On March 12th, Giravanz Kitakyushu played Blaublitz Akita in the opening game at the new Mikuni World Stadium Kitakyushu. As early as 8am, there was already a long line for tickets. So it was no surprise a new club and J3 record attendance of 14,935 was set.
The opposing team from Akita pressed well from the kick-off whistle, determined to spoil the party and they almost did. But it was Sho Hanai of Giravanz who was to get the first goal at Mikuni Stadium. Hanai diverted Kanzaki’s shot past the Akita keeper to take the lead. Akita however, continued their attack and Ken Hisatomi leveled the game 1-1 just before half time. Both teams had good chances to take the win in the 2nd half but the score remained the same at the final whistle. It was a scrappy but entertaining draw!
There were plenty of things to do, see and eat inside and outside the stadium. Face painting, dancing, a marching band and a wonderful performance by singing group Le Velvets helped make the opening day special. The stadium itself is fantastic. The view of the pitch is great from all sides. All facilities are first class. The stadium even has it’s own original green tea flavored beer. Try it, you might like it!
The game ending in a draw was disappointing considering many expect Giravanz to finish the year as champions, but we hope people keep coming back to the stadium to support Giravanz Kitakyushu. The next home game will be held on March 26th vs. Cerezo Osaka U-23. Kick-off is at 15:00. See you there!
Report and photos by Daniel Ashley