Albirex host public viewing for clash with Gamba

Albirex Niigata hosted a public viewing event for the club’s match at Gamba Osaka, held at their home ground of Denka Big Swan Stadium on Sunday.

The free viewing on Live big-screen television was carried out in conjunction with the Niigata Canal Sai, part of the 28th Annual Niigata Prefecture Spring Fair.

The MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE Sec 7 fixture kicked off at 14:00 local time at Banpaku Stadium.


Reds striker Ishihara out for six months

Urawa Reds announced that striker Naoki Ishihara underwent surgery to repair damage to his right anterior cruciate ligament on Thursday

The 30-year-old, who picked up the injury during the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League match against Kawasaki Frontale on 12th April, is expected to require six months of recovery.

Ishihara had appeared in four of the Reds’ five opening league matches before that, though he is yet to open his scoring account with the leaders.

The Gunma native joined Mihailo Petrovic’s side in the off-season from Sanfrecce Hiroshima, where he scored 10 goals in 2014.


Antlers capitulate as Frontale soar

Kashima Antlers’ six-game unbeaten run came to a sudden halt when they were beaten 2-1 at home by plucky Vissel Kobe in matchday 7 of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League.

Toninho Cerezo’s outfit appeared to have recently recovered from their early season blues, and were looking to close the gap at the top of the table with a result on Saturday.

But Vissel’s Keijiro Ogawa tapped in the opener for the visitors right after the break, with Hideo Tanaka later capitalising on an Antlers’ defensive blunder to fire in the winner and cancel out Gaku Shibasaki’s earlier curling equaliser.

The hosts’ misery was compounded when Mu Kanazaki was sent off for his second bookable offense in the 94th minute in which he protested a referee’s call.

Vissel’s result allows them to leapfrog both Antlers and Kashiwa Reysol in the table; the latter only managing a 1-1 draw at Sagan Tosu despite taking the lead.

Leandro curled in the opener after being given the space to turn and shoot by Sagan’s defence, though the home team came back through Yohei Toyoda’s header from a free-kick - his side dominating the game in terms of shots.

Kawasaki Frontale capitalised on their rivals’ missed opportunity to the max, roaring up into second place by blowing past basement team Ventforet Kofu 3-0.

Last term’s top scorer Yoshito Okubo opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the 2015 season, before Renato’s splendid brace in the second half put the result beyond doubt and kept Yahiro Kazama’s men soaring.

Back to winning ways are FC Tokyo, who kept up their title challenge with a 1-0 win away at Montedio Yamagata thanks to Kosuke Ota’s 22nd minute goal from a free-kick.

Of course, Urawa Reds maintain their three-point lead at the summit - at least until Gamba Osaka play on Sunday - with a 2-1 victory over Nagoya Grampus with Takahiro Sekine and Yuki Muto amongst the goals.

The resurgent Sanfrecce Hiroshima remain contenders for a return to the AFC Champions League next season after picking up a solid 2-0 win over free-falling Shimizu S-Pulse, whose winless streak in the league extended.

Last term’s J2 champions Shonan Bellmare have now also fallen three points above the bottom three, after being soundly beaten 3-0 by Yokohama F.Marinos at Nissan Stadium.


Japan to host Club World Cup in 2015 and 2016

The Japan Football Association has announced that the FIFA Club World Cup will return to Japan for the first time since 2012, from the 10th to the 20th of December 2015.

In addition to the champions of each of FIFA’s six confederations, this year’s MEIJI YASUDA J1 League winners will participate the yearly tournament which determines the world’s top football club.

Should representatives Gamba Osaka, Kashima Antlers or Kashiwa Reysol win the 2015 AFC Champions League, the ‘host country’ berth will be given to the next highest-placed non-Japanese team in the ACL.


Date for Reysol-Gamba J1 League clash shifted

The J.League have announced that the matchday 13 clash between Kashiwa Reysol and Gamba Osaka will be moved to 23rd June.

It was rescheduled as a result of Reysol clinching a spot in the 2015 AFC Champions League round of 16, which will be played out on 19th May and 26th May.

Gamba themselves could be involved in the next stages of the ACL, after finishing in their Group F campaign strongly with a 5-0 win over Guangzhou R&F on Wednesday.

The other MEIJI YASUDA J1 League matchday 13 clashes will take place as scheduled on May 23.


Urawa Reds announce world-first club rose

Urawa Reds announced the sale of the Reds Rose, the first rose in the world to be named after a football club, on Thursday.

The unique variety had first been developed in 2010, and is meant to represent the Red’s vision of being “a club loved by all”.

Seedlings of the Reds Rose will be available for sale beginning this Saturday, while arrangements and preserved flowers will be sold at the Reds Voltage club shop starting from 8th May.


Sanfrecce announce ‘J1 1000th Goal Lottery’

Sanfrecce Hiroshima have announced fans stand to win a slew of prizes to commemorate the club’s 1000th J1 League goal, which could come as soon as Saturday against Shimizu S-Pulse.

One grand prize winner will receive a custom Sanfrecce kit, memorial photo and autograph from the milestone goal-scorer.

Should the club’s 1000th top-flight goal be scored as a result of an own goal, the autograph will come from striker Takuma Asano.

The striker scored Sanfrecce’s 999th goal in their matchday 6 win at FC Tokyo, and is considered one of the club’s rising stars.


Albirex hand youth product Hiramatsu professional status

Albirex Niigata confirmed it had awarded Shu Hiramatsu a full Pro A contract on Monday, after the forward achieved 450 minutes of action for his club.

The 22-year-old managed the landmark following his participation in the matchday five draw against Kashima Antlers in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League.

Hiramatsu is a native of Niigata and has made it up through the Under-15 and Under-18 teams of Albirex’s youth system.

This is the Kokushikan University graduate’s first year with his boyhood club’s first team, after spending the last four years representing his alma mater.


Reysol survive late Jeonbuk charge to win 3-2

Kashiwa Reysol defeated Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-2 in the AFC Champions League to go top of Group E, despite nearly surrendering a three-goal lead after the break.

Wednesday’s battle between the two was for top spot, and Reysol left a strong statement of intent when they were 1-0 up after 10 minutes.

Eduardo was the scorer when he rose highest to meet Naoki Wako’s corner, paving the way for Kosuke Taketomi to net a clinical brace in the next half-hour, his second a simple tap-in after a neat piece of skill from strike partner Cristiano.

But the Koreans would proceed to make their hosts very nervous in the second half, as Jeonbuk captain Lee Dong-Gook nearly brought them level with two spectacular goals.

Tatsuma Yoshida’s side nevertheless held on against the previous ACL winners to rise top, and will now look to progress to the next stages there when they travel to bottom-dwellers Becamex Binh Duong for their last Group E match in May.


Usami and Patric inspire Gamba to 5-0 rout in ACL

A brace each from Patric and Hiroyuki Abe helped Gamba Osaka blow past Guangzhou R&F 5-0 in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

It was the Brazilian striker who poked in a scrappy goal from a header by his captain Yasuhito Endo, with Abe heading home Gamba’s second from Takashi Usami’s cross.

Usami was again at the heart of the third goal, starting another incisive move to put strike partner Patric through on goal to finish emphatically right before the interval.

Despite their commanding lead, Kenta Hasegawa’s side still came out with all guns blazing and got their fourth when Abe tucked in his second from a cut-back across goal.

Usami then fittingly got his first goal of the ACL campaign when he slotted home in much the same manner, as Gamba put themselves in charge of their Group F fates.

Despite losing their opening two games, the J.League champions now have the opportunity to steal top spot off leaders Seongnam FC in their top-of-the-group clash in May.


FC Tokyo rise to top of Nabisco Cup group

FC Tokyo bounced back from a disappointing weekend to defeat Sagan Tosu 2-0 in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup and go top of Group A.

Despite starting without Yuto Muto on Wednesday, the capital side looked comfortable and were able to win via two goals from Hirotaka Mita either side of half time.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who beat Tokyo in the league at the weekend, kept up the pace in Group A with an impressive 4-2 win away at Matsumoto Yamaga.

Keita Goto did put the hosts in the lead after just four minutes, but the league relegation candidates would soon have no answer to Sanfrecce’s blitz.

Sho Sakai struck before Gakuto Notsuda bagged a brace in a devastating 15-minute spell, Takuma Asano later making the result safe following the break after Yamaga had pulled one back.

Struggling Ventforet Kofu meanwhile roared into a two-goal lead against Albirex Niigata only to be pegged back, with the resulting 2-2 score keeping the hosts mired at the bottom of Group A.

In Group B, Nagoya Grampus continued their surge in the cup with a 1-0 win over Yokohama F.Marinos, making themselves the favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

Marcus Tanaka blasted in what proved the winner from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time for Grampus’ to move up to 10 points and extend their lead over Vissel Kobe.

Indeed, Vissel were only able to play out a poor 0-0 draw against Kawasaki Frontale, meaning their lead in second place over others in Group B remains slender.

Shimizu S-Pulse were able to do their counterparts a favour though, as they beat Vegalta Sendai 2-1 to clinch their first victory after eight games without one in all competitions.

Takashi Sawada hit a 77th minute winner after Genki Omae’s opener had been cancelled out by Hidetaka Kanazono earlier, leaving the bottom side with still a slim chance to progress.


Antlers in charge of ACL fate following 2-1 win over Sydney

Mu Kanazaki’s dramatic goal in Kashima Antlers’s 2-1 win at Western Sydney Wanderers extended their remarkable turnaround to the penultimate round of the AFC Champions League group stage.

Toninho Cerezo’s outfit stretched their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions on Tuesday at Parramatta Stadium, moving them up to third in Group H and ensuring their qualification to the round of 16 remains in their own hands.

Revenge against reigning Asian champions Sydney was already on Antlers’ minds following their 3-1 loss at home in the opening round.

Their hopes of a result, and progress from the group, took a blow when Nikita Rukavytsya latched onto former Sanfrecce Hiroshima man Yojiro Takahagi’s ball over the top to finish clinically past Hitoshi Sogahata.

But Antlers emerged a different proposition after the break, and netted a deserved equaliser through Shoma Doi neat finish following a poorly-cleared corner.

Kanazaki would later turn in the winner from a cross in stoppage-time after being at the right place at the right time, just like the resurgent Japanese giants are in the group.

The three-hard fought points leaves them level in Group H with upcoming opponents FC Seoul, meaning a win in their direct encounter at Kashima Soccer Stadium in two weeks’ time will be enough to see them progress.


Reds winless in ACL after elimination at hands of Suwon

Even the entry of Zlatan Ljubijankic and his subsequent goal was not enough to prevent Urawa Reds from slipping to a 2-1 home defeat to Suwon Samsung Bluewings, thus leaving them crashing out of the AFC Champions League.

Mihailo Petrovic’s men had already been without a win in four Group G games on the continent this season and were virtually eliminated after their 1-1 draw at home against Beijing Guoan earlier in April.

And Tuesday’s slump to their Korean visitors only confirmed the inevitable, despite Zlatan opening the scoring by heading in Toshiyuki Takagi’s cross.

Suwon would turn to their own pair of substitutes in Ko Cha-won and the Brazilian Felipe Kaio to respond - the latter lifting a spectacular half-volley over the head of Reds’ keeper Shusaku Nishikawa with a minute of regulation time remaining.

The J.League leaders will therefore finish bottom of Group G, with only pride left to play for when they travel to fellow eliminated side Brisbane Roar in May.


Omiya Ardija release “Victory Ramen”

Omiya Ardija partner Okina no Sato announced the release of club-themed “Omiya Ardija Victory Ramen” on Sunday.

The two-serving set consists of locally-produced noodles, an orange seafood-flavoured soup base, and tomato curry.

“Omiya Ardija Victory Ramen” will go on sale from this Friday at the club’s home ground of NACK5 Stadium as well as Orange Square, the official team shop.

The team is set to host Mito Hollyhock in the MEIJI YASUDA J2 League two days after.


Sanfrecce match to include ‘3D Printer Event’

Sanfrecce Hiroshima have announced that their match against Shimizu S-Pulse this Saturday will also feature a “3D Printer Event”, sponsored by NEC.

Attendees will be able to create custom 3D figures featuring their face set on a figure outfitted with Sanfrecce-themed clothing.

3D figures of club mascot Sancce will also be available for purchase.

The event begins at 10:00 local time at the 3D Printer Booth, located at the Festival Plaza in front of Edion Stadium.


F.Marinos to offer parent-child football in May

Yokohama F. Marinos yesterday confirmed a special event allowing parents and children to play football on the Nissan Stadium pitch.

Season ticket holders will be selected by means of lottery to be able to take their elementary school child onto the pitch before the 10th May clash against Albirex Niigata.

F.Marinos are notably amongst the teams that promote parent-child events in the J.League, which has long prided itself as a family-friendly environment.


Sagan Tosu announce ticket details for Kyushu-Juventus legends clash

Sagan Tosu announced on Saturday that special “pair tickets” and “family tickets” for the 4th May match between Kyushu Legends and Juventus Legends will be sold.

The club also revealed that those attending the match will receive the Kyushu Legends anniversary kit as a commemorative gift.

The Juventus Legends XI will feature former Bianconeri and Jubilo Iwata star Salvatore Schillaci in the line-up.

Other prominent names such as David Trezeguet, Fabrizio Ravanelli, and Paolo Montero have also been picked for the game at Best Amenity Stadium.


King Kazu extends goalscoring record

Yokohama FC legend Kazuyoshi Miura scored his second goal of the season with a header against V. Varen Nagasaki on Sunday.

“King Kazu” extended his own record of being the oldest player ever to score in the J.League, with his opener in matchday 8 recorded at the age of 48 years, one month and 24 days.

The MEIJI YASUDA J2 League game eventually ended 2-2, with Miura’s team-mate Shuma Kusumoto bagging the equaliser two minutes after high-flyers Nagasaki took the lead.

Milos Rus’ side sit 12th in the Japanese second tier.


Montedio unveil “M-5” group of most handsome players

Montedio Yamagata have announced their “M-5,” a group of the squad’s five most attractive players who have been hand-picked in order to attract female fans.

Takumi Yamada, Kohei Higa, Keita Hidaka, Koya Yuruki and Hayato Settsu were at an unveiling event that took place on Sunday at Big Wing department store in Yamagata.

Earlier on Saturday, their team-mates had managed to grind out a 0-0 draw against fellow relegation candidates Matsumoto Yamaga.


Nagasaki pair up with JR Kyushu for “LOVE Train Tour”

V. Varen Nagasaki have announced the “Nagasaki LOVE Train Tour in Isahaya” in cooperation with railroad operators JR Kyushu.

The unique dating event will bring 20 men and 20 women to the game against Tokushima Vortis by rail on 9th May.

Participants will enjoy a romantic afternoon of sightseeing before the match taking place at Naga-saki Stadium.