In Japan Gamba Osaka completed the domestic treble, after defeating second tier Montedio Yamagata in the Emperor’s Cup Final.
Just one week earlier Gamba had captured the J-League title, and with little time to celebrate, the Kansai natives were facing an upbeat Yamagata club who had just won promotion to J1 for 2015. It didn’t take long for Gamba’s class to tell though, with in form Takashi Usami finding the back of the net in the 4th minute, before Patric doubled the lead in the 22nd minute.
In the second half the underdogs jagged a goal to restore hope, but once again Usami asserted the authority of the J-League champions. The match ending 3-1, Usami with two goals and an assist.
Stunningly the man of the match was still ignored by national team manager Javier Aguirre. True, the Samurais have a wealth of attacking midfielders, but this blogger was not the only one shocked by his absence in Japan’s Asian Cup squad.
ASIAN CUP SQUAD
Japan’s national team was officially announced on Monday. See below –
In a scoop for the Newcastle region where the Japanese squad will be based during the tournament, a friendly was recently announced for January 4th. The Japanese will take on New Zealand’s most famous club side, Auckland City in Cessnock, while also taking on local side Lambton Jaffas in a behind closed doors trial. The Kiwi team has been a regular representative for Oceania at the Club World Cup, and turned a few heads this year after defeating Algeria’s ES Setif.
GK – Eiji Kawashima, Masaaki Higashiguchi, Shusaku Nishikawa
DEF– Yuto Nagatomo, Masato Morishige, Kosuke Ota, Uchida, Maya Yoshida, Tsukasa Shiotani, Gotoku Sakai, Gen Shoji
MF– Yasuhito Endo, Yasuyuki Konno, Makoto Hasebe, Shinji Kagawa, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Gaku Shibasaki,
ATT– Yohei Toyoda, Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda, Yu Kobayashi, Takashi Inui, Yoshinori Muto.
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW ANNOUNCED
The 2015 Asian Champions League draw has been completed, though there are still some unknowns,
In a promoters dream Western Sydney Wanderers have been grouped with Chinese gargantuans Guangzhou Evergrande.
Fans of both clubs will not have forgotten 2014’s cage fight in the ACL quarter finals. The match saw Marcello Lippi enter the playing field at Parramatta, after two controversial red cards were handed out to superstars Zhang Linpeng and Gao Lin.
Joining them in Group H is the J-League’s most successful club, Kashima Antlers. The Antlers enjoyed a return to prominence in the J-League, inspired by the form of youngster Gaku Shibasaki. Just as mouth watering is the prospect of Koreans FC Seoul coming through the play-off phase to join the triplet of talent in Group H. FC Seoul featured in the 2013 ACL Final against Guangzhou, while in 2014 they crashed out to Wanderers in the semi finals.