Archive for November 2010

vs. Consadole Sapporo (full report)   Leave a comment

For the last home game of the promotion winning season Level 5 Stadium welcomed it’s biggest crowd of the year with over 14000 spectators pulled in by the widespread TV and newspaper coverage of the team’s success.

The matchday programme had the welcome inclusion of Suzuki Jun in place of suspended Sueyoshi, but when the team was announced he had been switched for the more defensive minded Abe Shu. In front of a big crowd, and with the team needing a win to have a realistic chance of catching Ventforet Kofu for 2nd place it was a bit disappointing to not send out a team with a more attacking intent, especially as it wouldn’t really mean anything if they lost.

Even so I was hopeful that the team on the pitch would be able to win quite easily.

As with many times this season the team started brightly, holding possession and moving the ball towards the opposition penalty area; but as with many times this season they then had trouble in finding a way through the last line of defence and into a clear site on goal.

At times it looked like Genki was the only player willing to take a shot at goal, but even he was trying to play an extra pass more often than not, with the strikers seemingly wanting to have enough time and space in the box to choose their spot rather than just try to force a save out of the keeper.
This seems to be one of the main problems with Jogo. When he runs onto the ball and doesn’t need to think about what he is doing too much he can finish well, but in times when he gets the ball with his back to goal and needs to think a bit he dwells on the ball and gets tackled.

By halfway through the 2nd half it was starting to look as if a 0-0 draw was the likeliest result with neither team looking like they had a cutting edge. In fact it was Consadole who looked the more likely team to score, and Kamiyama pulled of a great point blank save, and Daiki intercepted a cross to the near post which could have easily given Consadole a lead they probably deserved.

Kudo was being kept on the pitch, understandably as it was his last ever home game for Avispa, but under ordinary circumstances he would have been replaced with some fresh legs. After 85 minutes Yusuke, Hideya and Suzuki Jun had all been brought on and Avispa were really pushing forward in search of a winning goal.
Noone was doing this more than Daiki who was breaking forward from defence at all opportunities. From one of these runs he won a free-kick on the edge of the box after a dramatic dive. Unfortunately the free-kick was wasted by being hit straight into the wall.

Time remained for a couple of corners which would have given Avispa a lead which they didn’t really deserve. The first was delivered well, the second badly and time was called on a disappointing game.

The players came out for a Goodbye ceremony for Kudo and to say thanks to the fans who will see them again next season in J1.

Posted November 29, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Gifu (youtube)   Leave a comment

Just realised I hadn’t put the goals from Tuesday game on the blog, or done any ratings for the game.

The first goal coming from an early corner. Genki had already hit the post once by this point.

Genki’s second to confirm all 3 points would be going back to Fukuoka, and by the end of the day would be promoted to J1.

Match ratings

Kamiyama – 8 Only called upon a few times during the match to make saves but did so well. Am starting to expect him to make good saves rather than horrible mistakes.

Nakajima – 8 Used the same short corner to Nakamachi routine to set up the first goal. No problems defensively.

Tatsunori – 7 After looking unstoppable when he came back from injury has stopped running quite so much at the end of games now. Should be back to best after the end of season rest.

Daiki – 8 A return to form at the middle of defence. Overtaken as Avispa’s standout player by Nakamachi and Genki this season, but still very important.

Makoto – 7 Still has excellent positioning, but physically may start to find J1 difficult against taller, stronger, faster strikers.

Sueyoshi – 6 Getting involved in needless aggression. Picked up a pointless yellow card to be suspended.

Nakamachi – 9 2 assists for the goals and was setting the play throughout the game. J1 class for sure.

Genki – 9 Always looked like scoring when he got the ball and could have easily had a hattrick today.

Kudo – 7 Very good at the start of the game, but picked up an injury. Will hopefully be fit enough to get some time for his send off.

Jogo – 6 Similar story as for the previous couple of months. Has been part of a promotion winning team, and scored vital goals, but seems to go missing.

Jumbo – 6 Working harder than he was leading up to when he was dropped a couple of months ago, and deserves his place in the team, but needs to be replaced as a matter of urgency.

Hideya – 7 On for Kudo. Showed some nice touches from the right wing. Has played all across the front line well now, but without ever making one position his own.

Yutaka – 6 On for Jumbo. Dangerous in the box, but doesn’t have the guile to help in getting the ball into the box.

Nagira – 6 On for Nakajima. Not sure if he had time to touch the ball.

Shinoda – 7 Sent out a team which got a fairly routine away victory at a time when JEF have shown how difficult that can be under pressure. Should have calmed the team down to avoid all the bookings, fortunately not now important.

Posted November 27, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Consadole (preview)   Leave a comment

Having secured promotion to J1 on Tuesday, Avispa have a couple of games to relax and enjoy their last time in J2 including today’s home game against Consadole.

I hope it is taken as an opportunity to play with a little freedom and express themselves against a team that have traveled a very long way, and have had very little to play for for about 3 months and are currently in quite a big injury crisis.

I think that J2 is really calling out for a proper relegation to the JFL system and playoffs for the 3rd promotion spot to make the season more interesting for clubs in a situation like Sapporo have now.

Sueyoshi is suspended for this game having picked up a fairly needless booking against Gifu, but it may be good for the team to have a more defensive player out and the chance for someone like Suzuki Jun to get a start. I hope that in the situation Shinoda does something positive rather than just bring someone defensive into the match like Abe or Miyaji.

I also hope that some young players are given a game, both for their development, and to show people like potential signing Kensuke Nagai that the team is willing to trust young players.

Before the game there will be a ceremony for Kudo who will be retiring at the end of the season. He has been a great servant for the club and I hope that he gets the chance to play some part in the game after being injured last week.

Avispa are priced at 1.72 (56%) for the win, which I think is pretty good odds to back. In the last home game of a promotion season against a mid-table opposition I’d hope they’d be looking for a big win in a party atmosphere. Avispa do actually have an incentive to win with 2nd place still up for grabs.

My Prediction

Avispa 3 – 0 Consadole

Playing an open game to give Kudo and J2 a good send off. Suzuki Jun to play and get a goal. Hopefully there won’t be many fans coming all the way from Sapporo to watch what is a fairly meaningless match.

Posted November 27, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Gifu (full report)   2 comments

Gifu 0 – 2 Avispa

By the end of the day Avispa would officially be promoted to J1 after JEF failed to take all 3 points against a resurgent Thespa team, but the work had been done at lunchtime where in contrast to a JEF squad who wilted under the pressure, the boys from Fukuoka travelled to Gifu and completed the task set for them.

Knowing that a win against Gifu would leave them just needing 1 more win to get guaranteed promotion they started at the same fast pace they had ended the game against Tokyo with on Saturday. With Genki returned to the team he was looking to show what they had been missing and nearly opened the scoring after 5 minutes.
A great run through midfield by Kudo set the ball up for Jogo, who in turn fed Genki entering the box from the left wing. A classic Genki placed shot beat couldn’t have come closer to scoring, hitting the inside of the post.

Encouraged by this Avispa continued to attack, with Genki getting the goal which he had earlier threatened. A cross from a corner was aimed at Nakamachi (how long before teams wise up to this) to fire a first time shot at goal. Saved by the keeper, Genki was quickest to react, as he has been many times in similar situations all season, to squeeze the ball into goal and give Avispa a 9th minute lead.

Having got the lead Avispa slowed the pace and held the ball limiting Gifu’s chances to equalise, but not really threatening to add to their lead. If you look at games where Avispa have taken the lead and then gone on to win this season they are the best in the league, and when they pull possession in games like this it is easy to see why.

Going into the 2nd half Hideya came on for Kudo to show his versatility in his 3rd different position in 3 weeks, and acquitted himself well from the right wing as he had from the left on Saturday.
The game started to get a little tetchy with Avispa players starting to get booked for unnecessary challenges despite being in the elad and not needing to turn the game into a battle. As with the Tochigi game it looked like it could give Gifu a way back into the game and Kamiyama needed to be alert to make a couple of good saves.

Genki was still looking like the liveliest player on the pitch and nearly doubled the score with a long range strike from the edge of the area while pressured by a couple of defenders, and then improvised to hit the bar after the ball lobbed over the keeper from his knee having been crossed into the area by Hideya.

Predictably it was Genki who finally did double the score, although as with the first goal it was only from 1m out after an initial shot from Nakamachi. Having allowed the ball to bounce in the box the Gifu goalkeeper was then beaten to the ball by Nakamachi who brought the ball under control and hit it past the keeper on the turn. It may have been heading in without any help but Genki rushed in to complete his brace and the win for Avispa.

It looked likely that they could complete the job of promotion, but were saved the pressure of needing to try to do it against Consadole by JEF’s submission later in the afternoon.

Posted November 23, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Gifu (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa could secure promotion to J1 today if they beat Gifu, and JEF lose to a Thespa team who score 4 past Kofu at the weekend.

When we last played Gifu it was the low point of the season. Seeing a workmanlike, but unspectacular Gifu team quite easily beat us at home in April. The team got booed off that day after a game in which they created almost no chances, and could barely get out of their own half. A couple of weeks later, and another home loss to Sagan Tosu and Avispa were stuck in the bottom half of the table.

For today’s game Avispa are a very different animal, and will be going to Gifu’s temporary home ground full of optimism after the last minute winner against Verdy.

Gifu have shown they are capable of beating anyone on their day; I watched them soak up a huge amount of pressure against JEF and then sucker-punch them on the counter-attack earlier in the season. I hope Avispa don’t go with too much confidence.

Hopefully we can get a goal in the 1st 20 minutes riding on the energy from Saturday. The longer the game goes on the more nervous the players will get, and they could end up settling for a draw to leave 1 win and 1 draw needed from the 2 games left.

My prediction
Gifu 0 – 2 Avispa

Early goal to settle the nerves, and then another as Gifu look to equalise. Relaxed 2nd half similar to Kitakyushu.
If it was Gifu’s last home game of the season I wouldn’t be so confident.

Posted November 23, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Tokyo Verdy (youtube)   Leave a comment

Haven’t yet been able to find the Tokyo Verdy goals. Will put them in later if I find them

Kudo’s retaken penalty.

Jogo doubles the score with a characteristic Jogo finish from the edge of the area.

Yutaka’s match winning free kick (already up to 2500 views!).

And from another angle…

Posted November 20, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs Tokyo Verdy (events and ratings)   Leave a comment

Avispa 3 : 2 Tokyo Verdy
11 Shots 14
2 Corners 3
21 Free-kicks 11
1 Yellow 2

20 min – A free kick from outside the box is played to Nakamachi bursting back into the area. Brought down for a clear penalty.
21 min – *****GOAL*****Kudo scores from a penalty, but is ordered to take it again after players entered the box. Scores again from the penalty.
50 min – *****GOAL***** Long diagonal ball from Hideya plays in Jogo as the Tokyo defence has pushed up. takes a touch and finishes well.
57 min – *****GOAL***** Tokyo control the ball and make it as far as the edge of the penalty area. Ex-Avsipa player Iio turns and shoots beyond Kamiyama from a crowd of players.
60 min – *****GOAL***** Avispa defence is out of shape and Hiramoto gets in front of Makoto to score with a header at the near post.
93 min – *****GOAL***** Last chance of the game as Avispa get a free kick 8m outside the area. Looking too far for a strike on goal Yutaka smashes the ball into the top left corner to win the game for Avispa.


Kamiyama – 7 Made some important saves in the 2nd half when Tokyo were in the ascendency. Got a hand to the 2nd goal but couldn’t keep it out.

Tatsunori – 8 Good in defence, and composed when he has the ball. One amazing tackle after the referee had played an assist to Tokyo from an Avispa corner.

Nakajima – 8 Had a new left wing partner ahead of him and worked well to control the left back position. Struggled to find range with set-pieces.

Daiki – 7 Excellent in the 1st half. Organised defence and had the off-side trap working well. Must take credit for his leadership this season.

Makoto – 7 Part of the defence which kept Tokyo out of the box for most of the game. Also part of the defence which went to sleep for 5 minutes in the 2nd.

Sueyoshi – 7 Has improved his tactical discipline in dropping into a defensive position when a full back go forward. Good tackling.

Nakamachi – 8 Never gives the ball away. Won the penalty for the opening goal. Needs more quality ahead of him.

Kudo – 7 Rolled back the years with an energetic performance. kept his nerve to score from the retaken penalty.

Hideya – 7 Played with energy in his first start as a left winger, and was better defensively than I expected. Brilliant assist for 2nd goal. Didn’t do enough to usurp Genki from the team.

Jogo – 6 Certainly scores some important goals, and if he runs onto balls on the edge of the area he finishes them well. I’d like a more natural goal scorer as the main striker. Guilty of over-complicating at times.

Jumbo – 6 Had some good link up play, and was hurrying the opposition defence at times. Always wants too many touches in the box.

Yutaka – 8 On for Kudo. Always looks like scoring when he gets the ball in the box. Scored an amazing free kick to win the game.

Suzuki Jun – 8 On for Hideya. A bit of a luxury player, but Shinoda needs to find a way to use him as he is the 1 player in the squad who can make things happen in the final third. 2 great crosses in under 10 minutes.

Nagira – 6 On for Nakajima. Last minute change for an injury.

Shinoda – 8 Got the team correct at the start of the game, and brought on a substitute who won the game. Needs to find a way to polish Suzuki Jun up to his potential as a playmaker.

Posted November 20, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Tokyo Verdy (full report)   Leave a comment

The goal that sent Avispa into J1?

With the game tightly contested at 2-2, and with Tokyo Verdy having missed some clear chances to snatch the points in the 2nd half, Avispa had one last chance in the 93rd minute after a free kick was awarded 8m outside the Verdy box.
Surprisingly it was Yutaka who stepped up to take it despite Nakajima and Suzuki Jun both being on the pitch. The decision was totally justified as he struck an unstoppable shot into the top left corner to send the stadium crazy, and Avispa one step closer to promotion. The shot had power and placement, and is going to be replayed a lot of times.

After last weeks dire chanceless game against Oita this week started off looking like it might be more of the same. At times at the start of the 1st half it looked like Avispa were playing Avispa with both teams having some decent build-up between defence and midfield, but then struggling with quality in the final third to get the ball into the box and get a shot at goal.

It looked likely that it would take a set piece to break the deadlock, and so it happened as a Nakaji freekick which wasn’t cleared properly found Nakamachi bursting into the box where he was clearly brought down for a penalty.
Kudo calmly converted the penalty to give Avispa the lead, although the nervous situation was made even harder by the referee ordering the penalty to be retaken after players infringed into the area.

Avispa looked good to finish the 1st half with the defence working well together to make life difficult for the Verdy forwards, with the offside trap working particularly well.

Starting the 2nd half they came out with the momentum firmly in their favour and nearly scored within the first 20 seconds. Using the usual routine of a long diagonal ball to Jumbo on the right wing, Jogo collected the knockdown and played a 1-2 with Jumbo to get the ball alone on the box with just the keeper to beat. Striking the ball well it needed a smart save to keep the score at 1-0.

Maintaining the pressure Avispa did later manage to double their advantage with a goal out of almost nothing. Hideya played exactly the ball I have been looking for Avispa to play recently as a direct ball played through the defence set Jogo through on goal. Confident enough to take another touch he finished well with a typical edge of the area Jogo finish.

It looked like Tokyo’s season was over, and Avispa had one of their three wins needed, when as with a couple of times this season the defence went to sleep around the 60 minute mark. It still needed a moment of skill to get the first Tokyo goal as Tokyo made their usual progress to the edge of the box, but rather than the move over-complicating and breaking down, the Verdy striker turned and struck a curling shot beyond Kamiyama.

Buoyed by their goal, and with the Fukuoka defence looking panicked the scores were soon level. A simple ball into the box was converted by the dangerous #16 as he managed to get in front of the defender and head powerfully at goal and score despite Kamiyama getting a hand on it.

The game opened up and became the most entertaining, end-to-end game I’ve seen this season. Both teams had chances to win it, Avispa’s coming largely through Suzuki Jun after he had come on for Hideya on the left. His ability on the ball is something which Shinoda needs to work out how to use more regularly. Two crosses into the box were narrowly missed by a free header from Jogo, and a volley on the stretch by Jumbo, to make it look like the game would finish as a draw.

Step up Yutaka to steal the points, and the Man of the Match award despite only being on the pitch for 15 minutes!

Posted November 20, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs Tokyo Verdy (preview)   Leave a comment

While the rainy night against JEF may be seen as the pivotal game of the season, today’s game against the fallen giants from Tokyo isn’t far from it.
Still needing 2 wins and 2 draws to be guaranteed of promotion regardless of what the opposition do, Avispa play one of their competitors for promotion. 2 months ago I had said that I was a little worried about Verdy even though they were still mid-table, and since inflicting the first defeat of the season onto Kashiwa they have been in an excellent run of form.

They are long shots for promotion after letting a lead against JEF slip last week, but will come into this match knowing they must win and will be a very difficult game.

Avispa will be playing without Genki after picking up a suspension last week which stops him from playing against his former team. It represents a selection headache for Shinoda as Genki has been an ever present this season. I expect him to bring Suzuki Jun in, which will provide a more creative midfield, but less width. Personally, I\d play Hideya on the left wing after his excellent assist against Omiya.

My Prediction
Avispa 1 : 1 Tokyo Verdy
Very difficult game, where a player could easily get sent off under the pressure. A draw would be a great result.

Posted November 20, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs Omiya (youtube)   Leave a comment

While Avispa are battling to return to J1 it is easy to forget they are also still in the Emperor’s cup having knocked out J1’s Hiroshima last round. It is particularly easy to forget as the Cup doesn’t seem to be very popular or well publicised in Japan.

The 2 teams lining up showed how seriously the clubs were taking it. with almost entire reserve teams playing against each other. The only first team member playing for Avispa was Genki due to his suspension in the upcoming League match.
It is good to see some of the younger players given a chance, and they have acquitted themselves very well by scraping through on penalties again.

It was a game including some great goals with Omiya twice going ahead through excellent individual strikes, and Avispa answering quickly both times through well worked team goals. Sandwiched in the middle was time for Suzuki Jun to miss a penalty in normal time.

Winning on penalties it was Rokutan who should take all the credit with 2 saves, the first of which is a really good one. The players who took penalties for Avispa were Yutaka, Jumbo (miss), Suzuki Jun, Hideya and Abe.

Posted November 19, 2010 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights