Having suggested that the key match-ups in the game could involve Kensuke Nagai and Chiyotanda I was pleasantly surprised to see that niether would be playing against their old teams. I was even more happy to see the team sheet as it seemed like the manager had finally thought that maybe the old guard haven’t been doing too great and it might be worth getting some new energy into the team. Of particular note Shigematsu was starting up front, and Yoshihara and Ushinohama were on the bench; all selections I agree with.
The team started well, and it was looking to be more like the team which put in really good performances against Gamba and Marinos rather than the poor display last week. Chances were falling to both teams, with Avispa chancing things at the back a bit and really pushing on in attack. Exactly what I like to see them doing. Matsuura was having his best game in attack and providing an excellent outlet, holding the ball up well and playing sensible balls rather than trying to beat too many people.
The performance then became really similar to the match against Gamba as Kamiyama again gifted a goal to the opposition. A cross from the right was low but too close to Kamiyama, allowing him to pounce on it. Unfortunately he repeated his trick of spilling the ball straight to an oncoming attacker about 3m out from goal. Josh Kennedy made light work of smashing the loose ball into the net to undo all the good work done by the Avispa attackers.
Having gone behind I expected them to capitulate as they had against Jubilo, but they replied almost immediately. Pouring forward in attack again the ball came to Hideya on the left corner of the box where he turned and lofted a decent cross to the back post. Sueyoshi was breaking into the box and judged to be brought down for a penalty. I think it was a penalty, but have seen referees not give them too us when playing away. Hideya converted the penalty well to go in at half-time 1-1.
Coming out for the second half Nagoya were looking for a goal to take the lead and got it through another goalkeeping howler. Avispa were dealing quite well with the pressure as a ball ended up near the left post byline. Tamada struck it powerfully back across the goal in hope that someone might be able to get in the end of it only for Kamiyama to block it straight into the goal. It has been listed as a Tamada goal, I’d certainly be saying it was a Kamiyama own goal.
Having gone behind and drawn level once I thought it would be too much to do it again, but Matsuura was continuing to play well and in Shigematsu they have a quick striker who plays on defenders shoulders and always gives you a chance of scoring. I really wanted him to get a goal in this game to make it harder for Jogo to come back as striker and he came good to equalise for a second time. Suzuki Jun has the quality to find a striker with a well timed run, and Shigematsu broke off the shoulder to knock the ball off his back and past the stranded keeper. It was a perfect striker’s goal. Not in a perfect position, but finding a way to get the ball on target and give himself a chance. Exactly the sort of thing which Genki was so good at last year and Jogo will never be able to do.
Back at 2-2 we definitely deserved a point again, but it wasn’t to be. As in previous games we conceded within the last 10 minutes to lose the game. In a similar goal to Jubilo’s first last week the ball fell to a Nagoya striker with way too much space on the edge of the box. You cannot give J1 players that sort of time and space in the box and it was blasted past Kamiyama to take the lead for the third time. Potentially he could have saved it, but it would have been a really good save and he wasn’t at fault for this one.
In desperation Yoshihara and Ushinohama were thrown on in search of a late goal in the knowledge that losing 3-2 or losing 5-2 doesn’t make too much difference at this stage. We ended up losing 5-2 with a goal which looked like it should have been called handball by Burzanovic and a goal i can’t even remember by Tamada.
I was past caring by the end, but really hope that it was seen that despite losing 5-2 the performance was really good and some of these younger players should be given more of a chance even if others do come back from injury.