Jets earn valuable point on the road

The Newcastle Jets have drawn 1-all with Nagoya Grampus tonight at Mizuho Stadium on Matchday 3 of the AFC Champions League 2009.

The Newcastle Jets have drawn 1-all with Nagoya Grampus tonight at Mizuho Stadium on Matchday 3 of the AFC Champions League 2009.

Despite coming up against one of the competition favourites, the Jets dominated large periods of the game, particularly in the first half, and took a deserved early lead when Tarek Elrich netted his first goal of the competition. However, a spectacular second half free-kick by Japanese international Keiji Tamada saw both teams walk away from the match with a point.

In the 9th minute, youngster Marko Jesic made a break down the left and cut inside his man toward the Grampus penalty area. Bearing down on goal, Jesic hit a fierce right-footed strike which ricocheted off the post and into the path of Elrich, who duly slotted home to give the visitors the lead.

The Jets then gained an ascendancy which they would hold for the remainder of the half, not allowing Nagoya to get into any sort of rhythm.

Elrich had the best of the chances in the second half and could have doubled the lead in both the 16th and 21st minutes when clear cut chances were presented to the dynamic winger. Unfortunately for the Jets neither opportunity was converted, and their early advantage was never capitalised upon.

In the dying moments of the opening stanza, Yoshizumi Ogawa nearly saw the two teams go into the break on level terms when Nagoya broke quickly on the counter attack, but the playmaker's shot from the edge of the area was skied over the bar.

Perhaps the pivotal moment of the match occurred at the commencement of the second half when the brilliant Tamada was introduced into the encounter. Nagoya came out from the interval looking like a new team and showed why they are so highly fancied in this year-s competition.

With the home side mounting wave after wave of threatening attack, the equaliser came through a fabulous set-piece from Nagoya-s man of the moment. 20 yards out from goal, Tamada hit a bending left-footed free-kick fractionally inside Ben Kennedy-s near post which brought the 7,198 strong crowd into raptures.

Gary van Egmond was happy to come away from Japan with a draw, but after the match spoke of the importance of carrying any momentum possible into his side-s Matchday 4 clash with Nagoya at home in a fortnight.

“For us to get a result like this away from home is obviously pleasing but the challenge is to go home and replicate that good performance and hopefully get all three points. We have a few players suspended now because of yellow cards, so we have to see who we can replace those players with,” he said.

“We-ll have a look at the DVD-s and analyse the footage and make sure that we-re totally prepared for the return game in Newcastle.”

Van Egmond also praised Tamada for his stunning set-piece.

“He-s a very good player, Tamada, we were surprised he did not start but we know of his qualities. It was an excellent free-kick that he scored and in general play he is a very good player.”

The Jets will take on Nagoya again on April 22 at Newcastle Stadium in a match that is certain to have a huge bearing on the final outcome of Group E in the AFC Champions League 2009.

Match Report: Nagoya Grampus: 1. Seigo NARAZAKI (gk), 2. Akira TAKEUCHI, 3. Milos BAJALICA, 4. YOSHIDA, 7. Naoshi NAKAMURA, 8. MAGNUM, 9. DAVI, 10. Yoshizumi OGAWA, 13. Kei YAMAGUCHI (19. Keita SUGIMOTO 76-), 27. Sho HANAI (11. Keiji TAMADA 46-), 32. Hayuma TANAKA

Unused substitutes: 21. Koji NISHIMURA (gk), 5. Takahiro MASUKAWA, 14. Keiji YOSHIMURA, 17. Yuki MAKI, 26. Masaya SATO

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 20. Ben KENNEDY, 2. Tarek ELRICH, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Sasho PETROVSKI (21. Joel WOOD 91-), 10. Donny DE GROOT (12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE 82-), 11. Marko JESIC (28. Brodie MOOY 70-), 25. Adam GRIFFITHS

Unused substitutes: 30. Ben MCNAMARA (gk), 14. Angelo COSTANZO, 24. Kaz PATAFTA,

Yellow cards: Donny De Groot 23-, Tarek Elrich 27-, Adam D-Apuzzo 60-, Ljubo Milicevic 80-, Ben Kantarovski 83-

Red cards: Nil

Nagoya Grampus: 1 (Tamada 65-) Newcastle Jets: 1 (Elrich 9-) Referee: Khalil Ibrahim Al Gamdhi Crowd: 7,198