Soccer / J. League

Avispa, Grampus settle for scoreless draw


Avispa Fukuoka played out a goalless draw at home to Nagoya Grumpus on Thursday to remain at the foot of the J. League standings.

The game was postponed in mid-April when massive earthquakes struck Kumamoto Prefecture in central Kyushu. Another Kyushu side, Sagan Tosu, also drew a blank in a 0-0 draw against Vissel Kobe.

Avispa dominated the opening exchanges and Wellington could have done better when he headed straight at goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki, before steering the rebound wide in the 17th minute at Level-5 Stadium.

An even better chance arrived four minutes later when former Grampus midfielder Danilson found Hisashi Jogo in the box, but his header was saved again by the 40-year-old Narazaki, who was back in goal for the first time in eight games.

“We wanted a win but we’ll treasure this point, taking it positively,” Jogo said. “We went off to a good start and went on to do what we wanted to, but only the finishing was lacking.”

Grampus, who like Avispa headed into the game with two straight defeats, began to find their rhythm and Robin Simovic’s cleverly-diverted header 10 minutes after the break was heading to the top left corner, only to be denied by a desperate save from ‘keeper Lee Bum-young.

Nagoya sent speedster Kensuke Nagai in with 20 minutes to go but couldn’t carve out clear-cut chances, and the visitors had a scare in the 90th minute, when Jogo sent an overhead kick just wide of the post from 10 yards.

Nagoya remains 13th on 15 points, while Vissel climbed up to ninth, and Sagan escaped the drop zone to 15th, although it remain level on points with Albirex Niigata and Shonan Bellmare and just a point above Avispa.