Avispa 2 – 2 Shimizu
61′ Iwashita, 64′ Bosnar, 66′ Ramazzotti, 68′ Nakamachi.
Before going into details on the match I just want to say that Freddie Ljungberg is a total dickhead. I could say it later in context, but don’t want it lost within the report. Having been a great player at Arsenal, and presumably earned a wedge, he seems to now be embarking on a world tour of being a bit of a cock. Today he was far more interested in refereeing than playing, did little more than stand outside the box and hit balls on the turn, and had an embarrassing cameo where he lost the ball and tried to track back displaying an incredible lack of pace. I’d really like more European players come as J-League foreigners, but not if they’re going to be like this.
Avispa didn’t have a total change of personnel, but did have some significant and positive changes from Niigata. At full-back there was the welcome return of Kim, and the surprise choice of Yusuke at right-back. I think he was there out of necessity, but proved to be a revelation with both wings providing width and defensive pace.
Avispa were the better team for the first 60 minutes, making several good chances to open the scoring. After a couple of corners found Nakamachi’s head in the box a 3rd was pulled back for Sueyoshi to hit from outside the box. He hit it well, but it clipped the post and went wide.
He had had an even better chance to score 5 minutes earlier when Kim landed a cross straight on his head but he sent his header wide when totally unmarked.
Jogo was frustrating once agin, and giving the team no real threat as he continued trying to run onto balls rather than attack them. He had a chance to score Goal of the Season after a very intricate 20 pass move, but couldn’t stretch to a difficult volley in the box.
The closest Shimizu came to scoring was when Ljungberg broke past a couple of players near the right byline, but hit the side netting when trying to score at the near post.
The game was being played with a nice bit of bite, but was generally in good spirits apart from the whinging Ljungberg. My highlight was when Nakamachi apologised to Jongapin for a foul, only for the dutchman to smile at Nakamachi and seem to say he dived. 2 minutes later the referee blew for a foul on Nakamachi by Jongapin, with Jongapin giving Nakamachi a big smile and thumbs up for thinking the favour had been returned. I was impressed with Jongapin, as much for playing with a smile on his face as for a decent first half.
As has happened so often this season when Avispa have seemed to have a grip on the game they conceded a silly goal. Suzuki Jun dragged the ball into his own area where Ljungberg hit an optimistic shot at goal which hit Kazuki’s arm. There was nothing Kazuki could do to get out the way,but was a type of shot-blocking handball which are usually given. Iwashita easily converted the penalty before Bosnar doubled the score 3 minutes later with a long range free kick which either the wall or Kajiyama should have stopped. It had power, but as 2 freekicks from the same player later would show, little control.
Asano brought Ramazotti on in place of Jogo and with a striker on the pitch we instantly looked better. Ramazotti looks quite comedic in most of what he does, but there is no doubting he causes problems. Within a couple of minutes he had scored as Kim and Matsuura combined to cross towards him where he shouldered a looping ball over the goalkeeper and seemed genuinely ecstatic to have scored.
2 minutes later the scores were level after Yusuke released Matsuura to counter into the box and seem to get fouled, with Nakamachi picking up the loose ball and calmly scoring a goal he needed in the corner. Playing in a more advanced role he has his best game for a long time and I really hope he sticks around in this role next season.
Avispa had the best chance to win the game as Yusuke once again broke from the back and released Matsuura, but his shot on the run was too close to the keeperand saved well.
There was just enough time for Ljungberg to get the sending off he had been looking for. Makoto Tanaka getting his orders in what will hopefully not turn out to be the last game of his great career.