Friday, 28 August 2009

Kashima Preview

Having picked up a disappointing two points from their last three games, the Squirrels now head into a more difficult stage of the season with upcoming matches against in-form Shimizu S-Pulse and an unpredictable Nagoya Grampus side who nevertheless now feature in their line-up dangerous Australian striker Josh Kennedy. More immediately, the challenge facing Jang Wae Ryong and his players is that if they can't beat JEF United, how can they expect to get three points from a side like tomorrow's opponents Kashima Antlers, whom they've never beaten in five seasons of trying?

Luckily for Jang, Kashima are experiencing something of a downturn in form at present, with three losses in their last five matches in all competitions. In fact, Oswaldo Oliveira's side have not won an away game since the beginning of July and rather stumbled to a 3-1 defeat of FC Tokyo last weekend. And with key Antlers midfielder Masashi Motayama set to miss Saturday's meeting through injury, there could clearly be far worse times for Omiya to be facing the top club side in the country.

The performances since his arrival at the club of Rafael also provide cause for Ardija optimism, with the Brazilian providing a neat run and finish from an excellent through ball by Kohei Tokita against JEF - although it should be acknowledged that the Chiba Dogs' defenders were kind enough to give him plenty of space in which to shoot. Assuming that Rafael has therefore done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up, the question becomes whether it will be mystery man Dudu, Yoshihito Fujita, Naoki Ishihara or even Masahiko Ichikawa who begins alongside him.

In the midfield Park Won Jae, however, is definitely suspended, although captain Chikara Fujimoto will presumably slot straight back into the side following his own absence from the JEF game for disciplinary reasons. But Agent Orange has indicated on these pages that the Kashima away game last month was one of a handful of matches in which he felt that Omiya simply had no chance, such was the gulf between the teams. The Squirrels' recent failure to pick up points against lower quality opposition means that the pressure has mounted to get something against the reigning Japanese champions.



Furtho 28 August 2009 at 18:11  

Yahoo predicted line-up:

GK Ezumi
DF Tsukamoto
DF Kataoka
DF Neretljak
DF Hato
MF Tokita
MF Kanazawa
MF Hashimoto
MF Fujimoto
FW Ishihara
FW Rafael

Omiya Fan,  29 August 2009 at 18:31  

Wow 1-0 Ardija through little Tomoya. Hope we keep it up.

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