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Hokkaido League - Rounds 9 & 10
It was a weekend that saw two rounds of action in the Hokkaido League, with the main winners being champions-elect Norbritz Hokkaido, Barefoot Hokkaido and Tokachi Fairsky. Norbritz rattled off another six points towards their target of retaining the title with victories over a declining Blackpecker Hakodate and Toyota Motors Hokkaido and are now five points clear of their nearest challengers - who surprisingly are Barefoot Hokkaido, a defensive side that sneaked past struggling ACSC Asahikawa and Thank FC to make it five consecutive wins. New team Tokachi Fairsky managed a tremendous win over Sapporo Football Group on Saturday and followed it up by beating Blackpecker 2-0 to jump out of the relegation play-off spot; Sapporo bounced back to hammer Thank 5-0, but are surely too inconsistent to mount a serious assault on Norbritz' superiority.

29 Jul 06 - Tokachi Fairsky take on Sapporo Football Group on a remote hillside

Tokachi Fairsky take on Sapporo Football Group on a remote hillside

Sat 29 Jul: ACSC Asahikawa 0-2 Toyota Motors Hokkaido
Sat 29 Jul: Norbritz Hokkaido 2-0 Blackpecker Hakodate
Sat 29 Jul: Sapporo Football Group 1-3 Tokachi Fairsky
Sat 29 Jul: Thank FC 0-1 Barefoot Hokkaido

Sun 30 Jul: ACSC Asahikawa 1-2 Barefoot Hokkaido
Sun 30 Jul: Tokachi Fairsky 2-0 Blackpecker Hakodate
Sun 30 Jul: Sapporo Football Group 5-0 Thank FC
Sun 30 Jul: Toyota Motors Hokkaido 1-3 Norbritz Hokkaido

1 Norbritz Hokkaido 25 (+27)
2 Barefoot Hokkaido 20 (+4)
3 Sapporo Football Group 19 (+14)
4 Toyota Motors Hokkaido 14 (-7)
5 Blackpecker Hakodate 12 (-4)
6 Tokachi Fairsky 11 (-9)
7 Thank FC 10 (-2)
8 ACSC Asahikawa 4 (-23)

29 Jul 06 - Barefoot have a blatantly misleading name, right? Anyway, against Thank FC

Barefoot have a blatantly misleading name, right? Anyway, against Thank FC
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Tohoku League Division 2 (South)
Kureha Chemicals made it seven defeats out of seven in the sole Tohoku League Division 2 (South) fixture on Sunday, as Kanai Club recovered from last week's thrashing by Marysol Matsushima to record their third win of the season and move further clear of the bottom of the table.

Sun 30 Jul: Kureha Chemicals 1-2 Kanai Club

1 Marysol Matsushima 21 (+26)
2 Furukawa Battery 18 (+17)
3 Northern Peaks Koriyama 12 (+9)
4 Kanai Club 9 (-3)
5 FC Perada Fukushima 4 (-11)
6 Shichigahama SC 4 (-15)
7 Kureha Chemicals 0 (-23)
Tohoku League Division 2 (North)
At the ninth attempt, Fuji Club 2003 finally managed their first win in the Tohoku League Division 2 (North) and it was achieved in fine style, 7-1 against lowly TDK Shinwakai. This helped Fuji to move two places up the table, as Hokuto Bank went down 2-1 at home to Vanrarure Hachinohe.

Sun 30 Jul: Fuji Club 2003 7-1 TDK Shinwakai
Sun 30 Jul: Hokuto Bank 1-2 Vanrarure Hachinohe

1 FC Akita Cambiare 24 (+18)
2 Mizusawa United Club 18 (+12)
3 Tono Club 10 (+6)
4 Vanrarure Hachinohe 10 (-3)
5 Fuji Club 2003 7 (-2)
6 Hokuto Bank 5 (-3)
7 TDK Shinwakai 5 (-17)
8 Aster Aomori 3 (-11)
Kanto League Division 2 - Round 12
The top-of-the-table clash in the Kanto League Division 2 on Sunday was won comfortably enough by frontrunners FC Machida Zelvia, 3-1 over the side who had emerged as their nearest challengers, Furukawa Electrics Chiba. But this caps a disastrous last two rounds for Furukawa, who a week ago went down 5-2 to Hitachi Tochigi Uva - and these two results, combined with Hitachi's stroll past Nirasaki Astros, sees Furukawa slip out of the promotion places and down to third. Changes too at the bottom, where All Kamisu SC take a tumble to the foot of the division. Their 2-0 loss at home to Ome FC was their sixth in seven matches, meaning that Aries FC's first win of the season - 3-1 at Kanagawa Teachers - was enough to leapfrog All Kamisu.

Sun 30 Jul: All Kamisu SC 0-2 Ome FC
Sun 30 Jul: FC Machida Zelvia 3-1 Furukawa Electrics Chiba
Sun 30 Jul: Kanagawa Teachers 1-3 Aries FC
Sun 30 Jul: Nirasaki Astros 0-3 Hitachi Tochigi Uva

1 FC Machida Zelvia 26 (+25)
2 Hitachi Tochigi Uva 24 (+13)
3 Furukawa Electrics Chiba 22 (+7)
4 Ome FC 18 (-)
5 Nirasaki Astros 18 (-5)
6 Kanagawa Teachers 11 (-10)
7 Aries FC 8 (-12)
8 All Kamisu SC 6 (-18)
Kanto League Division 1 - Round 12
Sunday was the day that the bottom of the Kanto League Division 1 table bit back, the three lowest teams all winning in clashes with their higher-positioned opponents. Shock of the round on paper at least was Hanno Bruder's 2-1 triumph over leaders Yaita SC - only Hanno's second win of the campaign, but Yaita's early season burst of good form is well and truly over and with only five points from their last five matches, they're limping towards the finish line. But Luminozo Sayama were unable to take advantage of another slip-up by their nearest rivals, losing 2-1 at Toho Titanium to remain three points off the pace, while Toho keep a four-point gap between themselves and MSDF Atsugi Marcus in the relegation zone. The sailors from Atsugi managed a good 3-1 victory over Saitama SC and in the fourth fixture of the round, YSCC beat Toshiba Fuchu 3-1 to reclaim third place.

30 Jul 06 - Toho Titanium let Luminozo Sayama get a shot in

Toho Titanium let Luminozo Sayama get a shot in

Sun 30 Jul: Hanno Bruder 2-1 Yaita SC
Sun 30 Jul: MSDF Atsugi Marcus 3-1 Saitama SC
Sun 30 Jul: Toho Titanium 2-1 Luminozo Sayama
Sun 30 Jul: YSCC 3-1 Toshiba Fuchu

1 Yaita SC 24 (+11)
2 Luminozo Sayama 21 (+10)
3 YSCC 18 (+6)
4 Saitama SC 16 (+4)
5 Toshiba Fuchu 16 (-)
6 Toho Titanium 16 (-10)
7 MSDF Atsugi Marcus 12 (-8)
8 Hanno Bruder 10 (-13)
Kyushu League
While V Varen Nagasaki continued their apparently unstoppable progress to the Kyushu League title with a 3-1 win on Saturday over bottom side Kaiho Bank SC, Nippon Steel Oita stole a march in the race for the second spot in the end-of-season play-offs for promotion to the JFL. For Nippon Steel beat New Wave Kitakyushu 4-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw, to take two points as against New Wave's one, thus meaning that there is now a three-point gap between the pair - with New Wave scheduled to take on V Varen next weekend, in a game they surely cannot afford to lose. Lower down the table, Okinawa Kariyushi gained a predicted 2-1 win against relegation-threatened Nanakuma Tombies, but Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki gained three vital points in their own battle with the drop, as they beat Osumi NIFS United 3-2.

30 Jul 06 - New Wave on the defensive against Nippon Steel

New Wave on the defensive against Nippon Steel

Sat 29 Jul: V Varen Nagasaki 3-1 Kaiho Bank SC

Sun 30 Jul: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 3-2 Osumi NIFS United
Sun 30 Jul: New Wave Kitakyushu 2-2 Nippon Steel Oita (PK 2-4)
Sun 30 Jul: Okinawa Kariyushi 2-1 Nanakuma Tombies

1 V Varen Nagasaki 37 (+26)
2 Nippon Steel Oita 33 (+25)
3 New Wave Kitakyushu 30 (+17)
4 Volca Kagoshima 27 (+17)
5 Okinawa Kariyushi 24 (+5)
6 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 12 (-10)
7 Osumi NIFS United 8 (-18)
8 Nanakuma Tombies 5 (-38)
9 Kaiho Bank SC 4 (-24)
All-Japan Shakaijin 2006 - Shikoku Qualification Tournament
第42回全国社会人サッカー選手権大会・四国予選

Sat 29 Jul: Kamatamare Sanuki 6-0 FC Yanagimachi
Sat 29 Jul: Sanyo Electric Tokushima 4-0 Ventana AC
Sat 29 Jul: Nangoku Kochi 5-1 Takamatsu Minami Club
Sat 29 Jul: Alex SC 6-5 Ehime Shimanami

Sun 30 Jul: Kamatamare Sanuki 6-0 Sanyo Electric Tokushima
Sun 30 Jul: Nangoku Kochi 5-0 Alex SC

30 Jul 06 - Kamatamare Sanuki put the Sanyo Tokushima defence under pressure

Kamatamare Sanuki put the Sanyo Tokushima defence under pressure

Kamatamare Sanuki and Nangoku Kochi therefore qualify for the national finals in Akita in October.
JFL - Round 21 (Sunday)
Attention in the JFL was firmly focused at the bottom of the table on Sunday, with arguably three matches that could be described as "six-pointers" having been staged on the same day. But there was no doubt as to the most crucial of the three, though - bottom two Mitsubishi Mizushima and Honda Lock faced each other, the loser knowing that they faced a major battle to finish outside the relegation play-off places. Lock twice took the lead but on both occasions were pulled back to all-square and just when it seemed as if the game was petering out for a draw, an injury-time goal and then a further strike from midfielder Shinpei Watanabe gave the win and three crucial points to Mitsubishi.

Under normal circumstances, this would have been enough to move the Okayama prefecture-based side up the table, but Ryutsu Keizai University remain a point ahead as they too came from behind to win at JEF Club; FC Ryukyu's 1-0 defeat of FC Kariya means that there are a bunch of four teams within a point of each other just above the two play-off places. Truly, every point counts for all of these teams - and Sagawa Printing - between now and the end of the season.

Further up the table, both Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo and YKK AP moved above Sagawa Kyubin Osaka on goal difference into third and fourth places respectively, thanks to home wins over mid-table sides. Leading scorer Tetsuya Okubo was again on target, as Sagawa Tokyo beat Arte Takasaki 3-1 after conceding a second-minute opener, while SC Tottori fell 2-1 to YKK.

30 Jul - Mitsubishi’s Kentaro Takamatsu clashes with Lock keeper Ryo Tsunoda

Mitsubishi’s Kentaro Takamatsu clashes with Lock keeper Ryo Tsunoda

Sun 30 Jul: FC Ryukyu 1-0 FC Kariya
Sun 30 Jul: JEF Club 1-2 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sun 30 Jul: Mitsubishi Mizushima 4-2 Honda Lock
Sun 30 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 3-1 Arte Takasaki
Sun 30 Jul: YKK AP 2-1 SC Tottori

1 Honda FC 50 (+23)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 46 (+21)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 42 (+31)
4 YKK AP 42 (+24)
5 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 42 (+20)
6 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+11)
7 Tochigi SC 38 (+10)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 37 (+17)
9 Sony Sendai 32 (+6)
10 SC Tottori 23 (+2)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-16)
12 JEF Club 19 (-9)
13 FC Kariya 19 (-17)
14 Sagawa Printing 19 (-20)
15 FC Ryukyu 18 (-11)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 15 (-21)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 14 (-33)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-38)

30 Jul 06 - Sagawa Tokyo have beaten Arte Takasaki 3-1, you know

Sagawa Tokyo have beaten Arte Takasaki 3-1, you know
Tokai League Division 1
In failing to win one of their two games in hand on Saturday, Tokai League Division 1 title holders Shizuoka FC have surely more or less handed their crown to FC Gifu. Following their home draw with Maruyasu Industry, Shizuoka have four fixtures remaining and an eight-point gap to make up, meaning that unbeaten Gifu can take a giant step towards winning the league when they themselves play Maruyasu next weekend.

Sat 29 Jul: Shizuoka FC 2-2 Maruyasu Industry

1 FC Gifu 31 (+34)
2 Shizuoka FC 23 (+23)
3 Yazaki Valente 21 (+3)
4 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 15 (-6)
5 Maruyama Industry 14 (-3)
6 Fujieda City Hall 9 (-10)
7 Chukyo University 8 (-12)
8 ACM Central 1 (-29)
JFL - Round 21 (Saturday)
Rosso Kumamoto might have made it four wins on the trot when they beat Sony Sendai 3-1 in their JFL match on Saturday, but it's still Honda FC setting the pace at the top of the table. A Junya Nitta goal just after the half hour was enough to overcome Yokogawa Musashino and to maintain the four-point gap between Honda and Rosso. But the chasing pack is - over Saturday night, at least - led by Sagawa Kyubin Osaka, whose 2-0 win at Tochigi SC has surely ended their hosts' hopes of taking the title this season. In the other game, Alo's Hokuriku are now unbeaten in five following a 3-1 win over Sagawa Printing.

29 Jul 06 - Yokogawa Musashino banners at their match with Honda FC

Yokogawa Musashino banners at their match with Honda FC

Sat 29 Jul: Alo's Hokuriku 3-1 Sagawa Printing
Sat 29 Jul: Honda FC 1-0 Yokogawa Musashino
Sat 29 Jul: Rosso Kumamoto 3-1 Sony Sendai
Sat 29 Jul: Tochigi SC 0-2 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka

1 Honda FC 50 (+23)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 46 (+21)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 42 (+20)
4 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 39 (+29)
5 YKK AP 39 (+23)
6 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+11)
7 Tochigi SC 38 (+10)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 37 (+17)
9 Sony Sendai 32 (+6)
10 SC Tottori 23 (+3)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-14)
12 JEF Club 19 (-8)
13 FC Kariya 19 (-16)
14 Sagawa Printing 19 (-20)
15 FC Ryukyu 15 (-12)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 12 (-22)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-35)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-36)

29 Jul 06 - Yutaka Takahashi, on target again for Rosso Kumamoto

Yutaka Takahashi, on target again for Rosso Kumamoto
Tohoku League Division 2 (South)
Just one game in the Tohoku League Division 2 (South) over the weekend, but since Marysol Matsushima lost for the first and so far only time this year against Furukawa Battery, they have gone on to rattle in thirteen goals in just two matches. An 8-1 thrashing of Kureha Chemicals two weeks ago was followed up by Sunday's 5-0 triumph over Yamagata's Kanai Club. This extends Marysol's lead to three points, but Furukawa have two games in hand.

Sun 23 Jul: Kanai Club 0-5 Marysol Matsushima

1 Marysol Matsushima 21 (+26)
2 Furukawa Battery 18 (+17)
3 Northern Peaks Koriyama 12 (+9)
4 Kanai Club 6 (-4)
5 FC Perada Fukushima 4 (-11)
6 Shichigahama SC 4 (-15)
7 Kureha Chemicals 0 (-22)
Tokai League Division 2
New leaders in the Tokai League Division 2, Kasugai Club took advantage of Honda Suzuka's shock home defeat by Mind House TC in order to move to the top on goal difference. Indeed, through beating third-placed Konica Minolta Toyokawa, Kasugai have established a six-point gap that should see the current top two achieve automatic promotion come the end of the season, which for most clubs is in four games' time. At the bottom of the division it was a terrible week for Morishin's FC, who dropped two places as a result of conceding a late Nagoya Club goal to lose 3-2, together with Fuyo Club's 4-0 pasting of FC Kawasaki - all of which means that the two teams who won promotion from the prefectural leagues at the end of 2005 currently occupy the automatic relegation positions.

23 Jul 06 - Nagoya Club in yellow overcome a somewhat directionless Morishin’s

Nagoya Club in yellow overcome a somewhat directionless Morishin’s

Sun 23 Jul: Fuyo Club 4-0 FC Kawasaki
Sun 23 Jul: Honda Suzuka 2-3 Mind House TC
Sun 23 Jul: Konica Minolta Toyokawa 0-1 Kasugai Club
Sun 23 Jul: Nagoya Club 3-2 Morishin's FC

1 Kasugai Club 22 (+10)
2 Honda Suzuka 22 (+8)
3 Konica Minolta Toyokawa 16 (+5)
4 Mind House TC 16 (+4)
5 Fuyo Club 14 (-2)
6 Nagoya Club 12 (-3)
7 Morishin's FC 11 (-)
8 FC Kawasaki 3 (-22)
Tokai League Division 1
Shizuoka FC may have two games in hand, but the march of FC Gifu to the Tokai League title appears relentless after their 8-0 drubbing of Chukyo University on Sunday. Former Arte Takasaki striker Atsushi Katagiri chipped in with a hat-trick and with only three more rounds of matches to go, Gifu's dominance over the division seems complete. Elsewhere, Fujieda City Hall picked up their first home win of the year in astonishing style over whipping boys ACM Central, achieving the same result as Gifu to leapfrog over Chukyo and out of the relegation zone. Yazaki Valente managed to close the gap between themselves and second-placed Shizuoka thanks to a 4-1 win over Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo.

23 Jul 06 - Ex-Tokushima Vortis defender Takayuki Komine gives it some welly for Gifu

Ex-Tokushima Vortis defender Takayuki Komine gives it some welly for Gifu

Sat 22 Jul: Fujieda City Hall 8-0 ACM Central
Sat 22 Jul: Yazaki Valente 4-1 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo

Sun 23 Jul: Chukyo University 0-8 FC Gifu

1 FC Gifu 31 (+34)
2 Shizuoka FC 22 (+23)
3 Yazaki Valente 21 (+3)
4 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 15 (-6)
5 Maruyama Industry 13 (-3)
6 Fujieda City Hall 9 (-10)
7 Chukyo University 8 (-12)
8 ACM Central 1 (-29)
Tohoku League Division 1
Following their win the previous weekend in the East Japan Football Tournament, TDK Akita returned on Sunday to the more important business of winning the Tohoku League Division 1 title. Taking on newly promoted side Sendai Nakata Club - who have found the going tough in their first season at regional level - TDK actually made distinctly heavy weather of the inevitable victory, recording only a 2-1 win. The three points nevertheless increases their lead over Grulla Morioka to six, ahead of this coming weekend's showdown between the Tohoku League's Big Two.

23 Jul 06 - TDK and Sendai Nakata line up before kick-off

TDK and Sendai Nakata line up before kick-off

Sun 23 Jul: TDK Akita 2-1 Sendai Nakata Club

1 TDK Akita 27 (+36)
2 Grulla Morioka 21 (+10)
3 NEC Tokin 16 (+6)
4 FC Primeiro 16 (-6)
5 Wiese Shiogama 9 (-4)
6 Morioka Zebra 5 (-15)
7 Sendai Nakata Club 3 (-6)
8 Nippon Steel Kamaishi 1 (-21)
Hokushinetsu League Division 2 - Round 13
Huge changes in the Hokushinetsu League Division 2 to report following a series of shock results in the penultimate round of matches. Leaders and promotion favourites Valiente Toyama could have put one foot in Division 1 if they'd been able to defeat a mid-ranking FC Antelope side but instead were thrashed 5-0; second-placed FC Kanazu were unable to take advantage, however, as they too fell to a shock 2-1 loss against lowly LionPower Komatsu. All of which means that it's now TOP Niigata who head the standings, thanks to their 1-0 win against Toyama Shinjo Club. This has in turn left Shinjo in danger of automatic relegation to the prefectural leagues, as bottom-placed Nissei Resin stayed in touch by beating Maruoka Phoenix in the other match. The final round of games in September sees TOP host Valiente in a genuine title decider.

23 Jul 06 - Valiente Toyama in white lose out to a rampant FC Antelope

Valiente Toyama in white lose out to a rampant FC Antelope

Sun 23 Jul: FC Antelope 5-0 Valiente Toyama
Sun 23 Jul: LionPower Komatsu 2-1 FC Kanazu
Sun 23 Jul: Nissei Resin 3-1 Maruoka Phoenix
Sun 23 Jul: Toyama Shinjo Club 0-1 TOP Niigata

1 TOP Niigata 22 (+6)
2 Valiente Toyama 21 (+3)
3 FC Kanazu 19 (+5)
4 Maruoka Phoenix 19 (+1)
5 FC Antelope 18 (+2)
6 LionPower Komatsu 16 (-13)
7 Toyama Shinjo Club 15 (-8)
8 Nissei Resin 12 (+4)
Hokushinetsu League Division 1 - Round 13
The Hokushinetsu League Division 1 title race for 2006 is realistically now down to only two contenders with a single match remaining, as the top three teams all registered narrow wins on Sunday - meaning that Matsumoto Yamaga Club's brave challenge is over, despite beating neighbours Ueda Gentian 1-0. They are now two points behind front runners Nagano Elsa and just one behind Japan Soccer College, but the leading pair meet in a title decider in September and Matsumoto's far inferior goal difference means that it is virtually impossible for them to take the title, whatever the score between their two rivals. On Sunday, however, Nagano Elsa had probably the toughest game but still overcame Zweigen Kanazawa 2-1, while Japan Soccer College were 2-0 winners over Fervorosa. In the other fixture, relegated Teihens FC capped a terrible year with a 4-3 home defeat to Niigata University of Management - but all attention now is on that final round of matches.

23 Jul 06 - Action from Japan Soccer College’s win over Fervorosa (white)

Action from Japan Soccer College’s win over Fervorosa (white)

Sun 23 Jul: Japan Soccer College 2-0 Fervorosa
Sun 23 Jul: Matsumoto Yamaga Club 1-0 Ueda Gentian
Sun 23 Jul: Nagano Elsa 2-1 Zweigen Kanazawa
Sun 23 Jul: Teihens FC 3-4 Niigata University of Management

1 Nagano Elsa 33 (+44)
2 Japan Soccer College 32 (+32)
3 Matsumoto Yamaga Club 31 (+23)
4 Zweigen Kanazawa 21 (+22)
5 Fervorosa 11 (-10)
6 Niigata University of Management 11 (-32)
7 Ueda Gentian 7 (-29)
8 Teihens FC 2 (-50)


23 Jul 06 - Zweigen Kanazawa put Nagano Elsa under pressure

Zweigen Kanazawa put Nagano Elsa under pressure
Kanto League Division 2 - Round 11
It was a day to forget for the two teams occupying the promotion places in the Kanto League Division 2 on Sunday, as FC Machida Zelvia fell to a shock defeat at Nirasaki Astros and form team Furukawa Electrics Chiba's run of five consecutive wins came to an end in no uncertain terms when they were crushed 5-2 by Hitachi Tochigi Uva. It's Hitachi who have gained most from all this, as they now stand just a point behind Furukawa with three games to go; a crunch match next week. however, will see Machida take on Furukawa. In the relegation zone, All Kamisu SC and Aries FC both look in real danger after defeats by Kanagawa Teachers and Ome FC respectively.

23 Jul 06 Takafumi Yoshida, two-goal hero for Ome FC

Takafumi Yoshida, two-goal hero for Ome FC. Cheer up, lad

Sun 23 Jul: Aries FC 1-4 Ome FC
Sun 23 Jul: Hitachi Tochigi Uva 5-2 Furukawa Electrics Chiba
Sun 23 Jul: Kanagawa Teachers 3-2 All Kamisu SC
Sun 23 Jul: Nirasaki Astros 3-2 FC Machida Zelvia

1 FC Machida Zelvia 23 (+23)
2 Furukawa Electrics Chiba 22 (+9)
3 Hitachi Tochigi Uva 21 (+10)
4 Nirasaki Astros 18 (-2)
5 Ome FC 15 (-2)
6 Kanagawa Teachers 11 (-8)
7 All Kamisu SC 6 (-16)
8 Aries FC 5 (-14)
Kanto League Division 1 - Round 11
Reigning Kanto League Division 1 title holders Luminozo Sayama are slowly but surely reeling 2006's season-long leaders Yaita SC and with three games remaining the gap between the two is down to just three points. Although the schedule has had a break for the last four weeks, Yaita's stuttering form - now one win in four - continued with a draw against Saitama SC, while Luminozo were overcoming YSCC. At the foot of the table, a 1-1 draw on Saturday between the relegation-threatened pair of MSDF Atsugi Marcus and Hanno Bruder probably benefitted neither of them, especially in the light of their rivals Toho Titanium's 1-0 win over Toshiba Fuchu.

22 Jul 06 - More wild enthusiasm from Hanno Bruder and MSDF Atsugi Marcus

More wild enthusiasm from Hanno Bruder and MSDF Atsugi Marcus

Sat 22 Jul: MSDF Atsugi Marcus 1-1 Hanno Bruder

Sun 23 Jul: Luminozo Sayama 3-2 YSCC
Sun 23 Jul: Saitama SC 1-1 Yaita SC
Sun 23 Jul: Toho Titanium 1-0 Toshiba Fuchu

1 Yaita SC 24 (+12)
2 Luminozo Sayama 21 (+11)
3 Toshiba Fuchu 16 (+2)
4 Saitama SC 16 (+6)
5 YSCC 15 (+4)
6 Toho Titanium 13 (-11)
7 MSDF Atsugi Marcus 9 (-10)
8 Hanno Bruder 7 (-14)
JFL - Round 20 (Sunday)
Second half goals from Junya Nitta and Shigeru Suzuki gave JFL leaders Honda FC a vital 2-0 win at Sagawa Kyubin Osaka on Sunday, thereby inflicting defeat upon one of their nearest challengers and consolidating their own position as top dogs. In fact, the league is potentially beginning to turn into a two-horse race, a development brought about by not only Honda's good form and that of Rosso Kumamoto - who stay second thanks to a comfortable and thoroughly unsurprising 3-0 win at lowly Mistubishi Mizushima - but also the failure of any of the other top teams to piece together a good run of results at this stage of the season.

With Tochigi SC having lost on Saturday at Sagawa Printing, the coast was especially clear for Yokogawa Musashino to make their mark on proceedings, but they conceded three times in nine second half minutes to slump to defeat at the hands of a resurgent Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo, who themselves now lie in third on the back of six straight victories. Early season frontrunners YKK AP moved back up to fourth after beating Ryutsu Keizai University, but the fact that this was the Toyama-based outfit's first win in eight games goes some way towards demonstrating how the tables are turned in favour of Honda and Rosso: the fact that such a clearly out-of-form team can still hold on to fourth place suggests that it is going to be hard for anyone to put together a serious challenge.

23 Jul 06 - Sagawa Kyubin Osaka try to break down the Honda FC defence

Sagawa Kyubin Osaka try to break down the Honda FC defence

Elsewhere, FC Ryukyu gained a crucial three points in their battle to avoid a relegation play-off spot, as a 62nd-minute Takashi Seki goal was enough to beat the doomed-looking Honda Lock. But mid-table Sony Sendai achieved the result of the day, as two goals apiece from Shinji Honda and Junpei Murata helped them to a 6-2 thumping of an Arte Takasaki team who have now conceded twelve in three games and seem to be in freefall.

Sun 23 Jul: Arte Takasaki 2-6 Sony Sendai
Sun 23 Jul: Honda Lock 0-1 FC Ryukyu
Sun 23 Jul: Mitsubishi Mizushima 0-3 Rosso Kumamoto
Sun 23 Jul: Ryutsu Keizai University 0-2 YKK AP
Sun 23 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 0-2 Honda FC
Sun 23 Jul: Yokogawa Musashino 3-4 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo

1 Honda FC 47 (+22)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 43 (+19)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 39 (+29)
4 YKK AP 39 (+23)
5 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+18)
6 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+12)
7 Tochigi SC 38 (+12)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 34 (+15)
9 Sony Sendai 32 (+8)
10 SC Tottori 23 (+3)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-14)
12 JEF Club 19 (-8)
13 FC Kariya 19 (-16)
14 Sagawa Printing 19 (-18)
15 FC Ryukyu 15 (-12)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 12 (-22)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-35)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-36)

23 Jul 06 - A midfield tussle between Mitsubishi Mizushima and Rosso Kumamoto

A midfield tussle between Mitsubishi Mizushima and Rosso Kumamoto
JFL - Round 20 (Saturday)
There was no movement whatsoever in the JFL table following the three fixtures on Saturday, but this is not to say that the games were insignificant. SC Tottori put two straight defeats behind them to move onto more familiar territory as the league's draw specialists with a 1-1 tie at home to Alo's Hokuriku - not the most remarkable result, admittedly - but elsewhere FC Kariya's 2-1 victory over JEF Club sees the Aichi-based club take a huge step towards safety at the foot of the table. For Kariya are now eight points ahead of Mitsubishi Mizushima in the relegation play-off positions, and indeed the same can now be said, too, of Sagawa Printing, whose surprise 2-0 win over Tochigi SC came off the back of two heavy defeats. While also enabling Printing to breathe more easily, the scoreline was a hammer blow to Tochigi's hopes of taking the title this season, given that they will be seven points behind Honda FC if the leaders their Sunday game against Sagawa Kyubin Osaka.

23 Jul 06 - Noriaki Sanenobu bursts through the Alo’s defence for Tottori

Noriaki Sanenobu bursts through the Alo’s defence for Tottori

Sat 22 Jul: FC Kariya 2-1 JEF Club
Sat 22 Jul: Sagawa Printing 2-0 Tochigi SC
Sat 22 Jul: SC Tottori 1-1 Alo's Hokuriku

1 Honda FC 44 (+20)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 40 (+16)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+20)
4 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+13)
5 Tochigi SC 38 (+12)
6 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 36 (+28)
7 YKK AP 36 (+21)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 34 (+15)
9 Sony Sendai 29 (+4)
10 SC Tottori 23 (+3)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-10)
12 JEF Club 19 (-8)
13 FC Kariya 19 (-16)
14 Sagawa Printing 19 (-18)
15 FC Ryukyu 12 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 12 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-35)

22 Jul 06 - Tochigi warm up before their defeat at Sagawa Printing

Tochigi warm up before their defeat at Sagawa Printing
Emperor's Cup 2006 Format
The JFA have confirmed the draw for the opening rounds of the Emperor's Cup proper for 2006. As usual, each prefecture will be represented by just one team from below the ranks of the J-League itself, with the preliminary tournaments to decide on who those teams will be taking place across Japan at the moment. So the draw as it stands involves nothing more than deciding which prefectures' teams will play against each other prior to the J2 sides becoming involved at the Third Round stage. JNFN will aim to provide as much information as possible about the prefectural tournaments in due course, but the basics of the draw are as follows:

Sun 17 Sep: Hokkaido - Oita
Sun 17 Sep: Nagano - Kyoto
Sat 23 Sep: Hokkaido or Oita - Nagano or Kyoto
Sun 08 Oct: Hokkaido, Oita, Nagano or Kyoto - Consadole Sapporo


Sun 17 Sep: Iwate - Kochi
Sun 17 Sep: Tottori - Miyagi
Sat 23 Sep: Iwate or Kochi - Tottori or Miyagi
Sun 08 Oct: Iwate, Kochi, Tottori or Miyagi - Honda FC


Sun 17 Sep: Ishikawa - Kagoshima
Sun 17 Sep: Shiga - Fukui
Sat 23 Sep: Ishikawa or Kagoshima - Shiga or Fukui
Sun 08 Oct: Ishikawa, Kagoshima, Shiga or Fukui - Ehime FC


Sun 17 Sep: Yamanashi - Yamagata
Sun 17 Sep: Yamaguchi - Ritsumeikan University
Sat 23 Sep: Yamanashi or Yamagata - Yamaguchi or Ritsumeikan University
Sun 08 Oct: Yamanashi, Yamagata, Yamaguchi or Ritsumeikan University - Sagan Tosu


Sun 17 Sep: Fukushima - Okayama
Sun 17 Sep: Shimane - Ehime
Sat 23 Sep: Fukushima or Okayama - Shimane or Ehime
Sun 08 Oct: Fukushima, Okayama, Shimane or Ehime - Montedio Yamagata


Sun 17 Sep: Mie - Osaka
Sun 17 Sep: Tokushima - Okinawa
Sat 23 Sep: Mie or Osaka - Tokushima or Okinawa
Sun 08 Oct: Mie, Osaka, Tokushima or Okinawa - Shonan Bellmare


Sun 17 Sep: Gifu - Hiroshima
Sat 23 Sep: Gifu or Hiroshima - Kanagawa
Sun 08 Oct: Gifu, Hiroshima or Kanagawa - Thespa Kusatsu


Sun 17 Sep: Miyazaki - Chiba
Sat 23 Sep: Miyazaki or Chiba - Fukuoka
Sun 08 Oct: Miyazaki, Chiba or Fukuoka - Tokushima Vortis


Sun 17 Sep: Nagasaki - Hyogo
Sat 23 Sep: Nagasaki or Hyogo - Aichi
Sun 08 Oct: Nagasaki, Hyogo or Aichi - Yokohama FC


Sun 17 Sep: Tochigi - Saga
Sat 23 Sep: Tochigi or Saga - Saitama
Sun 08 Oct: Tochigi, Saga or Saitama - Tokyo Verdy 1969


Sun 17 Sep: Kagawa - Kumamoto
Sat 23 Sep: Kagawa or Kumamoto - Ibaraki
Sun 08 Oct: Kagawa, Kumamoto or Ibaraki - Vegalta Sendai


Sun 17 Sep: Nara - Gunma
Sat 23 Sep: Nara or Gunma - Shizuoka
Sun 08 Oct: Nara, Gunma or Shizuoka - Mito Hollyhock


Sun 17 Sep: Wakayama - Aomori
Sat 23 Sep: Wakayama or Aomori - Toyama
Sun 08 Oct: Wakayama, Aomori or Toyama - Vissel Kobe


Sun 17 Sep: Akita - Niigata
Sat 23 Sep: Akita or Niigata - Tokyo
Sun 08 Oct: Akita, Niigata or Tokyo - Kashiwa Reysol
7th Eastern Japan Football Tournament
第7回東日本社会人大会

As mentioned here on JNFN at the end of June, the Eastern Japan Football Tournament took place in Fukui prefecture last weekend and was won by the representatives of the Tohoku region, TDK Akita. Although not run along quite the same lines as its Western equivalent, the competition has a comparably confusing format, not helped by the fact that it is a knock-out tournament with only six teams. However, the key point is that the teams that get eliminated in each round still play one further match against each other, in order ultimately to decide a one-to-six ranking that includes every contender. On their way to retaining the trophy from last year, TDK scraped past Tokai's Shizuoka FC on penalties in the First Round, eased past an Ishikawa Prefectural XI in the Second and then again needed penalties to overcome Norbritz Hokkaido in the Final. The full results and final ranking are as per below.

22 Jul 06 - TDK Akita pose with their winners’ booty

TDK Akita pose with their winners’ booty

First Round

Sat 15 Jul: Gunma Prefectural XI 1-4 Fukui Prefectural XI
Sat 15 Jul: Shizuoka FC 1-1 TDK Akita (PK 3-5)

First Round Runners-up Game

Sun 16 Jul: Shizuoka FC 10-0 Gunma Prefectural XI

Second Round

Sun 16 Jul: Norbritz Hokkaido 3-0 Fukui Prefectural XI
Sun 16 Jul: TDK Akita 2-0 Ishikawa Prefectural XI

Second Round Runners-up Game

Mon 17 Jul: Fukui Prefectural XI 5-3 Ishikawa Prefectural XI

Final

Mon 17 Jul: Norbritz Hokkaido 2-2 TDK Akita (PK 1-3)

1 TDK Akita
2 Norbritz Hokkaido
3 Fukui Prefectural XI
4 Ishikawa Prefectural XI
5 Shizuoka FC


22 Jul 06 - Announcing the delights of the competition to the world

Announcing the delights of the competition to the world
Tohoku League Division 2 (North)
Just one lower level match from the Tohoku League Division 2 (North) to report on from the weekend, with newly-promoted Fuji Club 2003 picking up their fourth draw in eight matches against Hokuto Bank. While Fuji remain close to the bottom and Aster Aomori, Hokuto are slowly putting together a more respectable season this year after finishing dead last in 2005, when they conceded more than four goals per game.

Sun 17 Jul: Fuji Club 2003 1-1 Hokuto Bank

1 FC Akita Cambiare 24 (+18)
2 Mizusawa United Club 18 (+12)
3 Tono Club 10 (+6)
4 Vanrarure Hachinohe 7 (-4)
5 Hokuto Bank 5 (-2)
6 TDK Shinwakai 5 (-11)
7 Fuji Club 2003 4 (-8)
8 Aster Aomori 3 (-11)
Iwase Leaves Sagawa Tokyo
25-year-old defender Kosuke Iwase, formerly with Nippon University, has left JFL side Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo.
Grulla New Signing
Tohoku League side Grulla Morioka have announced the signing of a new player in a bid to reverse their recent run of form that has seen them slip some three points behind leaders TDK Akita in the fight for a place in the end-of-season promotion play-offs. Junpei Onodera is 21 next week and moves from Tokyo 23 SC, a club which entered the Tokyo Prefectural League in 2005 with the intention of bringing J-League football to their own area of the capital. Onodera's first opportunity to make an impact in the league comes at the beginning of August, when Grulla travel to TDK in a crunch match that looks likely to decide the destination of this season's Tohoku League title.
Tokai League Division 2
With front pair Honda Suzuka and Kasugai Club out of action in the Tokai League Division 2 over the weekend, third place Konica Minolta Toyokawa made the most of the opportunity to close the gap as they strolled to a 6-1 win over FC Kawasaki. This result will potentially take on more significance come the next round of fixtures, when Konica play host to Kasugai knowing that a win could see them move into one of the promotion spots. Elsewhere, mid-table Mind House TC made it four wins in five games as they beat Nagoya Club 1-0, while Morishin's FC and Fuyo Club drew one apiece.

16 Jul 06 - Fuyo Club on the ball against Morishin’s FC

Fuyo Club on the ball against Morishin’s FC

Sun 16 Jul: FC Kawasaki 1-6 Konica Minolta Toyokawa
Sun 16 Jul: Mind House TC 1-0 Nagoya Club
Sun 16 Jul: Morishin's FC 1-1 Fuyo Club

1 Honda Suzuka 22 (+9)
2 Kasugai Club 19 (+9)
3 Konica Minolta Toyokawa 16 (+6)
4 Mind House TC 13 (+3)
5 Morishin's FC 11 (+1)
6 Fuyo Club 11 (-5)
7 Nagoya Club 9 (-4)
8 FC Kawasaki 3 (-19)

16 Jul 06 - Mind House TC take on the snazzily-numbered Nagoya Club

Mind House TC take on the snazzily-numbered Nagoya Club
Shikoku League - Round 11
Time is running out for Shikoku League champions Nangoku Kochi if they hope to retain their title this year. For although the team and most notably striker Yohei Ueta are in form and winning - as demonstrated by Sunday's 7-1 thrashing of Ventana AC, in which Ueta notched up four - they're still having to play catch up to their new rivals from the north of the island, Kamatamare Sanuki. Although they needed to come from a goal down at half-time, Kamatamare's 3-1 win at Tokushima Vortis Amateur was their fourth in a row since the team's single slip-up of the year against Ehime Shimanami and the gap between themselves as frontrunners and Nangoku remains at five points. Shimanami are indeed in joint second after they put nine past relegation certainties Sanwa Club, while in the other match Sanyo Electric Tokushima eased to a 3-0 win over their neighbours Alex SC.

16 Jul 06 - Sanyo Tokushima’s beautifully-located ground stages the Tokushima Vortis Amateur - Kamatamare Sanuki match

Sanyo Tokushima’s beautifully-located ground stages the Tokushima Vortis Amateur - Kamatamare Sanuki match

Sun 16 Jul: Ehime Shimanami 9-1 Sanwa Club
Sun 16 Jul: Sanyo Electric Tokushima 3-0 Alex SC
Sun 16 Jul: Tokushima Vortis Amateur 1-3 Kamatamare Sanuki
Sun 16 Jul: Ventana AC 1-7 Nangoku Kochi

1 Kamatamare Sanuki 30 (+30)
2 Nangoku Kochi 25 (+35)
3 Ehime Shimanami 25 (+25)
4 Sanyo Electric Tokushima 19 (+8)
5 Tokushima Vortis Amateur 9 (-7)
6 Alex SC 8 (-24)
7 Ventana AC 7 (-28)
8 Sanwa Club 1 (-39)
All-Japan Shakaijin 2006 - Chugoku Qualification Tournament
第40回中国社会人サッカー選手権大会兼

Sat 15 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 9-0 Notorious
Sat 15 Jul: SCD Okayama 1-5 SC Matsue
Sat 15 Jul: JFE Steel 2-2 Nippon Oil Mizushima (PK 4-5)
Sat 15 Jul: Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado 1-6 FC Central Chugoku
Sat 15 Jul: Hiroshima Teachers 4-1 Renofa Yamaguchi
Sat 15 Jul: Matsue RM Friends 0-4 NTN Okayama
Sat 15 Jul: Mazda SC 3-3 Genki SC (PK 11-10)
Sat 15 Jul: Yahhh Man SC 1-6 Fagiano Okayama

Sun 16 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 2-0 SC Matsue
Sun 16 Jul: Nippon Oil Mizushima 0-3 FC Central Chugoku
Sun 16 Jul: Hiroshima Teachers 6-1 NTN Okayama
Sun 16 Jul: Fagiano Okayama 4-1 Mazda SC

Mon 17 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 3-0 FC Central Chugoku
Mon 17 Jul: Fagiano Okayama 4-0 Hiroshima Teachers

Mon 17 Jul: Fagiano Okayama 3-2 Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku

Fagiano Okayama and Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku therefore qualify for the national finals in Akita in October.

18 Jul 06 - Fagiano Okayama fans cheer their team on to victory over Hiroshima Teachers

Fagiano Okayama fans cheer their team on to victory over Hiroshima Teachers
JFL - Round 19 (Monday)
JEF Club had a comfortable enough game against bottom side Honda Lock in the last remaining round 19 JFL fixture on the holiday Monday, the three points helping JEF to move away from the relegation zone and further towards the comfort of mid-table. Shoma Mizunaga's 78th-minute goal for Lock was effectively a consolation for his beleaguered team, who are beginning to look as if they may struggle to stay out of regional football when the play-offs roll around.

17 Jul 06 - Honda Lock on the defensive at JEF Club

Honda Lock on the defensive at JEF Club

Mon 17 Jul: JEF Club 3-1 Honda Lock

1 Honda FC 44 (+20)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 40 (+16)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+20)
4 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+13)
5 Tochigi SC 38 (+14)
6 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 36 (+28)
7 YKK AP 36 (+21)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 33 (+15)
9 Sony Sendai 29 (+4)
10 SC Tottori 22 (+3)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-10)
12 JEF Club 19 (-7)
13 FC Kariya 16 (-17)
14 Sagawa Printing 16 (-20)
15 FC Ryukyu 12 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 12 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-35)
Tokai League Division 1
There were only three games in the Tokai League Division 1 on Sunday, as title challengers Shizuoka FC's match with ACM Central is to be played in September. Before an astonishing crowd of 12,600 - easily the biggest outside the J-League this year - FC Gifu therefore took the opportunity to extend their lead over Shizuoka to six points with a 4-0 defeat of Yazaki Valente . Mid-table outfit Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo were the other big winners of the day, 4-2 against relegation candidates Fujieda City Hall, while Maruyasu Industry squeezed past Chukyo University.

16 Jul 06 - One of the smaller FC Gifu fans

One of the smaller FC Gifu fans at their match with Yazaki Valente

Sun 16 Jul: FC Gifu 4-0 Yazaki Valente
Sun 16 Jul: Maruyasu Industry 1-0 Chukyo University
Sun 16 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 4-2 Fujieda City Hall

1 FC Gifu 28 (+26)
2 Shizuoka FC 22 (+23)
3 Yazaki Valente 18 (-)
4 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 15 (+2)
5 Maruyasu Industry 13 (-3)
6 Chukyo University 8 (-4)
7 Fujieda City Hall 6 (-18)
8 ACM Central 1 (-21)
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