Vegalta Sendai have maintained their undefeated start to the season by giving defending champions Kashiwa a 3-2 touch up. Striker Shingo Akamine grabbed the winner in the 78th minute.
Travelling to Chiba prefecture, Sendai endured the inclement weather and a fiery Leandro Domingues to give themselves a three point buffer at the top of the table. Both midfielder Yoshiaki Ota and the 28 year old striker Akamine have moved to three goals this season. Ota picked up two assists on the weekend with Akamine’s goal being decisive. Interestingly Sendai are well ahead in the goals scored department which was an issue last season.
Sendai finished fourth in 2011 with the stingiest defence in the competition. They conceded just 25 goals in the 34 match season. Unfortunately they only scored more goals than 5 other teams. If the goal scoring problem has been nullified than there is no reason why Sendai can’t complete an inspiring J League triumph. Sendai was smack bang in the middle of the earthquake and tsunami disaster of 2011. After winning J2 in 2009 the team were lucky to survive their first season in the J League. They finished two places above relegation and just one win clear of the relegated FC Tokyo. It wasn’t unreasonable to expect the natural disaster to have a negative impact on the team in 2011 and spell the end of their J1 adventure, but they proved to be made of sterner stuff than most mortals.
Now 2012 sees Vegalta Sendai head of the table, with big guns Urawa Reds in pursuit, and the usual suspects Nagoya Grampus lurking about. The J League has made a habit of throwing up the fairytale recently and their will be no shortage of people wishing good will toward the team from Miyagi prefecture.