Monday, 8 March 2010

Cerezo Press Round-up

A new feature for the new season here on GGOA - a round-up of English-language press coverage of Ardija. Not surprisingly, after the excitement and emotion of Sunday's defeat of Cerezo Osaka, they've had a lot to say.

Omiya Crushes Promoted Cerezo

Omiya Ardija ruined Cerezo Osaka's return to the top flight by cruising to an emotional 3-0 win in their season opener in the J-League on Sunday. First-half goals from Hayato Hashimoto and Naoki Ishihara put the Squirrels in the driver's seat and Rafael secured the points with the third eight minutes from time at Nack 5 Stadium. Moving scenes followed the final whistle in Saitama as defender Taishi Tsukamoto, who recently revealed he has bone cancer in his right leg, ran onto the pitch to exchange warm embraces with his teammates.

"He (Tsukamoto) is always going to be our (squad) No. 2. We wanted to make a big effort just for Taishi today," said Omiya midfielder Chikara Fujimoto, choking back tears in a pitch side interview. "Our game plan went perfectly and I'm satisfied. We played outside ourselves today," said Fujimoto. "The season has only just begun but hopefully this win will put us on a roll."

Omiya, which flirted with relegation last season, controlled the first half and took the lead when Hashimoto's right-wing corner sailed over everyone and crept inside the far post on 14 minutes. Ardija continued to lay siege to Cerezo's goal and their second goal arrived on the stroke of half time, Ishihara sweeping home a pass from Brazilian striker Rafael. Cerezo's fading hopes of finding a way back into the game were extinguished when Rafael buried the third after Mato Neretljak's free kick had come crashing down off the cross bar.

(from the Japan Times.)

Omiya Wins One For Tsukamoto

Omiya Ardija came through for their cancer-stricken teammate Taishi Tsukamoto as Jang Wae Ryong's side defeated Cerezo Osaka 3-0 in its J-League season opener on Sunday. Ardija gave promoted Cerezo a rude welcome back to J1 at NACK5 Stadium, where Hayato Hashimoto, Naoki Ishihara and Rafael were all on target for the Squirrels.

Omiya defender Tsukamoto announced last weekend that he has bone cancer in his right thigh. The 24-year-old will have surgery later this month to replace the cancerous bone with an artificial one - a procedure that will end his career at just 27 appearances over two seasons. Tsukamoto received a rousing show of support from the Omiya fans on Sunday, when his teammates dominated Cerezo from start to finish in the Osaka club's return to the top flight after three years of J2 exile.

"The performance was so good, it was scary," Ardija skipper Chikara Fujimoto said. "No. 2 [Tsukamoto's number] will always be with us. We have to get the job done for him this year... The season's just begun, and we have to ride this momentum out all the way to the end," added the former Japan international, whose side is aiming for a top-five finish in 2010.

Despite the feel-good air at the NACK5, Omiya saw Rafael pull up uncontested on the break as the Brazilian striker went down clutching his right hamstring. He had to be stretchered off and Chang must be hoping the injury will not linger until Saturday, when Ardija travel up to Sendai to face Vegalta.

(from the Daily Yomiuri.)



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