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Additional results from the weekend
J-WAVE radio's Daily J-League/football Update:If you understand spoken Japanese or want to get some practice listening, you can listen to an instant daily football update here on the internet in sound format. The host is Jon Kabira. Click on the links under the dates listed.

Vissel 1 - 1 Marinos: Though Ahn came through with his third goal of the year after returning from his long injury, Marinos were not able to hold onto the one goal lead against Vissel. Despite the red card to Atsu Miura (pic below), a ten-man Vissel came through literally in the last minute to equalize. This result was very unlike Marinos -- to allow a goal like that in the final moments... With an experienced team like Marinos, their strength lying in a stable and mature defense, I was really surprised at this news. Part of the problem could have been the unclear direction of the team, not knowing how to carry out the remainder of the game after Vissel were down a man. Marinos are in third place overall.

Miura's red card a result of the Alpay controversy? Last week, when Reds Alpay got his second yellow card during the Oita game, it was because he gave a water bottle a mighty kick right after getting the first yellow for sliding/tackling. In the aftermath of the Alpay-redcard incident, there was discussion among football fans regarding whether J refs have a bias against Alpay -- people were demanding that refs give equal treatment to all players, and have a consistent approach to fouls and cards. In this game between Vissel and Marinos, Atsu Miura got his first yellow while challenging a Marinos player for the ball. When he realized he had gotten a yellow, he gave a half-hearted kick to the ball that was lying nearby and got the second yellow. I wonder if from now on the J refs are going to be harsh on players who do anything similar after getting their first yellow -- players are going to have to watch themselves! It certainly caught experienced veteran football star like Miura by surprise, so I'm guessing this was not the status quo in past years...

**off topic: yesterday Atsu Miura's wife was on a variety show called Junk Sports, and she blabbed that at home she and her husband express their affection for each other by saying "Uki" and "Ugoku uki" instead of "Suki" and "Sugoku suki" (which basically means "I love you (very much)"). Prwralck!! Too much information!! And let's face it, baby-talking Atsu is not the image we want lingering in our minds...he's supposed to be a national star... It's gonna take Atsu a long time to live this one down! and I need some soap for my brain....

Frontale 1 - 0 Verdy: Contrary to what most (including me) have been mumbling, Frontale showed that they could indeed hold onto a lead. Verdy allowed Augusto to dribble a considerable length up the side and make the shot... Verdy should have known to watch out for something like this, but it didn't look like players were covering the defense properly. Anyway, great first win for Frontale!

Shinji Ono Gooooaaaaallll! Finally some good news from Europe. Shinji made a middle-range shot from the leftish side, a deceptively soft ball that entered the goal on the far side. He was completely free when he made the shot, so it felt more like a free kick. Feyenoord won 2-0 against NAC. They are currently in third place overall, and if they can get into the top two by the end of the season, they will get to go to the Champions League... Feye is a really classy team, and their 8-consecutive-wins is no fluke.

Reggina 1 - 3 Parma: Grrr. I stayed up to the wee hours to watch this game, and it was a complete bust. I ask ya, why isn't Reggina more disciplined? There are no stars on the team, so it's really a matter of whether they can support each other effectively. And having Bonaz as the only forward does make options slim in the front. Shunsuke Nakamura started, and made the first attempt on goal with a long-range shot from the center that flew above the goal. Reggina had some good chances during free kicks, but the wind was pretty gusty and it may have messed with the trajectory. Still, the rest of the game was just painful. Slow and lacking in any unified thought. Mozart tried to pick things up a little on several occasions, but there was no follow-up from teammates. Nakamura got substituted out at half time, and things just got more desperate after that. Come on Reggina, hustle, fight, win!! (sigh)
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