Ehime FC Ladies MIKAN wins match between debutante at JFA 22nd U-18 Japan Women's Football Championship JOC Junior Olympic Cup
04 January 2019
On Thursday 3 January, eight first round fixtures of the JFA 22nd U-18 Japan Women's Football Championship JOC Junior Olympic Cup took place at J-GREEN Sakai.
Pick-up Match 1
Ehime FC Ladies MIKAN 4-0 (2-0, 2-0) Hioki Seagulls FC
One of the fixtures featured two sides who made their first appearance in the tournament, Ehime FC Ladies MIKAN (Shikoku/Ehime) and Hioki Seagulls FC (Kyushu1/Kagoshima).
It was Ehime FC who created more opportunities in the early minutes of the match, but Hioki FC gradually gained momentum as they applied aggressive pressure from their front line. In the 16th minute, Hioki’s IMAMURA Suzuna came close to creating a goalscoring opportunity by pressing hard on the opposing goalkeeper, fell short from capitalising. Another attempt was made by Hioki, when KOMIDORI Runa aimed a direct free kick in the 32nd minute but failed to find the back of the net. Following the missed opportunities from the Hioki side, Ehime once again started to take control of the match and struck the opening goal. In the 36th minute, TAKATORI Haruka captured the goal after receiving the ball in front of the opposing goal. Takatori followed in the 40th minute, when she broke through the right flank to score Ehime’s second goal of the half.
The Ehime side continued to attack with great aggression in the second half, as they carried the ball upfront many times. The third goal came when Ehime’s forward KAWAMOTO Sae dribbled through the centre before converting a goal in the 63rd minute, FUJISAWA Nagomi sealed the match with the team’s fourth goal scored in the 70th minute. Ehime FC thrashed the Hioki side, who entered the tournament with mainly junior high school players, 4-0 to advance to the second round.
Pick-up Match 2
Hokkaido Lira Consadole 1-2 (0-0, 1-2) Albirex Niigata Ladies U-18
The match between Hokkaido Lira Consadole (Hokkaido) and Albirex Niigata Ladies U-18 (Hokushinetsu/Niigata) turned out to be a close battle. The match saw the Niigata side take the initiative at first as they effectively utilised long balls to exploit the spaces behind the Hokkaido defence. However, they failed to convert the opportunities against the solid defence showcased by Consadole. With both sides struggling to find the net, the match entered halftime scoreless.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 46th minute, when Hokkaido’s IMADATE Nodoka capitalised on a corner kick delivered by NOTOYA Nanako, giving them the long-awaited goal. Despite firing more shots, Niigata now trailed by a goal, but Coach SANO Yuki still had faith in his squad as he later reflected, “I knew that the tide would change if we can score a goal, so I made a change to give our offence a little boost.” In efforts to level the match, Niigata brought in SHIRAI Himeno, who has started in a match for the Albirex Niigata Ladies side at the Nadeshiko League Div.1. With Shirai adding more layers to the Niigata offence, the equaliser came in the 69th minute when HARADA Ayase struck a left footed shot from the central area. With momentum on their side, Niigata successfully took the lead in the 76th minute, when TAKAYAMA Nanaka converted a loose ball following a corner kick. The late rally gave Niigata a 2-1 victory in a come-from-behind fashion.
MOROMACHI Mitsuhiko, Coach (Ehime FC Ladies MIKAN)
We just needed to showcase what we had been working on, so I told my player to play with confidence. The players seemed to be a little nervous at first, but they still played carefully, so I wasn’t worried about their performance. In the second round, we will be facing a strong Nippon TV Menina side. We have nothing to lose, so I want my players to give their very best and keep on challenging on the pitch.
TOKIYOSHI Yuichiro, Coach (Hioki Seagulls FC)
Our team was based heavily with junior high school players, so we knew we would have a huge disadvantage in terms of physical strengths, but we kept on challenging each and every second. Although we managed to win through the Kyushu qualifiers with our defensive approach, we had to improve on many more aspects to fight through the national level. The third-grade players will now move onto high school football leagues, so I wish them the best. The first and second grade players were given a great experience, thanks to those third-grade players. We will continue to work hard so that we can once again return to this stage.
UKITA Akina, Coach (Hokkaido Lira Consadole)
I told my players to utilise the space behind the opponents to initiate counter attacks, and the players did a great job to execute the game plan. However, we couldn’t create enough opportunities to win the match. We knew our opponents were going to utilise the long balls in their attacks, but they made so many runs behind our defence line, it caused us to run out of gas. Despite conceding the goals, led by the team captain MASUKO Hana, our players did well to fight through the entire match. It was a match that made us realise that we need to get better in order to reach higher goals.
SANO Yuki, Coach (Albirex Niigata Ladies U-18)
Our players did a great job in the build-ups and making runs behind the opposing defence line. We managed to carry the ball up into the opposing penalty area many times, so I feel like we were able to showcase what we have been training for. However, we lacked quality in the plays upfront and failed to convert the opportunities, which made this a tougher match than it should have been. The fact that we stayed composed and did what we had to do, led us to this victory, so we will continue to work hard as a team and fight through the second round.
1st Round Highlights
JFA 22nd U-18 Japan Women's Football Championship JOC Junior Olympic Cup
Tournament Dates: Thu. 3 - Mon. 7 January 2019
Tournament Venue: J-GREEN Sakai, Osaka
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