Matchday nine of the Japan Football League sees us treated to a bonus midweek game, as Fujieda MYFC make the 105 mile trip to Tokyo to take on Machida Zelvia. The game is part of the a footballing bonanza in Japan this week as the country enters its ‘Golden Week’. A week with three bank holidays which sees all its major football leagues fit in extra games.
What a weekend it was for Fujieda. 2-1 winners of then league leaders Nagano Parceiro saw them climb to 5th place in the JFL table. They are now only 5 points off top spot in the division, which is currently occupied by Kamatamare Sanuki who MYFC drew 2-2 with a few weeks back.
Toshihide Saito’s team’s form has been helped significantly by Kerlon. The MYFC number 10 has continued where he left off last year in superb form, scoring 4 goals in 8 matches so far from an advanced midfield role, meaning he is the club’s top scorer. Add this to Nigerian forward Okha scoring on his debut on Sunday, and the side are riding high.
The last two games has seen Saito start with a 4-5-1 formation, which is more like a 4-2-3-1 system with Alan behind Takhisa Nishiyama. He is likely to start with this formation again but could be tempted to start with Okha up top instead of Nishiyama after his brilliant game last time out. Either this or Alan could drop out, meaning Kerlon would move into the middle of the three and Nishiyama dropping back into the left of it.
Machida Zelvia have been superb so far this season. After gaining promotion to play in J2 in 2012, finishing 3rd in JFL, they finished bottom of the second tier. However, the side has shown no effects of the disappointment and has bounced back straight away. After losing their first match of the year, they have gone seven games unbeaten with five wins and two draws.
Despite this, they have only scored 10 goals this year, the lowest out of all top 7 placed teams in the league. This is mainly down to two surprise 0-0 draws against Tochigi and bottom club Honda Lock. Since then though, they have won 4 in a row so are right in form.
Their top scorer will be the man to watch for Fujieda. Kazuhito Kishida has three of his side’s 10 goals this year. Amazingly, he has been subbed in all of his appearances so far this year, to leave him with a very impressive 56 minutes per goal ratio. Although, he missed the side’s last game so may not be available tomorrow.
The sides did not meet last year with Machida being in J2 and Fujieda being in the JFL.
Kick of is 7pm or 11am UK time tomorrow.