Avispa 0 – 1 Yokohama
Avispa needed to bounce back after the thrashing they received against Kashima, and after a week off for internationals the team starting against Yokohama had some welcome changes.
kim Min Je came back into the team to add some more energy down the left wing from full back, and Yamaguchi partnered Daiki for what I assume is an injury to Kobara, but helps give us more height at the back.
It also looked like the team had been told to play a more direct style, with the ball getting forward from the back more quickly and play taking place higher up the pitch. It is a less attractive game, but no-one has given us any points this season for playing nice football.
Matsuura was returned to the wing, but doesn’t make full use of the space in the corner from this role and cut inside at most opportunities. This allowed Yokohama to play a narrow defence which left the pitch too congested for Jogo and Naruoka to play their indulgent fancy flicks.
If they needed any encouragement to start using the wings more tey got it twice in the first 10 minutes when first Matsuura managed to get beyond the left back and float a cross to the back of the box, and then Kim Min Je broke on the left and slid a ball along the front of the box. The first of these falling to Nakamachi who was unlucky with a placed shot which stuck the post, the second was horribly scuffed by Naruoka who doesn’t seem to have much of a left foot.
Avispa were looking the more likely to score, but at the other end Yuji Ono was being as much of a threat as he was in the first match (where he scored 2 goals). Someone on the Avispa team should have been given instructions to kick him within the first 5 minutes, but as it was this 18 year old kid was able to bully the back-line for most of the match.
Yokohama took the lead after Daiki gave up on a hopeful long ball only to see Ono less inclined to see it drift out for a goal-kick. Chasing back he ended up conceding a corner and it was fairly inevitable that after defensive sloppiness Avispa would be punished. The corner was hit to the back post where someone headed it down towards the post where Arias reacted fastest to score from a metre out.
Yokohama immediately started trying to slow the game down, and continued to hold the ball within the Avispa half without really ever testing Rokutan.
Their defence started to look a lot more organised, and between them Jogo, Naruoka and Matsuura were over-complicating things and looking for too many touches and short passes. Nakamachi didn’t build on his good start to the match, and didn’t get too close to the box until his eventual substitution 15 minutes before time.
The game was being played out in the middle of the pitch with lots of build-up from both teams, but not much final ball or shooting. It was something of a relief when Jogo and Naruoka got substituted, and even more when Ono was as he had looked threatening all match.
Ramazotti came on for his home debut and Avispa got even more direct. It was my first chance to see him in the flesh and I was more impressed than his first game. He definitely isn’t very fast or mobile, but seemed to have a lot of heart for the match and scared the Yokohama defence with his height.
Avispa were able to launch long balls up to him, and more often than not he was able to get flick ons, and when the ball came to his feet he had good distribution. Avispa immediately started to make chances, and Ramazotti might feel he could have scored on his home debut after getting a ball come into him at waist height across the box.
Yokohama were trying to hold on as a succession of corners and crosses were aimed towards Ramazotti in the middle of a very crowded box. The crowd had their hearts in their throat every time the ball came in, but it couldn’t be forced over the line and Yokohama returned home with all 3 points.
It was a decent performance by Avispa, and realistically 1 point here wouldn’t go a long way to staying up. I hope Shigematsu and Ramazotti get more of a chance in the remaining games as we have to pick up wins from now on.