The Reds wins the first home match against FC Tokyo  

The second sec. match for the 2010 season was held in the Reds home stadium on 14 March against FC Tokyo. Under a clear sky, 50,096 spectators gathered at the Saitama Stadium. When players entered the stadium, Reds’ supporters had choreographed a group welcome performance from the stand. The stadium stand was filled with white diamonds in a sea of red and there was a big love heart with number 12 behind goal posts.
The match started at 2:02 pm with a FC Tokyo player’s kick off. The game started very carefully with both teams not having too many players in the offensive.
However, the pace of the game changed 19 minutes into the game. Ugajin who received the ball in the left side of the penalty area kicked the ball to Kashiwagi who was in the other side of the penalty area. Ugajin moved to receive the ball again from Kashiwagi but was pushed and fell right after he received the ball. This brought a penalty kick opportunity to the Reds and Ponte scored the first goal by kicking the ball into the left side of the goal.
Following that, the Reds members created several scoring opportunities by having good combination plays on the side as well as passing the ball skillfully to those members who ran towards the front. At 37 minutes into the game, the Reds had a free kick opportunity in the right side of the penalty area. However, Kashiwagi’s left footed shot hit the goal post and bounced back to Tatsuya. Tatsuya kicked the ball to score another goal. However, his ball also hit the goal post. At 39 minutes into the game, FC Tokyo’s Morishige received his second warning and was sent off the ground. As a result, Reds players outnumbered FC Tokyo players. FC Tokyo introduced its speedy player, Naohiro Ishikawa at the end of the first half of the match and reduced the numbers of their players from the front line to beef up their defense. FC Tokyo was trying hard to get counter attack chances and their tactics remained the same during the second half of the match as well.
However, at 59 minutes into the match, FC Tokyo introduced another forward player rather than a defense player and at 68 minutes into the game, introduced their number 10 player Kajiyama to score goals. Though the Reds prevented them from making decisive chances, since players were not able to take advantage of the fact that they outnumbered FC Tokyo, the Reds started to lose momentum in their offensive and started to be more defensive by relying on counter attack opportunities.
At 72 minutes into the match, Okamoto from the Youth Team who is currently registered to be able to play in the top team was introduced to take the place of Hirawaka who was injured. Okamoto made his debut to play in the J. League playing in the right side back position. At 83 minutes into the match, Suzuki was introduced to replace Kashiwagi who supported the team well with his abundant stamina. Suzuki played skillfully in the mid field and settled the team. FC Tokyo kicked a high ball to their forward player Hirayama towards the end of the match. However, the Reds two center back players, Nobuhisa Yamada and Tsuboi prevented FC Tokyo from moving freely and managed to defend the team till the last minutes including the four minutes of lost time. As a result, the team won the match for the first time this season. As for the Red’s performance record against FC Tokyo, the team has not lost against FC Tokyo for 10 times in a row since 1994 with only one draw. Now the record has been updated as no loss for 11 times in a row.
The Reds will play the third sec at ND Soft Stadium Yamagata against Montedio Yamagata on Sunday, 21 March.

【Comments made after the match】
General Manager Hashiratani
We won our first home match for this year. In terms of the result, I am glad that we gained three points. However, though we managed to win the game with the score of one to zero, we should have scored more goals as we had several good chances especially from when FC Tokyo lost one player. If we fail to do so, we won’t be able to win in a more stable manner.
Naturally, I feel that our team must improve their performance in general. Having said that, I thought our players took initiative in controlling the ball and owned the game during the first half of the match. I believe we were able to show the type of soccer we are aiming to play. As for playing a fair game, though it is still a big challenge for us, I thought our players did a good job in playing a fair game.

Comment from Nobuhisa Yamada
I am glad that we won the match. When FC Tokyo lost one member, they started to look for opportunities to score through counter attacks and set plays. As I wanted our team to score another goal, it was unfortunate that we were not able to do so. Nonetheless, the fact that we won means a lot to us.
I thought our team did well except for when our opponent controlled the game from mid way through the second half of the game. Though we wanted to score another goal, I could say that we did well for not giving any chance for our opponent to score any goals at all.
I did see our supporters! I always get goose bumps. Winning our first home match means a lot to us. Now that we won our first home match, I feel we can play our next match in a calmer manner.

Comment from Ponte
We played a fascinating game as a whole until our opponent lost one of their players. I think we played really well during the first half of the match and scored a goal with more chances of scoring other goals.
(What do you think was the reason FC Tokyo started to control the match in the second half of the match?)
I guess we became a little too defensive. If we were able to apply more pressure, we could have controlled the ball. We should have scored more goals when they made mistakes. If we wait in our defense, we may lose our goals and this will make the match more difficult for us to play. I thought our team was in a waiting mood after we scored a goal. As such, we should have kept the distance between our forward players and mid fielders a lot closer. If we were able to do so, we might have been able to create more chances to score goals.
It is always good to win a match. It was also good to win our home match in front of so many of our supporters. I guess they were looking forward to seeing us score more goals. Nonetheless, it was good to gain three points which we set as our goal.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Click here for match results
Click here for the comment from Team Manager Finke after the match