Japanese Non-league Football News

JFL - Saturday Scores
There's no doubting where the focus of attention lay on Saturday amongst the half-dozen JFL fixtures, as leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC hosted third-place FC Gifu. Sagawa have stumbled in recent weeks, managing just a single point from their last two games, but Sho Gokyu put them ahead early on with his thirteenth goal of the season. pulled Gifu level just before half time, only for Kento Hori to snatch all the points for the hosts with eight minutes remaining.

One remarkable feature of this season's JFL campaign, however, is the extent to which any of the teams chasing the top three of Sagawa, Gifu and Rosso Kumamoto have failed to mount any kind of consistent challenge. There were two further examples of this on Saturday, as Tochigi SC's year continued its steady decline when they could manage only a draw at home to Ryutsu Keizai University, while Yokogawa Musashino lost at home to improving Mitsubishi Mizushima.

16 Jun 07 - Yokogawa Musashino on the attack against Mitsubishi Mizushima

Yokogawa Musashino on the attack against Mitsubishi Mizushima

Mitsubishi, like RKU in their third season in the JFL, have made impressive progress this year, having struggled to compete in both 2005 and 2006 following promotion from the Chugoku League. With star man Daisuke Matsuoka rattling in the goals - including the 64th-minute winner at Yokogawa, his ninth of the year - the Okayama-based team have now won four of their last five to move into a comfortable mid-table position.

While Tochigi and Yokogawa Musashino were dropping points, though, Alo's Hokuriku at least made some progress up the table via their first win in six games - but even that came courtesy of a Yuuya Nagatomi goal in the dying seconds against lowly Sagawa Printing. JEF Reserves could have gone fourth but were held 1-1 at Gainare Tottori and finally, there was at last some good news for bottom side Arte Takasaki, who picked up only their fifth league point of 2007 with a 1-1 draw at home to FC Kariya.

16 Jun 07 - Goalscorer for Arte Takasaki, Masataka Imai. Wow. That’s hard to say

Goalscorer for Arte Takasaki, Masataka Imai. Wow. That’s hard to say

Sat 16 Jun: Alo's Hokuriku 1-0 Sagawa Printing
Sat 16 Jun: Arte Takasaki 1-1 FC Kariya
Sat 16 Jun: Sagawa Kyubin SC 2-1 FC Gifu
Sat 16 Jun: Gainare Tottori 1-1 JEF Reserves
Sat 16 Jun: Tochigi SC 1-1 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sat 16 Jun: Yokogawa Musashino 1-2 Mitsubishi Mizushima

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 38 (+23)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 34 (+16)
3. FC Gifu 33 (+10)
4. YKK AP 25 (+8)
5. Yokogawa Musashino 25 (+8)
6. JEF Reserves 25 (+4)
7. Tochigi SC 24 (+7)
8. Alo's Hokuriku 24 (-2)
9. Mitsubishi Mizushima 22 (-2)
10. Honda FC 20 (+1)
11. TDK SC 20 (-1)
12. Gainare Tottori 18 (-3)
13. Ryutsu Keizai University 18 (-4)
14. FC Kariya 17 (-6)
15. Sagawa Printing 16 (-10)
16. Sony Sendai 14 (-15)
17. FC Ryukyu 13 (-13)
18. Arte Takasaki 5 (-21)

Kansai League Division 2
It almost seems as if it has already been decided who will be promoted from the Kansai League Division 2 at the end of this season, as the gap between Takada FC in second and university side Riseisha FC a place below them now stands at eight points. Riseisha slumped to a 5-0 crushing at the hands of champions-elect Hannan University, while Takada - coming off the back of three straight 1-1 draws - had an easy 3-0 win against bottom side Kihoku Football Group. Kihoku look certain to be go down to the Prefectural Leagues for next year, but the identity of the team to take part in the Relegation Play-off is far less certain. Kyoto Shiko Club and Kohga School managed a point apiece in a 2-2 draw, but Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe have now lost four of their last five following a 3-2 defeat at Hermano Osaka.

16 Jun 07 - And this is Hermano Osaka

And this is Hermano Osaka

Sat 16 Jun: Hermano Osaka 3-2 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe
Sat 16 Jun: Kyoto Shiko Club 2-2 Kohga School
Sat 16 Jun: Riseisha FC 0-5 Hannan University
Sat 16 Jun: Takada FC 3-0 Kihoku Football Group

1. Hannan University 23 (+25)
2. Takada FC 21 (+15)
3. Riseisha FC 13 (-3)
4. Kohga School 12 (-5)
5. Kyoto Shiko Club 11 (+3)
6. Hermano Osaka 10 (-4)
7. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 10 (-8)
8. Kihoku Football Group 0 (-23)
Kansai League Division 1
It was an excellent day all round for Banditonce Kobe in Division 1 of the Kansai league on Saturday. The 2006 champions pulled off a comfortable 3-0 win over relegation favourites from Osaka, FC Glaspo Kashiwara, while rivals FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu could only draw 3-3 at home to Ain Food. This gives Banditonce a two-point advantage at the top of the table and indeed potentially pulls Ain Food into contention for a place in the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament at the end of the year. In the other two matches, AS Laranja Kyoto beat Kobe FC 1970 to go fourth, while Sanyo Electric Sumoto moved away from the drop zone with a handy 2-1 win over FC Kyoto 1993.

16 Jun 07 - The unmistakeable sight of Ain Food

The unmistakeable sight of Ain Food

Sat 16 Jun: Banditonce Kobe 3-0 FC Glaspo Kashiwara
Sat 16 Jun: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 3-3 Ain Food
Sat 16 Jun: Kobe FC 1970 0-1 AS Laranja Kyoto
Sat 16 Jun: Sanyo Electric Sumoto 2-1 FC Kyoto 1993

1. Banditonce Kobe 24 (+30)
2. FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 22 (+25)
3. Ain Food 20 (+4)
4. AS Laranja Kyoto 15 (-6)
5. FC Kyoto 1993 9 (-8)
6. Sanyo Electric Sumoto 9 (-12)
7. Kobe FC 1970 4 (-14)
8. FC Glaspo Kashiwara 2 (-19)
8th Eastern Japan Football Tournament

Very brief initial details have been released of this year's 8th Eastern Japan Football Tournament. There is no sign yet of any information as to who will take part in the competition, but it will be staged on the weekend of 14 - 16 July in the city of Kai, Yamanashi prefecture. Last year's winners were TDK Akita, at that time representatives of the Tohoku region but now, of course, better known as JFL side TDK SC.

TDK were joined in the 2006 tournament by Norbritz Hokkaido and Shizuoka FC - representing Hokkaido and Tokai respectively - and three representative teams. A Gunma Prefectural XI flew the flag for Kanto, an Ishikawa side did the same for Hokushinetsu while the hosts, Fukui prefecture, were also allocated a spot. JNFN will provide more information about this year's competition as soon as it becomes available.
JFL News In Brief
... former Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo midfielder Yosuke Obayashi, released by the merged JFL big guns in the close season, has joined Hokushinetsu League Division One side Matsumoto Yamaga Club... strugglers FC Ryukyu have parted company with General Manager Ko Ishikawa...
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