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Hokkaido League
The weekend saw a double-header of fixtures - rounds 2 and 3 - in the Hokkaido League and although champions Norbritz Hokkaido already look like the team to beat, newly-promoted Sapporo Winds are putting up an impressive showing during their first season at Regional level. Norbritz have a 100% record after wins over Hokushukai and Blackpecker Hakodate, but Winds are just a couple of points behind thanks to a 2-1 win over bottom place Tokachifairsky Genesis and a draw with Hokushukai. It was a good weekend for Toyota Motors Hokkaido, who notched up a pair of 1-0 victories at the expense of Barefoot Hokkaido and a surprisingly poor Sapporo FC. They also lost to Blackpecker, who are fourth in the table as a result.

20 MAy 07 - Without doubt a photo of Toyota Motors against Sapporo FC

Without doubt a photo of Toyota Motors against Sapporo FC

Sat 19 May: Hokushukai 2-4 Norbritz Hokkaido
Sat 19 May: Sapporo FC 2-3 Blackpecker Hakodate
Sat 19 May: Sapporo Winds 2-1 Tokachifairsky Genesis
Sat 19 May: Toyota Motors Hokkaido 1-0 Barefoot Hokkaido

Sun 20 May: Barefoot Hokkaido 3-2 Tokachifairsky Genesis
Sun 20 May: Hokushukai 1-1 Sapporo Winds
Sun 20 May: Norbritz Hokkaido 3-1 Blackpecker Hakodate
Sun 20 May: Toyota Motors Hokkaido 1-0 Sapporo FC

1. Norbritz Hokkaido 9 (+6)
2. Sapporo Winds 7 (+2)
3. Toyota Motors Hokkaido 6 (-)
4. Blackpecker Hakodate 4 (-1)
5. Barefoot Hokkaido 3 (-1)
6. Hokushukai 2 (-2)
7. Sapporo FC 1 (-2)
8. Tokachifairsky Genesis 1 (-2)
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Chugoku League
The white flag has effectively been raised by all other participants in the Chugoku League and 2006 champions Fagiano Okayama already have one hand on the crown for this year as well. In front of another crowd in excess of 2000 - for the club are arguably the best-supported Regional League outfit in Japan - Fagiano were 5-0 up at half-time in their crucial clash with nearest challengers FC Central Chugoku. The game finished 7-2, with FC Central in fact scoring the first goals conceded by the champions-elect during this season, but the gap between the two now stands at nine points.

Moving up into third place are Renofa Yamaguchi, who trailed 1-0 at the interval but came back to beat Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 3-1. It is possible to view this scoreline as a shift in power away from the corporate teams in Chugoku, given that J-League-focused community-based sides now occupy the top three positions in the table. Like Sagawa, Hiroshima Fujita SC are on a downward slope and dropped into the bottom two following their 1-1 draw with JFE Steel Western Japan. Mazda SC, promoted from the Hiroshima Prefectural League at the end of 2006, pulled off a useful 3-1 win at Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado to jump up towards mid-table.

20 MAy 07 - Meet and greet at Fagiano Okayama

Meet and greet at Fagiano Okayama

Sun 20 May: Fagiano Okayama 7-2 FC Central Chugoku
Sun 20 May: Hiroshima Fujita SC 1-1 JFE Steel Western Japan
Sun 20 May: Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado 1-3 Mazda SC
Sun 20 May: Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 1-3 Renofa Yamaguchi

1. Fagiano Okayama 21 (+30)
2. FC Central Chugoku 12 (+4)
3. Renofa Yamaguchi 11 (-2)
4. Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 9 (+9)
5. Mazda SC 7 (-8)
6. JFE Steel Western Japan 7 (-11)
7. Hiroshima Fujita SC 5 (-5)
8. Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado 3 (-17)
JFL Sunday Scores
It was the game of the season so far down in Kyushu on Sunday, where JFL title challengers Rosso Kumamoto hosted FC Gifu in a crucial battle. Sagawa Kyubin SC may be clear leaders at present, but amongst the clubs fighting it out for a place in J2 there is everything to play for and it was Gifu who came away with three points. Former Tokushima Vortis striker Jorginho's goal just four minutes into the second half gave the visitors the victory and means that they move into second place behind Sagawa.

Rosso meanwhile are comfortable enough in third, six points ahead of a Yokogawa Musashino side who are showing consistent year-on-year improvement - an impressive feat for what is now the top-ranking amateur team in the country. They beat YKK AP 2-0 with goals from Kenji Nogi and striker Koji Murayama to bounce back from last weekend's defeat in Kumamoto.

Lower down the table, JEF Reserves came from a goal down to beat Sagawa Printing and so continue their fight to gain a place in the top half of the division alongside teams such as Alo's Hokuriku and 2006 champions Honda FC. And Toshitaka Tsurumi, the latest in a long line of players to move from Shonan Bellmare to Gainare Tottori, helped his new club to overcome Ryutsu Keizai University for a vital three points.

20 May 07 - Yokogawa Musashino in blue get the better of YKK AP

Yokogawa Musashino in blue get the better of YKK AP

Sun 20 May: Gainare Tottori 1-0 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sun 20 May: JEF Reserves 2-1 Sagawa Printing
Sun 20 May: Rosso Kumamoto 0-1 FC Gifu
Sun 20 May: Yokogawa Musashino 2-0 YKK AP

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 31 (+23)
2. FC Gifu 29 (+9)
3. Rosso Kumamoto 27 (+13)
4. Yokogawa Musashino 21 (+9)
5. Tochigi SC 21 (+8)
6. YKK AP 21 (+7)
7. Honda FC 19 (+4)
8. Alo's Hokuriku 19 (-2)
9. JEF Reserves 17 (+1)
10. TDK SC 17 (-1)
11. Gainare Tottori 14 (-3)
12. FC Kariya 13 (-4)
13. Ryutsu Keizai University 13 (-4)
14. Mitsubishi Mizushima 13 (-4)
15. Sagawa Printing 10 (-10)
16. FC Ryukyu 9 (-13)
17. Sony Sendai 5 (-19)
18. Arte Takasaki 4 (-16)

20 May 07 - Rosso Kumamoto on the defensive (?) against FC Gifu

Rosso Kumamoto on the defensive (?) against FC Gifu
Kansai League Division 2
The top of the table clash in Division 2 of the Kansai League on Saturday ended all-square between Hannan University and Takada FC - but the two clubs remain eight points clear of the rest of the field. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe also stay in third place after a 2-1 win over bottom side Kihoku Football Group. Kyoto Shiko Club and Riseisha FC are chasing Mitsubishi in what is - Hannan and Takeda aside - a very close league. Shiko claimed a 4-1 win over Hermano Osaka, while Riseisha beat Kohga School 2-0.

19 May 07 - Riseisha go Ner Ner Nuh Nerrr Nerrr to Kohga School

Riseisha go Ner Ner Nuh Nerrr Nerrr to Kohga School

Sat 19 May: Hannan University 1-1 Takada FC
Sat 19 May: Kohga School 0-2 Riseisha FC
Sat 19 May: Kyoto Shiko Club 4-1 Hermano Osaka
Sat 19 May: Kihoku Football Group 1-2 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe

1. Hannan University 16 (+16)
2. Takada FC 16 (+12)
3. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 10 (-1)
4. Kyoto Shiko Club 8 (+3)
5. Riseisha FC 7 (-1)
6. Kohga School 7 (-6)
7. Hermano Osaka 4 (-9)
8. Kihoku Football Group 0 (-14)
Kansai League Division 1
There was a full programme of games on Saturday in Division 1 of the Kansai League, leaders FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu maintaining their 100% record with a 3-0 defeat of FC Kyoto 1993. Three points behind the Shiga club are champions Banditonce Kobe, who ran in four second half goals to crush neighbours Kobe FC 1970 6-1.

Kobe FC in fact drop into the relegation zone as a result of that defeat and of Sanyo Electric Sumoto's win over an FC Glaspo Kashiwara side who already look odds-on to make a swift return to Division 2. Also potentially involved in the battle to avoid the drop, however, are AS Laranja Kyoto, 1-0 losers at home to Ain Food.

Sat 19 May: AS Laranja Kyoto 0-1 Ain Food
Sat 19 May: FC Kyoto 1993 0-3 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Sat 19 May: Kobe FC 1970 1-6 Banditonce Kobe
Sat 19 May: Sanyo Electric Sumoto 3-1 FC Glaspo Kashiwara

1. FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 18 (+25)
2. Banditonce Kobe 15 (+22)
3. Ain Food 13 (+2)
4. FC Kyoto 1993 9 (-3)
5. AS Laranja Kyoto 6 (-9)
6. Sanyo Electric Sumoto 6 (-11)
7. Kobe FC 1970 3 (-12)
8. FC Glaspo Kashiwara 1 (-14)
JFL Saturday Scores
Sho Gokyu netted his tenth goal of the season on Saturday as JFL leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC won 1-0 at Tochigi SC to move - temporarily at least - four points clear of Rosso Kumamoto at the top of the table. A major triumph for Sagawa Kyubin, perhaps, but for Tochigi this result means that they have lost consecutive home games against FC Gifu, Rosso and Sagawa; all three of whom are teams with which they will need to be competitive if a top four finish and promotion to J2 are to be achieved this year.

Although Honda FC pulled off a useful 2-1 win at Alo's Hokuriku, defender Ryu Okeda scoring the winner midway through the second half, the other significant JFL action on Saturday was towards the other end of the division. Arte Takasaki managed only their third goal of the year in their match with Mitsubishi Mizushima - and an own goal at that - but by that time Daisuke Matsuoka had already grabbed himself a hat-trick for the visitors. FC Kariya fought back from two goals down to claim a draw at home to FC Ryukyu, while Sony Sendai's recent appalling defensive record continued as they lost 3-1 to TDK SC.

19 May 07 - TDK fans at Sony Sendai

TDK fans at Sony Sendai

Sat 19 May: Alo's Hokuriku 1-2 Honda FC
Sat 19 May: Arte Takasaki 1-3 Mitsubishi Mizushima
Sat 19 May: FC Kariya 2-2 FC Ryukyu
Sat 19 May: Sony Sendai 1-3 TDK SC
Sat 19 May: Tochigi SC 0-1 Sagawa Kyubin SC

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 31 (+23)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 27 (+14)
3. FC Gifu 26 (+8)
4. YKK AP 21 (+9)
5. Tochigi SC 21 (+8)
6. Honda FC 19 (+4)
7. Alo's Hokuriku 19 (-2)
8. Yokogawa Musashino 18 (+7)
9. TDK SC 17 (-1)
10. JEF Reserves 14 (-)
11. Ryutsu Keizai University 13 (-3)
12. FC Kariya 13 (-4)
13. Mitsubishi Mizushima 13 (-4)
14. Gainare Tottori 11 (-4)
15. Sagawa Printing 10 (-9)
16. FC Ryukyu 9 (-13)
17. Sony Sendai 5 (-19)
18. Arte Takasaki 4 (-16)

19 May 07 - League leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC before the match at Tochigi

League leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC before the match at Tochigi
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