SAITAMA – Eddy Bosnar struck a pair of thunderbolt free kicks and Naohiro Takahara returned to haunt his former team as Shimizu S-Pulse beat Urawa Reds 3-1 on Saturday night to keep the 2006 J. League champions mired near the foot of the table.
Reds went into the game at Saitama Stadium third from bottom having won only once this season, and Australian defender Bosnar made the home side’s task all the more difficult with a long-range blast in the 24th minute.
Takahara, who endured a frustrating 2½-year spell at Urawa after moving from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2008, then doubled S-Pulse’s lead midway through the second half, and although substitute Tsukasa Umesaki pulled one back with 10 minutes to go, Bosnar hammered in another free kick to leave Reds manager Zeljko Petrovic facing an uncertain future after only 11 games in charge.
“This is a disaster,” Petrovic said. “This is a very bad game. I have never seen my team play like this, from the first minute until the last minute. It’s very bad. I don’t know how it’s possible because we played two very good games against Omiya and Hiroshima, and then we are at home in front of 35,000 people.
“I always have confidence in my team, but I don’t decide my future. My boss decides my future and you have to ask them because I don’t know.”
By contrast, S-Pulse manager Afshin Ghotbi is beginning to make his mark after taking over a much-changed club in the offseason.
“I feel very good about the performances of all the players, and I feel that we have a good balance in our team,” Ghotbi said. “One of the biggest challenges for me was to get all the players to understand that we have to defend from a high position and speed the game up. Now we have some games behind us, I think they are slowly beginning to understand that.”
Takahara almost gave S-Pulse the lead with an audacious 10th-minute shot from the touchline, but when Bosnar did find the net midway through the first half it was no less spectacular, drilling a low free kick past Nobuhiro Kato from all of 35 meters.
Substitute Takuma Edamura hit the post 10 minutes into the second half as the visitors went in search of another goal, and they would not have to wait long to get it. Genki Omae picked up the ball as S-Pulse came charging forward on the counterattack, and the 21-year-old swung in the perfect cross for Takahara to head in at the back post.
Umesaki lashed in Urawa’s reply after a penalty-box scramble, but Bosnar emphatically stopped the comeback in its tracks with another piledriver from the edge of the box after a trip on Alex Brosque.
“I’ve been trying those in training during the week, and it worked for me today so it’s good,” said Bosnar. “Once a week we have half an hour where we have to do free kicks, and I always take them from that position. It’s been happening for me in training and I got lucky, I guess.”
Elsewhere in the J. League, leaders Kashiwa Reysol got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over bottom club Avispa Fukuoka, while second-place Vegalta Sendai drew 1-1 with Albirex Niigata.
Struggling Kashima Antlers beat Jubilo Iwata 2-0, Kawasaki Frontale followed up their midweek thrashing of Omiya Ardija with a 2-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and there were also 2-0 wins for Cerezo Osaka over Ventforet Kofu and Montedio Yamagata over Vissel Kobe.
Gamba Osaka beat Yokohama F. Marinos 2-1, and champions Nagoya Grampus were pegged back from two goals up to draw 2-2 with Omiya.