F1 champions Nagoya among others making through the first round of the JFA 28th Japan Futsal Championship
12 March 2023
The JFA 28th Japan Futsal Championship kicked off on Saturday 11 March, as 11 fixtures took place at three venues. Eight fixtures were held at Ecopa Arena, where the defending campions Nagoya Oceans (F1/Aichi) started off the tournament with a victory.
Nagoya played Sorpresa (Hokkaido), who were making their second appearance for the second year in a row, and won the match 5-0 thanks to goals from NISHITANI Ryosuke, who has announced his retirement at the end of the season. After the match Nishitani commented, “It took us some time to adjust to the way our opponents used their pivot. The first match of the Japan Futsal Championship is different from the league matches including the timing of when we need to leave the dressing room, so it takes time for us to adjust. This may affect the start of the match, but we need to learn from today's lesson and take it to the next match.”
Kicking off at the same time, the match between Pescadola Machida (F1/Tokyo) and Bardral Urayasu Segundo (Kanto 1/Chiba), who won the first division of the Kanto Futsal League for the first time, was a close contest. Machida took the lead in the seventh minute of the first period with a goal by Vinicius CREPALDI and added two more goals to make it 3-0 by the second minute of the second period. However, Urayasu Segundo started to rally back with a goal from captain HIRAI Masahiro, followed by a goal from ITO Haruki, who scored from a power play with just a minute remaining on the clock. Although Machida managed to hold onto their lead in the end, Urayasu Segundo certainly showed their calibre in this match.
The surprise of the day was the match between Malva Mito FC (F2/Ibaraki) and Boaluz Nagano Vermelho (Hokushinetsu/Nagano). Mito, who have newly joined the F. League this season, collected the ball to their pivot KARASHIMA Masayuki, but were unable to break down the Nagano defence. Conversely, Nagano Vermelho took the lead seven minutes into the first period with a goal from TAMAI Yuki. Despite conceding the equaliser in the fifth minute of the second period, Nagano Vermelho retook the lead just three minutes later with a goal from KABASHIMA Izumi, and added three more goals to win the match 5-1, advancing to the second round where they will face Nagoya.
In the match between Vasagey Oita (F1/Oita) and Itatica Hachinohe (Tohoku/Aomori), Oita racked up seven goals, including a hat-trick from MOTOISHI Takehiro, to win 7-0. In the match between BORK bullet Kitakyushu (F1/Fukuoka) and Del Migliore Cloud Gunma (Kanto 3/Gunma), Gunma led 3-2 two minutes into the second period. However, Kitakyushu scored an equalising goal by Juninho with five minutes remaining and added three more in overtime to earn a hard-fought 6-3 victory and advance to the second round.
In the match between Shonan Bellmare (F1/Kanagawa) and Ligarevia Katsushika (F2/Tokyo), Shonan won 8-4 thanks to a hat-trick from Brazilian international RODRIGO, while the passionate crowd of both teams added excitement to the arena.
Boaluz Nagano (F1/Nagano) played Pescadola Machida Aspirante (Kanto 2/Tokyo), a match between two sides who have been relegated from their respective leagues. Although it was Machida Aspirante who controlled the ball possession, Nagano effectively racked up goals from counterattacks, as they won the match 6-0.
Agleymina Hamamatsu (F2/Shizuoka), playing to a huge home crowd, faced tournament debutant Nagasaki University Futsal club FORZA (Kyushu 1/Nagasaki). Hamamatsu took the lead two minutes into the second period, and despite struggling to deal with the pressure applied by their opponents, won the match 4-1 to advance to the second round.
A major upset was seen in a match held at Kishiwada City Gymnasium in Osaka, where Shriker Osaka (F1/Osaka) lost to Hiroshima F-DO (F2/Hiroshima) 3-5 after overtime, as the F1 side was eliminated in the first round. In the matches held at Kobe Central Gymnasium, F. League sides dominated the regional teams by a wide margin, setting up interesting matchups in the second round.
The tournament will continue on with the second round taking place on Sunday 12 March to determine the eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals, which will take place at Komazawa Olympic Park next week.
FP #4 HIRAI Masahiro (Bardral Urayasu Segundo)
I went into the tournament with the hope of finishing in the top eight and taking this team to Tokyo. Having played for the F. League select team, I knew the quality of the F1 teams, but they were as strong as I thought they would be. We had chances to win, but I felt that the quality shown by the opposing veteran players was amazing, including their second goal where I was unable to get half a step closer to the ball.
FP #9 MOTOISHI Takehiro (Vasagey Oita)
Since this was our first match, we were determined to get off to a winning start, but we made a lot of mistakes and didn't do very well at the outset. Even so, we gradually found our rhythm and were able to score a number of goals to earn a comfortable win. I believe that teams from the F. League need to show their difference against teams from regional leagues in terms of individual quality, so I am glad that we were able to win this match.
FP #5 KABASHIMA Izumi (Boaluz Nagano Vermelho)
I am honestly very pleased with this result. We had analysed the way the opponents used their pivot in offence, so the whole team knew what to do in this match. There were some scenes where we almost conceded, but we were able to defend as a team. I believe this win was a result of everyone talking together, moving their feet, and the support coming from the bench. Next up is Nagoya, the F1 champions, and we really want to cause an upset.
FP #14 KUBOTA Keisuke (Nagasaki University Futsal club FORZA)
We are a defensive team, and it was good that we started well in defence. However, we lost our rhythm after our opponents made us possess the ball longer than we expected. Our opponents were fully prepared to play us, so it was a very difficult match. We want to make the most of this experience to do well in the Japan University Futsal Championship, where most of this squad will participate in. I also want to help the first and second year players to improve because the fourth year players have helped me a lot to grow as a player.
JFA 28th Japan Futsal Championship
Tournament dates: Sat. 11 - Sun. 19 March 2023
Tournament venue: Ecopa Arena (Shizuoka), Kishiwada City Gymnasium (Osaka), Kobe Central Gymnasium (Hyogo), Komazawa Olympic Park (Tokyo)
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