Archive for November 2011
Having announced that Asano won’t be our manager for next year I’ve been thinking it must be because the club have someone else lined up, or Asano doesn’t want to stay.
His performance as manager has been pretty good, and has been a credit to the club with his dignified manner in face of victory or defeat.
News today that Wagner Lopes (naturalised Brazilian who went to France 98 as a Japan player) has said he is looking to leave Paulista for a foreigh country, and that he was apparently spotted in Hakata today have set rumours spreading that he might be returning to Avispa as coach.
The rumour is further fueled by the announcement of Takuya Jinno as General manager, a player who Wagner Lopes has known since they played together at Nissan Motors over 20 years ago.
It is an exciting development which may pave the way for a fresh new batch of talented Brazilians returning to Avispa with a manager who speaks Portuguese and Japanese.
Elsewhere Jumbo has been released by Montedio to spend the offseason looking for a new club for the second year running. Hopefully he can find himself a friendly J2 club and get back to being a hero again!
***UPDATE*** Maybe just visiting friends if he was down here as it looks like he will be the new coach at Gamba Osaka. Fans now saying new manager will be announced straight after Cerezo match.
One of the best things about playing a team like Urawa is the guarantee of decent full highlights.
They also brought a bunch of fans with them. It’ll be a while until Level-5 sees this many people in it again.
As expected Avispa came out with an almost unchanged team from the thrashing of Yamagata, with Makoto Tanaka coming in at the expense of Yamaguchi for his send off game and Yusuke returning at right-back as a more attacking option.
The bench did see some changes with Daiki and Jogo coming back to join Nakamachi as substitutes. Seeing those 3 warming up apart from the first team squad highlighted our biggest problem from this season. The three most important players have failed to live up to expectations when we needed all three to take responsibility if we ever had any chance of staying up. What happens next to those three will have a big say in whether we get promotion next year.
Avispa started the game more brightly with Matsuura wanting the ball on the left wing, and both full-backs attacking with energy down the wings. It leaves spaces at the back but even against an Urawa team with Escudero playing quite well, and one of last year’s stand out attackers Marcio Richardes they weren’t massively troubled at the back.
Both teams had chances to open the scoring with some fairly abject near post finishing from Urawa seeing the ball flying over the cross-bar, and Yutaka not really fulfilling the role of striker as balls were crossed into the box but not finished.
It was Avispa who did open the scoring after Kim Min Je made a typically dynamic run up the left exchanging passes with Matsuura. One of his return balls arrived at Hideya who took the ball of Matsuura’s foot and found the far corner with a shot from the angle of the penalty area. It is the sort of goal which Hideya can (and has) scored many of. He is willing to take shots at goal, and would score 6-7 goals in a season for any team (without ever working hard enough to get 20).
The goal cam 8 minutes before half-time and with a noisy Urawa crowd it was crying out for Avispa to kill the game until half-time. Kamiyama was getting the ball at his feet in open play with no pressure from any Urawa player and launching attacks as Urawa fans whistled.
This showed a worrying naivety from a team who should have learned more from J1 this season. With the other team needing to chase the game they should be making a striker leave midfield and open more space before sending the ball back to the other team to attack. Fairly predictable Urawa scored deep into injury time after one of Avispa’s attack broke down. I ball into the box wasn’t dealt with well by Makoto teeing up Urawa midfielder Kashiwagi on the edge of the box. His shot took a huge deflection and left Kamiyama with no chance of saving with the last kick of the first half.
After that the game was only ever going to end with a win for Urawa. The half-time talk would have written itself, the fans started to really push the team and the players could sense that safety from relegation could be achieved today.
Urawa took a much firmer grip of the game, and apart from the continuing excellence of both Avispa fullbacks in attack they looked much more likely to find a way through.
Avispa’s best chance of the half was for Nakamachi who struck well at goal after a nicely worked move, but saw his shot parried by the keeper. Bouncing back into the middle of the box it showed our need for a striker as the rebound could be easily cleared. Nakamachi was working quite well with Naruoka as a player who can read what he will do next, but wasn’t the stand-out player we witnessed last season.
Urawa then took the lead through a penalty which was ordered to be retaken. Springing the off-side trap after 7-8 times trying Sueyoshi was chasing a runner back and put his hand on the attacker’s shoulder. Sensing his opportunity the attacker went down immediately and Sueyoshi had to be sent off as last man. Again Avispa were shown what it takes to play in the top level with an experienced striker working to get into the box and then going down under any touch to get a penalty and sending off. Unfortunately it is something Avispa players will need to think about if they are to succeed as top J1 players.
Having gone down to 10 men Avispa continued trying to pass the ball around, which while admirable was also never going to work against a team like Urawa. It was calling out for Ramazotti to come on and have long balls dropped onto his head to see if something could come out of nothing.
All three substitutes were used up after Yusuke got cramp, and the chances of Avispa sneaking something from the game evaporated.
In the post-match ceremony the fans said good-bye to Asano, Makoto and Shimizu who it was pretty much known to be leaving, Ramazotti who doesn’t look like he could agree on a deal, and Tatsunori who it was a surprise to me to be leaving.
At the start of the season this looked like a big game with one of Asia’s most popular clubs coming to Level-5 at the business end of the season, it has only increased in size after Urawa’s terrible season has seen them at risk of being relegated. A story as big as Kashiwa having a chance of winning the league.
If Urawa win today they will avoid relegation so have a big incentive to play, while Avispa have their last home game in J1 and the last home game for Makoto Tanaka, Asano (and a few others I guess).
Mako is likely to come back in to say good-bye(I think his suspension is over), and I expect Yamaguchi to partner him after working pretty well together against Shimizu. Despite having done well in that game it will probably need some help from the two in front of them to stop an expensive Urawa attack who know they need to score.
I’d like to see Nakamachi play behind the striker again to add more numbers to midfield, but after winning 5-0 in the last game doubt that the team will be changed too much.
I’ve read a few posts from Urawa fans thinking this game will be fairly straight forward, but think they might be in for a bit of a surprise with a team looking to say goodbye to J1 in front of their own fans.
Would be nice to see Ramazotti again. I don’t know what his future holds at the club, but seeing someone who offers something a little different, and is clearly working as hard as he can lifts the stadium and team with it.
I still don’t know what the situation is with Jogo and Daiki, and being Asano’s last game will be trying to find out any information about what is going on behind the scenes.
Avispa 2 – 3 Urawa Reds
Going for a high scoring game, with Avispa maybe taking the lead and then Urawa having to pull something out the bag after seeing Kofu are winning. Nakamachi to get a goal from a corner.
The club announced that Asano wouldn’t be having his contract renewed for another year after taking over from Shinoda halfway through the season and failing to avoid relegation.
It was always very unlikely that the club were going to stay up, so if that is what they were expecting him to do then they had very unrealistic expectations. Coming a couple of days after a 5-0 away win was a pretty strange time to make the announcement too.
The team has got better since he took over, and I have an idea that we might have been a little closer to staying up if we had had him from the start. In 19 games that Shinoda was at the club we got 8 points; in the 12 games that Asano has been in charge we got 14. Nothing great, but an improvement.
It does lead to a question about what effect this will have on players coming and going at the club over winter. Asano has seemed to be close to Nakamachi having both known each other at Shonan, but has also been the manager who had him on the bench for the last quarter of the season.
Jogo is a big question mark, having missed the first game Asano managed for mental reasons he hasn’t even been in the squad for the last few games.
Ramazotti was brought in at around the time Asano started, but I’ve never known if he was Asano’s man having arrived at a similar time to new sponsorship and then not getting much of a chance despite being awkwardly effective when he has played.
There are a few quite high profile managers within Japan who are floating around with no club, it’ll be interesting to see how ambitious Avispa are with their next appointment. With contracts needed to be sorted, and any new manager needing to take a look at players someone new needs to be brought in pretty soon.
Some big scores from a team which didn’t notably didn’t include the big 3 (Daiki, Jogo, Nakamachi) in the starting line-up.
Kamiyama – 8 Made one great save as he clawed a header off the line, and dealt with everything else calmly. Probably done enough to earn a new contract as #1.
Kim – 7 Caught out of position a couple of times, but that will always happen with a defender who overlaps the winger all game.
Tatsunori – 7 Captain for the day he put in a good performance. Stronger in defence than Yusuke.
Yamaguchi – 8 As a last ditch defender he throws himself in front of balls, and commits himself well. Needs help with distribution, but that isn’t really his job.
Kobara – 8 Kept a clean sheet in a makeshift defence against battling strikers. Saw and picked out Ushinohama’s run for the fifth goal.
Suzuki Jun – 8 Tackled well in midfield at times, and more importantly broke into the box in attack. Got his first J1 goal and will hopefully grow in confidence from it.
Sueyoshi – 8 Also got an assist, and helped run midfield as part of a young pair. I still want to see him tackling harder.
Naruoka – 7 His best performance as a winger, but he clearly doesn’t want to be out there. Drifted inside and helped stretch the defence.
Hideya – 7 Held the ball up really well at times. Showed that he can be effective with his back to goal and bring others in. Still think he could work harder.
Matsuura – 9 Put himself in the window for a decent contract somewhere. Dynamic performance as he got the better of his full-back, was directly involved in the 1st goal, and scored Goal of the Season for the 2nd. Love his enthusiasm, but needs to collect a few fouls to be a top player unfortunately.
Yutaka – 8 Linked play very well, and scored a great goal, but I think it is a little short-sighted to be bringing him in now. Will he be here next year?
Nakamachi – 6 Came on in the 2nd half and did OK, but I was thinking he might be able to show something special against a stretched demoralised team.
Shigematsu – 7 Hungry for goals when he came on he wanted to take free-kicks, and forced a mistake for the 4th goal.
Ushinohama – 9 I’ve been calling out for some youngsters to be given games and this is what happens. Tenacious in defence he took his first goal intelligently, and showed sublime touch to get a second. The experience he got today was invaluable, I just wish others had the same chance.
Asano – 9 5 – 0 win away from home with some youngsters playing and a new defensive partnership, can’t really complain about that. Has done ok since starting, but it seems as soon as thing are looking brighter he is going to leave.
Finally a whole bunch of goals to show, and done so with no Jogo or Daiki in the team, and Nakamachi only playing half an hour. Coincidence? I think the off-season might see as many squad changes as last season.
First goal after 2 minutes with Naruoka showing he has a change in pace and Suzuki Jun breaking into the box and scoring his first J1 goal. 1 goal in each of the last 2 seasons, needs more.
After being heavily involved in the first and getting a boot to the face in the process Matsuura scored the best goal of the season after slaloming past 3 defenders. He could have gone down for any of the tackles, but when he scores a goal like this it makes it worth it.
Screamer from Yutaka after collecting a return ball from Sueyoshi. Takes it early and leaves the keeper with no chance despite the long range.
5 minutes left to play and Shigematsu intercepts a loose ball and feeds Ushinohama to stay calm and score with his left after taking a touch. Ushinohama checks his run very well to show some intelligence for the offside.
After scoring with his left he shows his right is even better with an incredible first touch and goal after Kobara’s long ball.