The best thing on display in a Shimizu S-Pulse shirt yesterday at pretty Nihondaira Stadium was the pre-match entertainment dancers.
Listen to the sounds of the Shimizu fans
Shimizu S-Pulse v Nagoya Grampus pre-match entertainment
On the pitch, Shimizu were poor again and lost 2-0 to an improving Nagoya Grampus. The loss of ace marksman Korean Cho Jae-jin seems to be key to the Shizuoka Prefecture club’s poor form this season.
The tall Cho Jae-jin, who has returned to the Qiu Qiu K.League with Jeonbuk Motors after a move to the English Premier League fell through, has been replaced with a 1.65 meter Brazilian, Marcos Aurelio, plucked from his country’s third division in a piece of ill-advised transfer activity by a literally short-sighted board.
Shimizu S-Pulse fans
Over 14,000 supportive fans saw the match but crowds are slipping as the team continues to slide in to the bottom three of the J-League.
Adios Getafe, only big guns remain
After all, the UEFA Cup semifinal setup will be worthy of the illustrious tradition of this competition. After the elimination of Getafe, whose best-ever Spanish league standing was last year’s nineth, only the teams worthy of European glory have remained.
The big hit of the current edition are the Russian champions Zenit, who kicked out Villarreal, Marseille and Bayer Leverkusen in the past three rounds. Led by the respectable Dutch coach in Dirk Advocaaat and a handful of Russian internationals, Zenit reached their first European semifinals, and it is possible that they have not said their last word although their next opposition are Bayern. The ease with which they demolished Leverkusen
Bayern, by far the winningest team of the last four, had not seen a semifinal action since 2001, …