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.