After last week’s draw against Consadole the game today was very likely to mean nothing with the only way that Avispa could finish anywhere other than 3rd being if they won and Kofu lost with a goal difference of +4.
With that in mind i thought that it would be best if Avispa played a youthful team, with a few of the fringe players given a chance to show what they can do and get some useful experience before making the step up to J1.
This was complicated by the announcement yesterday that 5 players, including Jumbo, were not going to have their contracts renewed so wouldn’t be playing for Avispa next year. In an unnecessarily awkward situation there was then the problem of whether to consider these players for selection.
To give them a game is a nice opportunity for the fans to say thank-you and goodbye, but it is also an opportunity for the player to pick up an injury when they know that their future is uncertain and a difficult circumstance to ask someone to go out and play to the best of their ability.
I thought it better if they don’t play, but Shinoda decided differently and the match started with 2 of the players being released starting (Jumbo and Abe Shu). It meant that with Kudo also playing, only 8 players who have any chance of playing next season would be on the pitch.
As usual Avispa started brightly and had an early corner where they tried the short corner to Nakamachi routine which they have been doing a lot recently. Finding Nakamachi in plenty of space it looked like it might lead to a goal again, but his shot was blocked. I do wonder whether other clubs have watched footage of Avispa playing as they should know that nearly all corners taken by Avispa are aimed at Nakamachi by now.
Fagiano were playing their part in the match, and took the lead after 20 minutes with a corner of their own. An inswinging corner was met by the #2 in the centre of goal where having got in front of Nakamachi he easily scored. Nakamachi got very tangled up in the process which led to his injury, a more serious problem than conceding the goal under the circumstances.
Suzuki Jun was brought on, and the team looked more like what I had wanted it to look like for the last couple of games. I don’t know why Suzuki Jun has fallen out of favour so much but again in this game he looked the most creative player on the pitch after he came on. His tackling is still terrible, but enthusiastic, and he plays with his head up and an excellent awareness.
Avispa equalised from a free-kick from well outside the box with Suzuki Jun the architect. While Nakaji took a long run up he used his brilliant left foot to rattle the underside of the bar having got the ball up and down over the wall. Tatsunori finished well from the rebound having followed up the initial shot well.
Avispa deserved to be level, and enjoying a good 15 minutes of play Suzuki Jun got another assist for a second Avispa goal. After initially feinting he crossed a good ball over towards Jumbo who caused enough confusion by falling over that the ball could find it’s way to Kudo on the right of the box. Hitting a good first time shot he placed the ball inside the far post to give himself the perfect final game.
With the game finishing 2-1 I felt for Jumbo who was visibly upset at the final whistle, but got a great reception from the travelling fans. I have no doubts that he will get himself another club very quickly, along with all the players being released, and could easily make a good acquisition for Giravanz who have quite a bit of money at the moment, being able to stay in the area where he will always be treated well by Avispa fans.