JFA penalises cheeky penalty takers

TOKYO - Two J-League players who elaborately combined to take a penalty at the weekend were deemed to have broken the rules, Japanese officials said on Wednesday.

However, the J-League told Reuters they would not issue retroactive yellow cards to Hiroshima Sanfrecce's Tomoaki Makino (pictured) and Hisato Sato for their prank in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Shimizu S-Pulse.

Hiroshima were awarded a third-minute penalty and defender Makino placed the ball on the spot before retreating to the edge of the box to start his run-up.

At that moment, striker Sato rushed in and kicked the ball, taking the referee and S-Pulse goalkeeper and players by surprise.

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The Japan Football Association (JFA) ruled the players infringed the laws of the game by deceiving the referee over who would take the kick.

While the Hiroshima duo are set to escape punishment, match official Takuto Okabe faces a two-match suspension for allowing the penalty to stand.

"Makino was clearly identified as the designated kicker (having placed the ball)," said the JFA's referees' committee chief Yasuhiro Matsuzaki.

"The moment Sato entered the penalty area there should have been a free-kick to Shimizu and a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct for Sato.

"The match officials are supposed to know the rules of the game and were unable to make the right decision. We will consider what (punitive) measures to take."