Reysol progress despite Suwon defeat

Kashiwa Reysol endured a 1-2 home reverse against Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the second leg of the AFC Champions League round of 16 but still progressed to the quarter-finals.

Tatsuma Yoshida’s men were thankful to progress on the away goals rule on Tuesday, after winning the first leg 3-2 in Korea a week ago.

There had been plenty of warning signs of the threat Suwon posed then, and they proved it again when Jong Tae-se produced a superb skill on the edge of the box to put his team 1-0 up.

And there were risks of a Reysol collapse at Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium as Ku Ja-ryong put Suwon 2-0 up on the night and 4-3 on aggregate from a corner situation.

But Yusuke Kobayashi was on hand to pounce after dangerman Leandro had his effort blocked, sending his relieved team through with the score at 4-4 but leading in away goals at the end.

2013 semi-finalists Reysol will now wait to see who they meet in the quarter-finals draw.


Ventforet midfielder Arai welcomes second son

Ventforet Kofu on Monday congratulated midfielder Ryohei Arai on the birth of his new baby boy last Friday.

“With this deeper sense of responsibility, I want to play harder than ever before,” Arai told the club’s official website.

The 24-year-old, who wears the No. 8 shirt, is in his third season with the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League club, and has featured eight times so far.

Coach Satoru Sakuma has led Ventforet on a mini-revival in which the team has won both games since his appointment.


Okubo leads list of players suspended by J.League

Yoshito Okubo is one of the players to be banned for the upcoming match week, after the J.League released its list of suspended players on Monday.

The 2014 league top scorer joined the likes of Gamba Osaka’s Yasuyuki Konno and FC Tokyo’s Yuhei Tokunaga suspended for matchday 14 of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 league this Saturday.

Nagoya Grampus midfielder Ryota Isomura and Alceu of Montedio Yamagata are also set to miss the next set of games.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Byeon Jun-Byum, Montedio’s Shogo Nishikawa and Albirex Niigata’s Kentaro Ohi are likewise prevented from taking part in Wednesday’s 6th round of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup.

Suspensions also extend to the lower tiers, ruling out JEF United Chiba’s Paulinho and Machida Zelvia’s Kota Fukatsu this weekend.


Vissel Kobe to begin shuttle bus operations from Hyogo Station

Vissel Kobe announced on Monday that the club will begin shuttle bus operations from JR Hyogo Station.

The service will begin with the club’s MEIJI YASUDA J1 matchday 14 tie against Vegalta Sendai, with the buses running between the station and Kasamatsu Nanachome bus stop.

Shuttle buses will operate before and after matches scheduled on weekends and holidays, and cost 210 yen for adults and 110 yen for children.

Regular public bus services to Noevir Stadium via the No. 3 and No 9. bus routes will now operate in tandem.


Urawa Reds continue successful Nepal fundraising

Urawa Reds announced on Sunday results of fundraising for Nepal relief which took place during their MEIJI YASUDA J1 League matchday 13 clash with Kashima Antlers.

The club raised 589,104 yen (USD $4,900) toward reconstruction efforts in the South Asian nation following the deadly earthquakes which struck in April.

The relief funds, along with 534,082 yen that had been raised in recent home games against Gamba Osaka and FC Tokyo, will be donated to Nepal through non-profit organisation Friends of the United Nations Asia-Pacific.


Bellmare’s Saito in line for pro debut

Shonan Bellmare announced that youth academy midfielder Mitsuki Saito had been registered as a Type-2 player last Friday.

The 16-year-old high school student will be assigned the squad number 32 and can therefore make his professional debut this season.

“I’ve played for Bellmare since I was in elementary school and I’m incredibly happy to have been given this chance to make my professional debut,” Saito said in a statement.

“But I recognise that I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me. I may be a small player but I hope to demonstrate my strength on the ball as well as my speed.”

Saito had already been called up to the Japan Under-17 national team earlier this year, and will now hope to boost the fortunes of Bellmare’s first team.

The promoted outfit rose to eighth in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League with their 4-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse on Saturday.


F.Marinos announce “Marinos Day” at Pokemon Center

J.League co-founders Yokohama F. Marinos have announced details of their upcoming “Marinos Day” at Pokemon Center Yokohama on 14th June.

Midfielder Shingo Hyodo and defender Yusuke Higa will participate in a talk show at 11:30 local time at the store located in the Minato Mirai district of Yokohama.

Fans attending the free event will be able to participate in Rock-Paper-Scissors tournaments and raffles in order to win player-signed merchandise and F.Marinos home tickets.


Yamaga release high school pair tickets

Matsumoto Yamaga announced the sale of “High Schooler Pair Tickets” on Sunday in an effort to attract young fans to Matsumotodaira Park.

50 pairs of tickets will be sold for 1,000 yen ahead of the club’s upcoming Yamazaki Nabisco Cup group stage match against Albirex Niigata next Wednesday.

Interested fans must present high school identification and demonstrate that they have made a post about their attendance on their personal social media accounts.

Yamaga, who are playing their maiden Nabisco Cup campaign, currently sit sixth in Group A, having picked up four points from five matches.


Albirex offer “Souvenir Set Ticket” versus Grampus

Albirex Niigata have released limited-edition “Souvenir Set Tickets” for their matchday 15 game against Nagoya Grampus on 7th June.

A set of famous foodstuffs from Niigata prefecture, such as ginoshio salt, Koshihikari rice and crackers produced by club sponsor Kameda Seika will be included in ticket price.

Only 300 fans will be able to purchase the special tickets, which began going on sale on Sunday at 10:00 local time.


Shiotani brace sends Sanfrecce second

A brace from Tsukasa Shiotani was instrumental for Sanfrecce Hiroshima as they swept past Albirex Niigata 4-2 on Saturday.

The matchday 13 encounter had been crucial for Sanfrecce to establish themselves firmly in the running for the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title.

And the reemerging side quickly signalled their intentions against Albirex, with Shiotani grabbing the opener in the opening 20 minutes, and Douglas doubling it in the 37th minute.

Takuma Asano also struck in the second half before Shiotani completed his brace, Albirex’s goals near the end of either period failing to unduly trouble their hosts.

The win means Hajime Moriyasu’s outfit now solely occupy second spot, after FC Tokyo endured a 0-1 home loss to Nagoya Grampus, their second league defeat in a row.

On the other hand, Urawa Reds, who inflicted a 4-1 defeat on the capital side last week, appear unstoppable, notching their 12th game unbeaten with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Kashima Antlers.

Mihailo Petrovic’s men showed remarkable resolve to win the clash despite Ryota Moriwaki’s own-goal handed Antlers the lead in the 67th minute.

Yuki Muto headed in the Reds’ equaliser shortly after the temporary breakthrough, before Takahiro Sekine’s winner off the crossbar after cutting in from the left restored his side’s four-point advantage at the top of the table.

Yokohama F.Marinos likewise continued their impressive rise this season, moving into fourth spot after they swept to an impressive 3-0 win at Matsumoto Yamaga.

Last term’s dark horses Sagan Tosu have been unable to show much consistency this time around, losing 3-2 at Kawasaki Frontale despite Yohei Toyoda establishing himself as joint-top scorer with his latest strike.

Things appear more bleak at the bottom of the table, after Shimizu S-Pulse stumbled to a 4-0 defeat at Shonan Bellmare, the hosts scoring three times in the second half, Kaoru Takayama finishing with a double, alone.

Montedio Yamagata looked powerless to avoid a 0-1 loss to Vissel Kobe at ND Soft Stadium despite dominating in terms of chances, and are in danger of being sucked into the relegation zone.

Ventforet Kofu at last moved off the bottom of the table however, old boy Bare netting the single goal of the game as Satoru Sakuma’s men clinched their second win in a row.


Grampus announce charity tee-shirt

Nagoya Grampus announced the details of a charity tee-shirt collaboration between the club, apparel makers Laundry, and the Japanese Red Cross last Thursday.

The partnership is intended to promote the activities of the Red Cross, which Grampus began its partnership with in April 2011.

A portion of proceeds from sales of the tee-shirt, which go on sale from 16th July, will be donated to the Aichi Prefecture branch of the Japanese Red Cross.


Gamba add to list of hometown areas

Japanese champions Gamba Osaka announced the addition of three cities to their designated hometown area on Thursday.

The Osaka cities of Ikeda, Settsu, and Minoh will join Suita, Ibaraki, Takatsuki, and Toyonaka as the club expand their footprint to seven cities in accordance with their plans for a new stadium.

“In addition to inspiring local children upon its completion this fall, we believe that our new stadium will contribute to the revitalisation of the region,” Gamba chairman Teruhisa Noro said in an official statement.

“We intend to expand our activities even further order to become a symbol of the community and further inspire the 1.71 million residents of these seven cities.”


F. Marinos reveal new training ground

Yokohama F. Marinos have unveiled plans to relocate their training facilities from Marinos Town to Shin Yokohama Park in 2016, with new club offices to be established nearby.

The move comes as a result of the Marinos Town land lease’s scheduled conclusion in May 2016, with the move to Shin Yokohama Park bringing various aspects of the club’s operations closer to their home ground of Nissan Stadium.

F.Marinos’ usage of Marinos Town’s first-team facilities, including the official team shop, will conclude by the end of 2015.

The team’s youth infrastructure will also relocate to their new facilities in April 2016.

League Cup

Muto preserves FC Tokyo’s lead in Nabisco Cup

The fifth round of the J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup group stages took place on Wednesday night, with six matches played across groups A and B.

Yoshinori Muto scored twice as Group A leaders FC Tokyo earned a dramatic 2-1 win over Ventforet Kofu, moving them up to 10 points and undefeated in all four matches.

Shonan Bellmare rose to second in the group with their 2-1 win over Matsumoto Yamaga meanwhile, with Sagan Tosu slid into third despite besting Sanfrecce Hiroshima by a 1-0 result.

In Group B, Nagoya Grampus earned a tough 2-1 away win at Shimizu S-Pulse thanks to goals by Tomoya Koyamatsu after the hour mark and Milivoje Novakovic four minutes from full time.

Grampus’ 13 points to date guarantees a finish of second place or higher, ensuring their advancement to the knockout stage.

Elsewhere in Group B, Kazuma Watanabe’s two goals kept Vissel Kobe in second place after a 3-2 win at Yokohama F. Marinos.

Their three-point lead over third-placed Montedio Yamagata, who drew 1-1 with Kawasaki Frontale, will be a big advantage as they look to advance to the quarter-finals.


Sagamihara announce “Meiji Yasuda Life” Discount

Third-tier outfit SC Sagamihara announced details for their “MEIJI YASUDA LIFE DISCOUNT” promotion on Wednesday.

In recognition of Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, the J.League’s title partner for 2015, the club will offer a 500 yen discount to fans with any of the Japanese characters that spell “Meiji Yasuda Life” in their name.

The special is scheduled to take place during their MEIJI YASUDA J3 League matchday 14 clash with Gainare Tottori next Sunday.

Sagamihara are currently in fifth place with 19 points from 11 matches, three points behind third-place Tottori.


Usami brace blasts Gamba beyond Seoul

Takashi Usami continued his devastating run of form as his brace helped Gamba Osaka demolish FC Seoul 3-1 in Wednesday’s AFC Champions League round of 16’s first leg.

The MEIJI YASUDA J1 League top scorer opened his account on the continent late, against Guangzhou R&F in round 5 of the group stages.

But both his goals at Seoul World Cup Stadium meant he has now netted in three consecutive ACL matches, with his latest possibly decisive in seeing Gamba progress to the quarter finals.

Usami’s first of the evening came he met Hiroki Fujiharu’s cross with a spectacular volley to break the Koreans’ stubborn resistance.

Koki Yonekura later mimicked his team-mate’s goal with his strike, doubling the Japanese champions’ lead before Usami threatened to put the tie beyond reach with a wonderful solo effort.

A lapse however allowed Seoul to pull a consolation back, although Usami’s exploits already put Gamba in a commanding position ahead of the return leg at Expo ‘70 Stadium next Wednesday.


Gamba Osaka to play “GAMBA DREAM MATCH”

Gamba Osaka have announced details for their Fan Appreciation Day event on 28th June at Expo ‘70 Stadium.

The club will hold a “GAMBA DREAM MATCH” featuring club alumni and other players to commemorate their final season at the stadium before they move into their new facility in 2016.

Midfielder Yasuhito Endo and former centre-back Tsuneyasu Miyamoto will serve as the two team captains, and also supervise the design of the team uniforms.


Montedio Yamagata midfielder Shun Ito to miss six months

Winger Shun Ito has undergone successful surgery on his right anterior cruciate ligament, his club Montedio Yamagata announced on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Hokkaido native could require up to six months to rehabilitate, meaning he is potentially at risk of missing the rest of the 2015 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season.

Ito, who sustained the injury during training on 4th May, had made four appearances for 15th-placed Montedio to that point.

Nobuhiro Ishizaki’s are currently looking for an upturn in results to extend their distance away from the drop zone.


Consadole Sapporo announce LINE stamps

MEIJI YASUDA J2 League side Consadole Sapporo announced the sale of the club’s official LINE app stamps on Tuesday.

The set of 40 stamps will feature all of the team’s players, as well as manager Ivica Barbaric, club chairman Yoshikazu Nonomura and mascot Dole-kun.

The stamps are available for 120 yen ($1) or 50 LINE coins from the in-app sticker shop.


Kawasaki Frontale announce friendly against Borussia Dortmund

Kawasaki Frontale will play Germany’s Borussia Dortmund in a friendly this summer, the Japanese club announced on Tuesday.

“I’m really happy to be able to play a friendly in Japan,” Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa told the Frontale website.

“I hope we can play well and demonstrate our abilities so that more fans in Japan will follow Borussia Dortmund.”

The Bundesliga side are to visit Todoroki Stadium on 7th July as part of their first-ever tour of Asia, which will also feature stops in Singapore and Malaysia.