Al Hilal beats Shimizu S-Pulse in first leg of Asian Super Cup

first_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES SHIMIZU, Shizuoka Pref. — Shimizu S-Pulse’s hopes of joining Jubilo Iwata in the Club World Championship were dealt a severe blow after a 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabian team Al Hilal in the first leg of the Asian Super Cup at Nihondaira Stadium on Sunday.To make matters worse, S-Pulse will have to do without defender Kazuyuki Toda who was sent off in the 35th minute after bringing down Al Hilal’s Ricardo Perez Tamayo in the box. Compounding Shimizu’s problems, Katsumi Oenoki, the natural replacement for Toda, is also unavailable, having injured his ankle in training last week.center_img In the words of S-Pulse boss Steve Perryman, “We committed suicide” in the last 10 minutes of the first half.With S-Pulse getting off to a confident start before a crowd of 8,000, everything turned around when Japan captain Ryuzo Morioka committed an absolute howler on the edge of the box, allowing Perez to bear down on goal.Toda had little option but to bring him down and was sent off by Syrian referee Mahmoud Al Abbas. Colombian Perez took the penalty himself and blasted the ball past Shimizu keeper Masanori Sanada. With the home team in disarray, the Asian club champion piled on the pressure and this paid off in the first minute of first-half injury time.Nigerian Mbwas Mangut crossed from the right to Nawaf Altemyat who lost his footing and fell on his back. But as the Saudi player fell he lashed out for the ball causing confusion in the S-Pulse defense. The ball ran to Perez who thumped it home from 6 meters.In the second half, S-Pulse reverted to a 4-3-2 formation and went on the attack, knowing that a 2-0 loss at home would be virtually irrecoverable in Saudi Arabia.“I asked them to be men,” Perryman said of his players. “To hold their heads up and play common-sense football.”The players responded well and needed only four minutes after the break to pull a goal back.Alex dragged a corner to Teruyoshi Ito on the right corner of the box and the Shimizu midfielder curled the ball over the Al Hilal defense to Santos, who volleyed the ball home in style.S-Pulse kept the pressure up and had two golden opportunities to draw level. Ito set up Masaaki Sawanobori halfway through the second period, but the usually reliable S-Pulse captain scuffed his shot wide. Then, in injury time, Oliva nodded the ball into Ito’s path but his first touch let him down, allowing Saudi keeper Mohamed Aldeayea to block his shot.At the other end, Al Hilal had several good chances but only once put goalkeeper Sanada under pressure.“We missed three good chances in the second half,” Al Hilal boss Balaci Ilie noted. “But 2-1 is a good result,” adding, “We must respect S-Pulse in the second leg because they are a very good team.”Perryman is confident about the second leg. “They’re a good team, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about,” he commented. “It’s going to be difficult (to win), but it’s possible.”Perryman is pleased he won’t be seeing erratic referee Al Abbas again — the second-leg referee will be from China.“I like the Chinese,” Perryman said with a wry smile. “And I like Chinese food.”The Asian Super Cup features the Asian Club champion and the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup champion.The second leg will take place in Riyadh on Dec. 11. Reds run riotUrawa Reds, who will return to the J. League first division next season, demolished local qualifier Honda Lock of Miyazaki 9-0 on Sunday as nine second-division sides joined J. League clubs in the Emperor’s Cup third round.Montedio Yamagata was the only J. League second division upset victim in the day’s second-round fixtures, losing 2-1 to JATCO TT. last_img

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