

After a shameful away defeat to Sapporo, Shimizu were quick to amend their mistakes on Wednesday (they defeated Yokohama). The change of manager has had a clear impact on their play with particular improvement in the attack, as they bagged ten goals in the last four matches. They will be eager to end the season on a better sitting on the ladder as they face Shonan who are winless for the past two games. Manager Bin Ukishima is given the tough task to maintain their shaky performance amid the tight fixtures.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Akihiro Ienaga hat trick seals Kawasaki Frontale’s third J1League title as the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium dazzled by a five-goal haul

Six matches of Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 29 took place on the 25th of November, and Kawasaki Frontale sealed their third J1 League title after beating Gamba Osaka.

The 22nd minute Leandro Damião opener heralded the abundance of goals for Kawasaki at their den. Despite only a point short of being awarded the throne, there was no room for complacency. The 34-year-old veteran midfielder, Akihiro Ienaga extended the lead before the halfway mark and solidified their title sealing later to glorify his hat trick. No mercy was given to the visitors as substitute Manabu Saitō made it five for the host minutes before full time. With the five-goal victory, Kawasaki have amassed 75 points, extending the gap with second place Gamba to 17. Only four games to go on the calendar and Kawasaki have been conferred the title regardless of the remaining fixture.

Meanwhile, Cerezo Osaka pipped Oita Trinita 1-0, through the Hiroshi Kiyotake winner. This marks their first win in the last five games and has moved them up to fourth place.

Away from home, Kashiwa Reysol thumped Kashima Antlers 1-4 through Michael Olunga, Cristiano da Silva and the co. Sanfrecce Hiroshima shared the spoils with Shonan Bellmare as Hayao Kawabe equalizer nullified Shonan’s early lead.

A great start took off Shimizu S-Pulse to an away three points against Yokohama FC as Shota Kaneko and Junior Dutra netted within the first six minutes of the game. The diminutive midfielder, Ryo Takeuchi, later added another in the 38th minute to consolidate their lead. Despite allowing one in the second half, Shimizu stood triumphant at the Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium. The wooden spoonist Vegalta Sendai edged past Sagan Tosu 1-0 with Shun Nagasawa scoring the only goal of the game.

 

J1 LEAGUE

Kawasaki Frontale wins their J1 title in two years!

After a year of silence, runaway leaders Kawasaki Frontale clinched their J1 League title in two seasons during Match Week 29 of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE.

Needing only a draw, the top-of-the-table side defeated second-place Gamba Osaka at the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium by a score of 5-0, with the Osakan outfit undone by goals from LEANDRO DAMIAO, Manabu SAITO, and Akihiro IENAGA, who recorded a hat-trick.

With four games remaining on the calendar, Frontale have already amassed 75 points in the league to secure their third J1 Championship in history, having won their first and second in 2017 and 2018 respectively.