FC Tokyo squanders opportunity at home


FC Tokyo failed again to win at home as striker Masashi Oguro had a hand in goals at both ends in a 1-1 draw with Jubilo Iwata on Wednesday night.

Tokyo, which went into the match at National Stadium with a home record of six draws, one win and no defeats this season, took the lead when former national team player Oguro found himself in space to plant a 47th-minute header past Jubilo goalkeeper Naoki Hatta.

But the 30-year-old combined with teammate Toshihiro Matsushita to bundle in a hapless own goal less than five minutes later, leaving manager Hiroshi Jofuku frustrated that a 26,534 midweek crowd was again going home empty-handed.

“It’s disappointing,” Jofuku said. “A lot of fans come to watch us play, and that costs them time and money. Tonight was a weeknight but they still came out in numbers. Winning at home is important and the players feel that.

“We had scouted Jubilo and we knew that they are very strong, and we knew that we would have to be at our best when it came to defending. They didn’t give us any room in midfield and it was a very difficult match.”

Jubilo’s Ryoichi Maeda almost opened the scoring when he forced the first of a number of sharp saves from Shuichi Gonda in the 13th minute, and Tokyo defender Masato Morishige had the ball in the net five minutes later only to see his header ruled out for offside.

But a game that had limped through a pedestrian first half burst into life within minutes of the restart when Yohei Kajiyama swung in a clever early free kick, catching Jubilo’s defense horribly out of position and leaving Oguro with time to pick his spot.

“We knew that Oguro’s specialty is finding space and getting away from markers, and we let him get away for the goal,” said Jubilo manager Masaaki Yanagishita.

Oguro’s celebration, however, would prove to be short-lived. There seemed to be little danger when Daisuke Nasu cannoned a header into the ground from a 51st-minute corner, but Oguro and Matsushita somehow contrived to tangle the ball up between them to gift Jubilo the equalizer.

“I’m disappointed not to get the win, but we were away and in that context it’s not such a bad result,” Yanagishita said. “In our last game against (Kashima) Antlers, they gave us a lot of problems with their height at corners and set pieces, so we looked at that and worked on it, and I was pleased with the concentration we showed in dealing with that today.”

Elsewhere in the J. League, Nagoya Grampus leapfrogged Shimizu S-Pulse into second place — one point behind Kashima — with a 2-1 win over Shonan Bellmare courtesy of goals from Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Danilson Cordoba.

Urawa Reds got back to winning ways with a 4-0 drubbing of Kyoto Sanga, while Gamba Osaka also found the target in a 3-1 win over Vissel Kobe. There was no such luck for Kawasaki Frontale in a 0-0 draw with Montedio Yamagata, while Omiya Ardija and Yokohama F. Marinos also drew, this time 1-1.