The Top Team
Match 23 of the Meiji Yasuda J2 League against Kyoto Sanga F.C. was a battle between two clubs among the leading teams of the league. Omiya Ardija came close to closing the 3-goal difference with FW Genki Omae and FW Robin Simovic scoring a goal each in the second half, but lost the match 2-3.
Omiya captured a clean victory in Match 24 played at home against Renofa Yamaguchi FC with two goals from Omae, who scored in two consecutive matches. Four days later, Omiya played an away match against FC Gifu, drawing 0-0. Playing back at home for Match 26, Omiya conquered the fierce battle, defeating Montedio Yamagata 3-2. MF Akimi Barada’s daring volley was the game-winner.
In Match 27 against Fagiano Okayama, Omiya endured the first half, looking for an opportunity to strike. Then in the second half, MF Ippei Shinozuka gained a free kick at an advantageous position, and team captain Genki Omae shot the ball into the net. It was Omae’s first contact with the ball as he came on the pitch in the middle of the game. Omiya defended their lead and gained a valuable three points.
Omiya played an Emperor’s Cup match against J1’s Vissel Kobe the Wednesday after the match against Okayama, losing in the third round of the tournament.
Match 28 was the last home game played during school summer recess. Goals by DF Hiroyuki Komoto and DF Ryo Okui gave Omiya a 2-1 lead against Jef United Ichihara Chiba, and Omiya captured another victory in front of their enthusiastic supporters.
After 28 matches, Omiya sits at second place, a position that would give them automatic promotion to J1.
DF Kazuki Kushibiki joined Omiya on a loan from Nagoya Grampus, while MF Shintaro Shimada left on a rental transfer to Oita Trinita. Meanwhile, MF Kanji Okunuki and FW Shoi Yoshinaga fulfilled the conditions for a “Professional A” contract, Okunuki after the match against Kyoto and Yoshinaga after the match against Yamagata. Both players signed a “Professional A” contract with the club.
The 43rd JAPAN Club Youth (U-18) Football Championship kicked off in the second half of July, and Omiya Ardija’s U18 competed in the group stage matches. After losing 0-1 to Nagoya Grampus U-18, Omiya defeated Vissel Kobe U-18 and Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC Youth, both with a 1-0 shutout, advancing to the Round of 16 with 2 wins and 1 loss in the group stage. Omiya overwhelmed JFA Academy Fukushima U-18 with a 2-0 score in the Round of 16. Going up against Yokohama F･Marinos Youth in the quarterfinals, Omiya scored the opening goal but Yokohama equalized in the second half. The match went into a penalty kick shootout, and victory slipped out of Omiya’s hands. Omiya’s U18 finished the tournament among the Top 8.
As part of the efforts to support the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Omiya Ardija teamed up with Kamaishi Seawaves R.F.C. and jointly hosted a special event “Football and Rugby Clinic” on August 11 at Kamaishi Unosumai Memorial Stadium, one of the venues for the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2019TM Japan. It was Ardija’s eighth football clinic held in the city of Kamaishi. Representing Ardija were Total Advisor Norio Sasaki, former Ardija player Daigo Watanabe, and Local Produce Division coaches, while former players Yosuke Shinohara and Mikiya Inoue participated from Kamaishi Seawaves. About 80 first to sixth graders belonging to youth football teams in Kamaishi City and Otsuchi Town gathered for the event and enjoyed playing both football and rugby. It was a day filled with laughter and fun for both the kids and the coaches.