Urawa 3 – 0 Avispa
73′ Marcio Richardes
Despite playing a club in the lower half of the table I was far less optimistic about getting anything from this game than I was against Kashiwa at the weekend. Urawa haven’t been playing great this season but still have the players and the budget to beat anyone on the league, and should have been looking at Avispa as a chance to kickstart their season.
The game didn’t start off that way however, with Urawa looking a little sluggish and being limited to fairly weak free-kicks which the referee seemed willing to give every time the ball came near the Avispa box. These were being pretty much wasted by Marcio Richardes, with one exception as a near post cross should have been buried by the big Australian defender who’d come up from the back.
At the other end the same Aussie was having a decent game and was one of the main reasons why Avispa were being able to get the ball towards the Urawa box but having to resort to long range efforts at goal which didn’t trouble the keeper. Jogo tried a lob from outside the box, with Wada going for a Goal of the Season contender as he hit the resulting corner full on the volley from the back of the box.
Urawa were countering fast when they got chances to and there striker managed to stay on-side, but perhaps the best chance of the half fell to Suzuki Jun darting towards the near post to meet a cross from Yusuke which was saved by the keeper and from Suzuki’s reaction may have been on target.
Going into half-time against tough opposition level yet again it seemed inevitable that we would tire/get nervous/not cope with any changes/whatever it is which affects us in the 2nd half and concede a goal.
It didn’t take long as a smart move around the edge of the Avispa box with interchange between Mazolla and Marcio Richardes set Keita Suzuki free running into the box. I hope Sueyoshi was paying attention as the breaking defensive midfielder could slot calmly past Rokutan completely unmarked.
Avispa tried to react and were really unlucky not to equalise from a corner. Using the short corner routine which got us so many goals last season it was Jogo who met the ball to the front of the box and let the ball run across him and poke towards goal. It beat everyone except the bar, hitting the underside and bouncing down about a metre out. It could have gone anywhere, and is the sort of ball Genki was so good at getting on the end of last year, but was cleared easily.
Starting to look a little deflated I don’t think they were happy to see the bog Brazilian Edmilson coming on. Having failed to cope with Brazilians all season (with the exception of Kobe), they did so again as Edmilson powered past Wada down the right wing and picked out Richardes in the middle. Beating Daiki to the ball on the stretch he put a classy finish past Rokutan.
Shinoda tried to respond by putting on Yutaka (which I’ve mentioned before I think is a waste of time at 2-0 down) and Masato (which I really want him to do more) but the team looked finished and aside from a half chance for Masato didn’t ever look like pulling a goal back.
They didn’t really deserve to lose the game 3-0 but nearly did when Kashiwagi chipped a ball onto the bar when clean through on goal, and then did when the same player beat Daiki for strength and crossed for Edmilson to miscontrol and then beat some poor defending/keeping by Wada and Rokutan as he got to the bouncing ball first.