Match against Jubilo Iwata-though the team tried to attack until the last moment, they lost by one goal  

Urawa Reds which ranked at the top in the standings welcomed Jubilo Iwata in Saitama Stadium to play the eighth sec match against them on 24 April.
The team played against Jubilo already this season when they played in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup qualifying round first sec on 31 March. At that time, though Jubilo out played the Reds during the first half, the team caught up with Jubilo with the goal Ponte scored during the injury time.

The weekend match started 4:03 pm with the Red’s kick off. During the first half of the match, the team made several simple mistakes when passing the ball, which led them to lose good tempo. At 5 minutes into the match, Abe attempted a goal after receiving the free kick ball. Edmilson also attempted another goal at 11 minutes into the match after stealing the back pass ball from an opponent player. However, the team could not create other scoring opportunities after that. During the match, Urawa Reds players rushed to attack the opponent and often lost the ball as a result. They were not able to create more chances on the side. The team lost the ball several times instead. They struggled to play compact soccer and could not pass the ball around well. Some time passed without them being able to play the Reds’ style soccer.
However, at 22 minutes into the game, the team created a decisive opportunity. Hosogai picked up a right cross ball which went in the opposite direction and made a counter cross kick. The ball he kicked went to Nobuhisa Yamada, Nanou and Edmilson in the end. He attempted to score a goal from out side the goal area with his right foot. However, the ball rebounded back after it hit the goal bar. Abe jumped up into the air in order to kick the rebounded ball into the goal. However, the jumping volley he tried with his right foot did not hit the ball precisely and failed to score a goal.
After that, the team continued to go through a difficult time in establishing their own pace and they made mistakes in missing the ball. In regards to the team’s defense line, though the team allowed a decisive moment for each of the two top opponent attackers, Maeda and Lee Keun Ho, both of such opportunities were blocked by Yamagishi’s nice goal keeping. The first half of the match finished with the score of 0 to 0.
The second half of the match started with fierce attacks from both teams. At 49 minutes into the match, the free kick ball Edmilson shot with his head after receiving it from the right side went towards the left post. An opponent player countered the ball and another opponent player Komano attempted a strong shot into the Reds’ goal from the left side of the goal area. Luckily, Yamagishi blocked the ball again. After that, the Reds’ players passed the ball among players and Edmilson attempted a long shot with his left foot to score a goal. However, it was Jubilo Iwata that scored the first goal. At 55 minutes into the match, Nishi who was dribbling the ball scored a goal in the upper left side of the net. In order to catch up with the opponent, the Reds introduced Ugajin and Takahara to replace Sanou and Kashiwagi. Right after the change over of the players, Takahara went into the goal area after receiving the ball from Edmilson. He shot the ball with his right foot. However, the ball was blocked by the opponent team. The Reds were making attacks and played the match in the opponents’ side of the field for the rest of the match. Team Manager Finke introduced Haraguchi at 37 minutes into the second half of the match to replace Tatsuya Tanaka to draw the final card. The Reds made an overwhelming offensive after that including the four minute injury time. However, since Jubilo Iwata’s defense was too strong, Urawa Reds was not able to catch up with their opponent. The match finished with the score of 0 to 1 and the Reds lost the game for the first time since the opening match of the J. League that they played on 6 March.

The team will next play the J. League ninth sec match against Shimizu S-Pulse from 4 pm on Saturday 1 May in the Ecopa Stadium.

[Comments made after the match]
General Manager Koichi Hashiratani
It was very unfortunate that we were not able to score three points by wining the home match. I had expected the match to be like it was to some degree. I expected Iwata to play a very defensive game and make counter attacks. I think it is now very important for us to work out how we can break through such hard defense when we play against such teams in the future.
As for the match we played, it was crucial for us to nail the goals when we had the chances to do so. Had we scored the goals back then, the match we played today would have been a very different one. We must train ourselves to be able to score goals when we can. As for the content of the game, it was not like the team played a really bad game. Our team created several chances and possessed the ball several times. I think the team played and tried to play the type of soccer we aim to achieve. I must acknowledge such points.
Since we will play more of the type of match we played today in the future, the team must work hard to nurture the ability to definitely win such matches.
It should also be noted that we should not lose consecutive matches in the J. League. We must switch our minds and concentrate on the next match to prepare ourselves well. When we were not able to achieve good results, it is easy to feel down. However, as the team did not play a bad game today, it is important for the team to prepare themselves well for the next match. It is also important that we will have the mindset of winning our next match no matter what.

Comment from Nobuhisa Yamada
I feel very disappointed. Since our opponent’s defense was good, we did not have much space in the front line. For this reason, we faced our opponent’s counter attacks.
Even though we had several good chances, it was disappointing that we were not able to make the most of such opportunities. I thought our balance was bad when we lost the goal. It could not have been helped that we were unable to form our defense straight away while we were making attacks as our opponent’s defense was quite strong. I thought that our opponent picked up the second ball often. I also thought that the distance between our defense players and forward players was too wide.
(Did you kick a long ball rather than trying to carry on short passes?) It was difficult to construct the game well from behind as our opponent was trying to block such attempts. Though the members of the team were different from the previous match we played against them, I guess they made the decision of performing strong defensive against an opponent like us. Having said all this, I did not think we played badly in general. I would like to keep up with our good performance in the future.
(The team lost the match after some time.) The important thing was not so much the fact that we lost, but rather whether we can score goals when we have the chances to do so.

Comment from Tadaaki Hirakawa
We should not be pessimistic since it was not like we were not able to play the type of soccer we aim to play. We were able to play well at times. However, as we allowed our opponent to create several decisive moments, we need to review our defense line once again.
I think the match we will play against Shimizu S-Pulse will probably be easier. I expected that today’s match would be quite difficult to get ourselves into to start with. Even though Jubilo ranks low in the standings, they have good players. Since we played against them several times including the match we played during the camp as well as the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, I expected the match to be tough. Shimizu is a good team and ranks high in the rankings. Our next match against them will be an away match. We have a lot of challenges to over come. I would like to play the match to beat them well.
I think they will also play their own style of soccer. Since they will probably play a well coordinated match, it may be easier for us. I am very much looking forward to play against them as we can assess how capable we are at present just like we were able to assess our ability when we played against Frontale. I am looking forward to our next match.
We have to watch out for Shinji Ono of S-Pulse. I am well aware of his strength. We also have to watch out for through passes. Nonetheless, we would like to play our own soccer rather than trying to match our style to them. At the moment we have been able to do so, so there is no need for us to change.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Go to match report
Go to the comment from Team Manager Finke after the match