J.League Round 17 PREVIEW: In-form Marinos to close gap on leaders

Kashima Antlers v. Jubilo Iwata – Kashima Soccer Stadium

Antlers took the lead against Kashiwa Reysol at the weekend but ended up losing 2-1, their second defeat in three games. Iwata continued their recent resurgence though by earning another point from a 1-1 draw with Vegalta Sendai.

Their scorer in that game was the ever-reliable Ryoichi Maeda, and with the World Cup finals approaching the Japan striker will be keen to keep finding the back of the net. To see if he can here check your local TV guides as this this game is being shown live around the world!

Vegalta Sendai v. Sanfrecce Hiroshima – Yurtec Stadium

Vegalta remain unbeaten since the restart after they drew 1-1 with Jubilo Iwata on Saturday. Sanfrecce are in even better form and their 1-0 defeat of Cerezo Osaka in Round 16 made it three wins in three since J1 returned. Can they make it four in four in Sendai?

Cerezo Osaka v. Sagan Tosu – Kincho Stadium

Cerezo lost 1-0 to Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the weekend after conceding in the fifth minute of injury time. Tosu also suffered a late defeat – although not quite that late – going down 3-2 to Nagoya Grampus after an 81st minute strike. Will either side be celebrating after 90+ minutes on Wednesday?

Oita Trinita v. Nagoya Grampus – Oita Bank Dome

Oita are without a win in four league games and stay bottom of J1 after they lost 3-1 to Shimizu S-Pulse on Saturday. Grampus have also been struggling recently and desperately needed their 3-2 win over Sagan Tosu in Round 16 to boost their confidence. Will they get another pick-me-up in Kyushu in midweek?

Urawa Reds v. Yokohama F.Marinos – Saitama Stadium

Reds had the chance to close the gap on first placed Omiya Ardija on Saturday but failed to do so as they were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Kawasaki Frontale. Marinos also benefited from that slip-up and their 2-1 win over Ardija means they are only behind Reds in the table on goals scored now.

Their standout performer in Round 16 was Manabu Saito, who set-up the first goal and scored the second after a fantastic mazy dribble. To see if he can provide any more magic in this game check your local TV schedules as the match is being broadcast live worldwide.

Omiya Ardija v. Kawasaki Frontale – NACK5 Stadium

Omiya saw their lead at the top of J1 cut to just three points on Saturday after they lost 2-1 to Yokohama F.Marinos. Kawasaki are one of the form teams in J1 at the moment and they picked up an astonishing 4-0 win over Urawa Reds in Round 16. Will there be as many goals in Omiya on Wednesday night?

Kashiwa Reysol v. Shimizu S-Pulse – Hitachi Dai Stadium

Reysol recovered from 1-0 down to win 2-1 for the second game in a row on Saturday when they defeated Kashima Antlers. S-Pulse also took three points from their weekend fixture when they cruised to a 3-1 win over bottom-placed Oita Trinita. Will either side be celebrating another victory in midweek?

Shonan Bellmare v. Albirex Niigata – BMW Stadium Hiratsuka

Bellmare picked up a vital victory in Round 16 when they took all three points from their encounter with Ventforet Kofu, winning 1-0. Niigata, meanwhile, were falling to their second consecutive loss on Saturday as they were defeated 3-0 by FC Tokyo. Can they avoid another defeat – and being dragged into the relegation scrap – here?

FC Tokyo v. Ventforet Kofu – Ajinomoto Stadium

Tokyo picked up an elementary 3-0 win against Albirex Niigata on Saturday, lifting them up to 8th place in the table. Kofu are on the slide though and in Round 16 they lost their third game in a row since the restart, 1-0 to ShonanBellmare.

Young forward Hirotaka Mita has been in fantastic form for FC Tokyo lately and Kofu will have to be wary of his direct running if they are to avoid another defeat in the capital on Wednesday. You can see how they get on as this game is being shown live around the world. Check your local TV guide to see which channel it’ll be on in your region!

source : http://news.yahoo.com/j-league-round-17-preview-form-marinos-close-070000213.html