Fixtures of Round of 16 determined as defending Champions BELEZA advances at Empress's Cup JFA 40th Japan Women's Football Championship
26 November 2018
Sunday 25 November saw the remaining eight matches of the second round played out at the Empress's Cup JFA 40th Japan Women's Football Championship. Two of these matches took place at Toyama Athletic Recreation Park.
Pick-up Match 1
Iga FC Kunoichi (Nadeshiko 2nd Div./Mie) 1-2 (0-0, 1-2) Teikyo Heisei University (Kanto7/Chiba)
The first match was played between Iga FC Kunoichi and Teikyo Heisei University, who entered the tournament with great momentum. The Iga side has just returned to the Nadeshiko League Division1 after getting relegated the season before, whereas Teikyo Heisei University has won the title of the Kanto University Women's Football League.
Following their championship campaign at the Nadeshiko League Division 2, Iga FC created opportunities from their side attacks while keeping their formation compact and fighting for the ball with great aggression. Teikyo Heisei University on the other hand showcased persistent efforts in their defence while anticipating for their opportunities to utilise their speed, as Coach YANO Kyoko later mentioned, “We were seeking for our chances to break through the spaces in the flank.” The University side created chances in the 14th and the 35th minute, as OTAKE Mayu and IMADA Sara chased down the long-balls and finished their plays with a shot.
The second half saw Iga FC creating number of opportunities from set-plays, as their first goal came from a left corner kick in the 68th minute. It was MORI Hitomi who broke the deadlock with a header.
However, the opening goal has provoked a dramatic twist to the match. Now trailing by a goal, the players of Teikyo Heisei University made more runs upfront in efforts to level the match. Their tireless efforts materialised in the 86th minute, as SAKUMA Miki through out her body to block a clear ball deep in the opposing territory, allowing Imada to score the equaliser with a powerful shot. With momentum on their side, the University players broke through the left flank in additional time. The ball delivered by ICHIKAWA Aoi was met by KONO Yuki at the centre, as Teikyo Heisei University scored the winning goal that led to their first ever third round appearance.
Pick-up Match 2
NIPPON TV BELEZA (Nadeshiko 1st Div./Tokyo) 6-1 (5-0, 1-1) JFA Academy Fukushima (Tokai1/Shizuoka)
In the second match, NIPPON TV BELEZA (Nadeshiko League Division1/ Tokyo) faced JFA Academy Fukushima (Tokai1/ Shizuoka). They had faced each other in last year’s second round match, where NIPPON TV BELEZA won that encounter 6-0.
BELEZA, who has won the league title as well as the league cup title this season, showcased incredible individual skills and combinations to take control of the match. In the eighth minute, MOMIKI Yuka received the ball in the box and captured the opening goal after she dribbled past the opposing goalkeeper. Momiki went onto assist TANAKA Mina’s goal in the 17th minute after winning the ball off a lobbing delivery made by HASEGAWA Yui. In the 20th minute, Momiki registered her second goal of the match, followed by her third goal in the 31st minute to mark a hat-trick in the first half. Tanaka, who was named as the Nadeshiko League MVP, captured the team’s fifth goal to send the match into halftime with a commanding lead.
Despite BELEZA scoring their sixth goal early in the second half, their tally stopped from that point on. While they struggled to force turnovers and possess the ball with composure, the academy side displayed a persistent effort to fight through the match. As BELEZA was seen creating less opportunities towards the end of the match, JFA Academy Fukushima took the clean sheet away from the defending champions, as ENDO Jun struck a superb shot from distance that shook the net in the 79th minute.
BELEZA, who has already used up all of their substitutions, was forced to play with 10 players after one of their players was forced out of the match due to severe dehydration. But despite the numerical disadvantage, the team seemed to have picked up their pace of play to keep the ball moving, as they kept their lead intact until the final whistle, as the match ended with a score of 6-1.
As a result, the fixtures for the round of 16 has been determined, as the matches of the next round will be played on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December.
Coaches and Players' Comments
OTAKE Naoto, Coach (Iga FC Kunoichi)
This was certainly an unfortunate result. We weren’t able to utilise our speed and ability to collect the second balls. We failed to exploit the space behind our opposing defenders and as a result, lost the match. In our style of football, even when we score a goal, we strive to score more goals and keep the pressure upfront. However, we lacked the sense of risk management against a team that was anticipating for their opportunities to counter attack. We will be competing in division 1 of the Nadeshiko League next season. As much as we are looking forward for the season, we must really look into how we approach each of the match we face from here on. It was good that our weakness was exploited in today’s match, as it allows our players to make the adjustments ahead of the upcoming season.
YANO Kyoko, Coach (Teikyo Heisei University)
It was a very difficult match facing an opponent with great techniques and endurance, but the players did well to fight through. We were able to showcase what we have been working on in defence. I have been stressing the importance of defence to my players, saying that even if we can score goals, we can win matches if the defence is too weak. I feel like all the efforts made in the past three years have really materialised this year. We have been focusing on how to recoup ourselves in defence after conceding a goal, and that has really reflected today’s result. It feels weird to be participating in the Empress's Cup as a coach, but this change of position has given me a wider perspective. I wish that I could have realised how the team is being supported by so many people. Although I am no longer a player, I am still thrilled to be involved in the Empress's Cup.
MOMIKI Yuka (NIPPON TV BELEZA)
I was focused on executing my role in the given position, rather than scoring goals. The fact that I was able to create opportunities and score goals have given me great confidence, but in terms of making progress each match, I feel like we still have many aspects we need to improve on. We shouldn’t have conceded the final goal and we also struggled to adjust to the position changes made in the second half. We must be able to make those adjustments accordingly on the pitch. We are not too focused on defending our title. There will be more tough matches to come, so we will approach each match the same way we always do and give our very best.
ENDO Jun (JFA Academy Fukushima)
When we faced them last year, we couldn’t attack even once and failed to showcase our strong points, so I still remember the bitterness we felt after the match. Our transitions were not as quick as we liked it to be, but we kept on talking to each other to make the adjustments. I don’t remember much about the moment I struck the shot, but when I saw the ball in the net, it made me really happy. The fact that we managed to score a goal against them has really shown the team’s growth. This was our final match as a team, but we all have our next steps waiting ahead of us, so we will continue to work hard and strive to become a better player.
Empress’s Cup JFA 40th Japan Women’s Football Championship
Tournament Dates:Sat. 3 November 2018 - Tue. 1 January 2019
【1st Round】Sat. 3 & Sun. 4 November 2018
【2nd Round】Sat. 24 & Sun. 25 November 2018
【3rd Round】Sat. 1 & Sun. 2 December 2018
【Quarterfinals】Sat. 22 December 2018
【Semi-Finals】Sat. 29 December 2018
【Final】Tue. 1 January 2019
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