Kashiwa 3 – 2 Avispa
19′ Leandro Dominguez, 42′ Kudo, 67′ Hayashi – 6′ Hideya, 73′ Jogo
After the heroics against Kawasaki last weekend it looked like Avispa might be able to carry on the great escape with a goal within the first 7 minutes on their first attack of the game. At that point I thought that maybe we would be able to grind out a gritty 0-1 win and get another of the 8 wins I think we need to stay up.
Getting the ball in the middle of the pitch Sueyoshi put in a lofted diagonal ball towards Hideya who superbly struck it first time past a defender and goalkeeper both closing him down.
It needed Avispa to take 15 minutes of solid defending and keeping the ball to try and frustrate Kashiwa and the home fans, but instead the game remained open and chance after chance fell for Kashiwa.
The key to Kashiwa’s success is their great movement off the ball. The full-backs push up, the strikers run diagonals off the shoulders of defenders, and in Leandro Dominguez they have a playmaker who they know will find their runs.
The equalising goal came from a run by the right back Takai after Wada had been drawn into the centre. He muscled past Sueyoshi who needed to stop the run even if it meant he picked up a yellow card and could easily pick out Dominguez in the box. As teh stand-out player from J2 last season, and one of the best in J1 this, you can’t give him a chance like that and he calmly found a space in the goal and scored.
It didn’t seem like the scores would stay level as the defence was being pulled out of shape by the forwards movement and it took 2 really good saves from Rokutan to keep the scores level.
Avispa did have a really good chance to take the lead again after a handball on the edge of the box by Kondo from Kashiwa led to a terrible back-pass as he tried to get rid of the ball before the referee noticed. Hideya ran onto the pass, and should have scored but in going around the keeper allowed a defender to get back and clear his shot off the line.
Avispa were let off the hook at the other end after the referee called back a quick free-kick after Hayashi had been played clean through on goal, but in a nearly identical move later Dominguez lifted a ball perfectly onto a run by Kudo who shot into the left corned with Rokutan helpless. Kobara looked for an offside call, but he was easily onside, and was simply undone by the movement.
I missed the start of the second half as it started to pour down in Fukuoka and killed my satellite dish, but managed to get things sorted in time for Avispa to go further behind. With Dominguez again as the architect a clever first time ball caught out the whole defence as Hayashi ran off the shoulder and had the Avispa backline needing to turn and try to catch him. Kobara sort of did, but in a bundle with Hayashi, Kobara and Rokutan the Kashiwa striker managed to force the ball in for a third goal.
At that point it seemed the game was over. In face of a demonstration of attacking movement the Avispa players were playing with their backs to goal, trying to play 25 pass moves, and only ever having 1 man forward. Then out of nothing another straight direct ball found Shigematsu in space and able to slide a ball through to Jogo. He tried to do too much with the ball, but took advantage of some weak defending to score his 3rd in 2 games and get Avispa back in it.
The game was calling out for a desperate last 15 minutes where Avispa threw all their players forward, while risking that they might lost 4-2. Instead they continued in the same patient way which had got them only 5 shots in the whole game.
There was a time with 3 minutes left when Avispa had 6 players in their own half as they went on an attack. The ball was headed clear from the Kashiwa box to land just outside the D and there wasn’t an Avispa player in shot.
I’d said that Sueyoshi was the key player for Avispa in this game. He showed this in making the first goal with his pass, and then in missing his tackle for the Kashiwa equaliser. Leandro Dominguez scored one and made 2 goals and didn’t get a kick all game (apart from some pretty shameful simulation at the end when he pretended Kim Min Je had hit him in the face). When Avispa needed a goal with 5 minutes to play the central 2 were still in their own half.