Saturday, July 8th 2017
6:00pm, IAI Stadium Nihondaira
S-Pulse Goals: Matsubara 29, Kamata 40
S-Pulse Yellow Cards: None
DF Kamata, Kanu, Futami, Matsubara
MF Musaka, Takeuchi, Edamura, Duke, Kaneko
Kitagawa on for Kaneko (65)
Murata on for Duke (84)
Freire on for Hasegawa (88)
S-Pulse celebrated their 25th anniversary with a clinical home win, their second on the spin, and the ideal antidote to last week’s defeat at low-flying Sapporo. First half goals from the unlikely sources of Matsubara and Kamata were enough to create a lead that the guests rarely looked like reducing, much less cancelling out. Fireworks at full time were the ideal end to a memorable day celebrating Shimizu’s quarter century.
The players emerged at 6pm to a spectacular choreography display commemorating 25 years of eastern Shizuoka’s favourite football team. Fittingly, S-Pulse’s opposite number mirrored that of their first ever match on July 4th 1992, when G. Osaka hosted. Back to present day, and it had been eight years since Shimizu defeated Saturday’s guests in a J1 match, the difference in league standings suggesting a continuation of that drought.
Perhaps fuelled by the occasion, the formbook was swiftly forgotten. The first half was largely dominated by orange shirts, and when Matsubara reacted on the half hour to turn in a corner, it was just reward for continued Shimizu pressure. Ten minutes later Takeuchi capitalised on hesitancy from goalkeeper Higashiguchi, nodding the ball back towards a waiting Kamata. The defender comfortably doubled the lead, notching up his first professional goal in the process.
The second half saw the visitors throwing everything forward, but more often than not their shooting boots deserted them. Even when Gamba did rattle off a good attempt, Rokutan was equal to it, batting away anything that came near. Confident in their lead, S-Pulse successfully neutralised J1’s, at kick off, third most potent strike force. There were to be no late nerves, the game coming to a successful conclusion after 3 uneventful additional minutes. It was a solid performance, the squad rallying around the absence through suspension of top scorer and captain Tese, and a perfect way to celebrate the club’s anniversary.
Attention now turns to the Emperor’s Cup, with the visit of Fukushima prefecture’s Iwaki FC. Despite playing in the regional leagues, Iwaki masterfully disposed of Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in the previous round, sending the struggling J1 team crashing out in front of their home crowd. Accordingly, Shimizu will be taking nothing for granted as they welcome their northern guests to town. Why not get along for some of the magic of the cup under our famous floodlights?
Happy birthday S-Pulse, and here’s to the next 25 years!
Emperor’s Cup 2017
S-PULSE vs Iwaki FC
Wednesday July 12th, 7pm
IAI Stadium Nihondaira