The Kansai derby between Kyoto Sanga and Gamba Osaka may have featured an intriguing clash of Koreans at Nishikyogoku Stadium on Sunday, but referee Nobutsugu Murakami stole the show with a performance that had Gamba coach Akira Nishino spitting chips.
“No J. League match should ever be refereed the way it was,” an exasperated Nishino claimed – after seeing his side earn five yellow cards and concede a dubious penalty against their regional rivals.
Murakami’s performance overshadowed a clash of the K-League stars, as former Suwon Bluewings defender Lee Jung-Soo lined up for Kyoto against Gamba defender Park Dong-Hyuk – once of Ulsan Hyundai – and former Jeonbuk Toto Hk Motors striker Cho Jae-Jin.
It was Lee Jung-Soo who came out on top, and he opened the scoring with a thunderous header in first half stoppage time, after Kyoto striker Paulinho had been stretchered from the field early on – following some hefty treatment from Park Dong-Hyuk and co.
Kyoto were aided by a contentious penalty decision ten minutes after the restart, as Gamba keeper Yosuke Fujigaya was adjudged to have brought down veteran striker Atsushi Yanagisawa.
Brazilian playmaker Diego kept his cool to beat Fujigaya from the spot, and substitute Shinichi Terada’s late strike – which ironically took a hefty deflection off Lee Jung-Soo – came too late for reigning Asian champions Gamba.
In the other Sunday games, Japan international Shinzo Koroki came off the bench to score a late winner for Kashima Antlers in their hard-fought 2-1 win over last season’s J2 champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Nagoya Grampus thumped Tokai rivals Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 – with Brazilian striker Davi scoring twice – while JEF United held highly fancied Kawasaki Frontale to a 1-1 draw in Chiba.
The Saturday fixtures …