Asia Tour Insider - Day Eleven

Tour Insider

Arsenal's first game in Japan since 1968 went exactly according to script - another win, a goal for local hero Ryo Miyaichi and a capacity crowd which set a new attendance record for the impressive Toyota Stadium.

There were 42,919 inside Nagoya Grampus's home on Monday, with more than a smattering of Arsenal fans among them, to watch the Gunners make it three wins out of three on the Asia Tour. The whole crowd had reason to cheer when Ryo smashed home a 20th-minute penalty.


Ryo celebrates his goal

Ryo celebrates his goal


Ryo and the returning Arsène Wenger were obviously the main attractions for the Nagoya Grampus fans, but this was the first game of the tour that actually felt like an away match.

About 100 fans have come over from England to follow the Gunners on tour, and they were joined in Toyota Stadium by a vocal contingent from the Arsenal Japan Supporters' Club.

But the vast majority inside the ground were Nagoya fans first and foremost - this game coming right in the middle of their ongoing J League campaign. The scoreline would not prevent them from enjoying the occasion, though. This was their first chance to welcome Wenger back since he left to join Arsenal 17 years ago.



He is still highly revered here. He featured on the front of the matchday programme, dominated the pre-match discussion and fireworks were set off when he and opposite number Dragan Stokjovic led the teams out before kick off.

The match itself was the main event of the Club's last full day in Nagoya. The morning was a relaxed affair, with the players staying in the hotel for gym sessions, swimming or massages, before lunch and a team meeting.

After the game it was back to the team hotel, about an hour's drive from the stadium, ahead of tomorrow afternoon's bullet train to Saitama - the final destination of the Asia Tour.

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