Nippon TV and Cerezo Osaka to face at the JFA 22nd U-18 Japan Women's Football Championship JOC Junior Olympic Cup Final
07 January 2019
On Sunday January, the semi-final fixtures of the JFA 22nd U-18 Japan Women's Football Championship JOC Junior Olympic Cup took place at J-GREEN Sakai, and as a result, Nippon TV Menina (Kanto1/Tokyo) and Cerezo Osaka Sakai Girls (Kansai1/Osaka) advanced to the final.
Pick-up Match 1
Nippon TV Menina 2-0 (0-0, 2-0) Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara DUE
The first semi-final match featured the two Kanto sides, Nippon TV Menina and Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara DUE (Kanto4/Kanagawa).
While Nippon TV showcased superb individual techniques and quick ball movements to create opportunities, Nojima displayed solid defence to block the central area of the field to deny any crosses from getting through. Led by KINOSHITA Momoka, Nippon TV created multiple chances to crack the opposing goal, Nojima’s goalkeeper performed a solid job to keep the score 0-0 at halftime.
In the second half, Nojima made a substitution in the 66th minute to change the dynamics of their attacks. The substitute, HAMANAKA Rira penetrated the right flank before delivering the ball to HIROSAWA Maho, who struck a shot but failed to capture the goal.
With the Nojima side applying more numbers in their attack, Nippon TV anticipated for their opportunity to counter attack. The moment came in the 78th minute when KANNO Oto delivered a through ball to allow YAMAMOTO Yuzuki to break through the Nojima defence line. Kanno reflected on the scene, “I managed to get a great touch on the ball and saw Yuzuki making a run into the space, so I made my mind to pass it to her.” While the recipient of the ball, Yamamoto also recalled, “I saw Oto making a great move upfront and I was already making my move, so I was committed to score.” The two players combined superbly to breakdown the Nojima defence and capture the opening goal.
Nippon TV extended their lead in the 90th minute from another counter attack, this time scoring with a long-range shot taken by OYAMA Aemu to seal the match and advance to the final with a 2-0 victory.
Pick-up Match 2
INAC Kobe Leoncina 0-2 (0-0, 0-2) Cerezo Osaka Sakai Girls
The other side of the bracket featured a match between the two Kansai teams, INAC Kobe Leoncina (Kansai2/Hyogo) and Cerezo Osaka Sakai Girls. In this match, it was Cerezo Osaka who took the initiative with their quick ball movements and side attacks.
Cerezo Osaka created numbers of opportunities as they exploited the space behind the opposing fullbacks but struggled to find the back of the net. MATSUMOTO Hono came close to scoring the opening goal for Cerezo when she made a diving effort to the cut back delivered by TAKAWA Serika but failed to capitalise. Takawa also had a golden moment just before the end of the first half but came short from capturing the gaol.
With the match entering halftime scoreless, it was mostly the Cerezo Osaka side who created the opportunities, as INAC Kobe finished with zero shots in the first half. During halftime, Kobe’s Coach TANIGUCHI Hiroshia lectured his side where to apply pressure and how to initiate their attacks from turnovers. The players gave their shot to execute their game plan in the second half, but failed to deliver much changes, as they were contained to taking just one shot in the second half as well.
Cerezo Osaka on the other hand, brought on a second-grade junior high school player, HAMANO Maika in the second half, who utilised her speed to create opportunities for her side. In the 55th minute, Hamano made a run and captured the opening goal from a pass delivered by Matsumoto.
Now with a goal lead, Cerezo Osaka managed the clock well while anticipating for their next opportunity to score. In additional time of the second half, SHIKAI Yukina converted a one-on-one situation against the opposing goalkeeper to extend their lead to two goals. With the match ending soon after, Cerezo Osaka advanced to their fourth consecutive final at this tournament.
Coaches and Player's Comments
KANNO Oto (Nippon TV Menina)
We were able to keep the ball moving from the first half and managed to play our game. There were some tough stretches where we couldn’t score a goal, but I feel relieved that we managed to score at the end. With our opponents playing solidly at the central area of the pitch, we were forced to utilise the flanks. In our match tomorrow, I will showcase everything I have worked on in the past six years with Menina and take home the title.
NODA Akemi, Coach (Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara DUE)
I am proud of our players’ performance. We looked confused at first, but we were able to make the adjustments early in the match. We made our move in the second half and although we managed to create chances, we couldn’t convert them. I believe that was what decided the match. The first goal we conceded was just superb. We blocked the central area for the entire match, but they found a way to crack open our defence, so they deserve the win. In our match tomorrow, as much as the result is important, I am going to allow my players to play their style of football without any restrictions.
TANIGUCHI Hiroshi, Coach (INAC Kobe Leoncina)
With the opponents anticipating to exploit the space behind our fullbacks, we tried to counter them by forcing turnovers, but we struggled against their strong and speedy pressure. We tried to make the adjustments during halftime, and although we managed to enter the second half in good shape, once we got tired, we weren’t able to cope with our opponents. For the third-grade players, tomorrow’s match will be their last match as a member of INAC Kobe Leoncina, so I hope they can showcase our style of football.
OKAMOTO Miyo, Coach (Cerezo Osaka Sakai Girls)
We struggled to score a goal for a while and during that time, we tend to rush our plays and got sloppy in front of the goal. That is an aspect we must improve on. Hamano did a great job as a substitute and once we scored the first goal, we managed to play with composure, but still made too many mistakes. We will give our best to play our style of football tomorrow, but with Menina sharing a similar style, our players will be asked to play an even tougher job in defence.
Semi-Final: Nippon TV Menina vs Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara DUE
Semi-Final: INAC Kobe Leoncina vs Cerezo Osaka Sakai Girls
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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