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J.League Column: Ryoichi Maeda's goal of death

J.League Column: Ryoichi Maeda's goal of death

Getty Images looks back at the teams which suffered the curse of relegation after Ryoichi Maeda scored his first league goal against them since 2007

Football, as they say, is a funny old game. Since 2007 the team against which Ryoichi Maeda has scored his first league goal of the season has been relegated. Of course, for the teams on the receiving end of the Jubilo Iwata predator’s killer blows, the lethal strikes are no laughing matter.

Here’s a rundown of the sides that Maeda has condemned to the drop in the last six seasons.

2007, Round 14: Ventforet Kofu 1-6 Jubilo Iwata. Maeda started and finished the scoring as Iwata demolished Ventforet in front of their own fans. 20 games later Kofu were in J2.

2008, Round 19: Jubilo Iwata 1-1 Tokyo Verdy. This goal came even later in the season, although Maeda did strike in just the first minute of the game. Verdy eventually equalized but that couldn’t save them in the long run.

2009, Round 5: JEF Utd 1-1 Jubilo Iwata. Another 1-1 draw, but this time it was Maeda whose goal earned a point for his side. JEF didn’t just lose two points, but ultimately their J1 status.

2010, Round 4: Jubilo Iwata 2-3 Kyoto Sanga. This was Sanga’s only away win of the season. Perhaps they should have know better than to beat Maeda’s side and although they took three points back to Kyoto with them his strike meant they would be slipping through the trapdoor eventually.

2011, Round 10: Jubilo Iwata 4-0 Montedio Yamagata. Maeda opened his account with two goals in this routine win, meaning it was curtains for Montedio, who went on to finish bottom.

2012, Round 3: Gamba Osaka 1-2 Jubilo Iwata. Most people thought the curse had run its course last year, when Maeda’s first of the season came with the winner against former J.League champions Gamba Osaka. Little did they know.

Maeda didn’t score last week, so Sagan Tosu, Jubilo’s opponents on Saturday, must be quaking in their boots.