Avispa 2 – 1 Roasso
21’Sakata, 25’Jogo, (67’Taketomi)
The starting line-up for Avispa was much like the digests had predicted beforehand, with a 442 formation replacing the 4231 from the last couple of years and the only really contentious selections being Jogo starting on the wing, Tsutsumi at CB and Wada having a go at right-back.
Everything seemed to be working very well in the first half with Kazuki and Tsutsumi looking pretty solid (if a little agricultural) at the back and the classy attackers of Avispa linking well together despite this being their first competitive match.
Roasso’s defence was having trouble dealing with the movement of Sakata, and while they managed to crowd him out several times it looked like it would be just a matter of time before someone would catch them out as a desperate clearance bounced the wrong way.
When the opening goal came it was a bit classier than that with Kim Min Je driving in field and putting in a low cross which bounced off a defender into Sakata’s path. Striking an awesome shot from the edge of the box the ball curled away from Roasso’s keeper and struck the inside of the far post and went in.
It was no less than Avispa deserved after spending most of the match in Roasso’s half with Suzuki Jun playing an important role making himself a nuisance with some tenacious tackling which was looking like it might send opposition Captain Fujimoto over the edge.
A second goal came from a similar route to the first with Kim Min Je again getting the assist. This time going round the outside of his man he put in a fantastic cross which Jogo rose highest to head back across the keeper and double the lead.
Throughout the last couple of years I have wanted Jogo to play a deeper, or wing role as he is a player who likes to run onto the ball and meet crosses late. It was looking like he had found his position with several good runs into space.
Roasso tried to kill the game going into half-time, seemingly knowing they needed a major re-organisation and it was looking like my prediction of 4-0 was well on the cards.
Coming out for the second half Roasso had indeed been organised much better with Fabio seeming to have been told to pressure the much smaller (and attacking minded) Kim Min Je. Repeated balls were hit long into the left-back position and it seemed to be working.
No clear chances were being made, but at least it was interrupting Avispa a bit.
From having a fairly untroubled first half Tsutsumi started to look troubled by his position, possibly carrying an injury and the strikers who had held the ball up so well in the first half were getting decisions against them for backing in which was giving the ball straight back to Roasso.
While Suzuki Jun and Sueyoshi had dominated midfield in the first half there was now a big space in the middle of the pitch like at times last year, and Roasso moved into it.
At times during matches one of Yutaka or Sakata may have to drop back and play in more of a 4411 formation at times when the opposition gets on top.
Avispa were still making chances and Yutaka came within a metre of scoring against his old club after he tried to place a shot into the far corner.
Much of Avispa’s attacks were comprised of intricate passing down the wings which finished with Sho Naruoka slipping and mis-kicking terribly at the end of the move.
Avispa were starting to look very nervous, and not sure of their positions and new team-mates at all.
Fujimoto took a bigger role in the game and after an Avispa free-kick was pumped forward by Kamiyama Roasso quickly got control of the ball and found Kim Min Je horribly out of position. Countering quickly down the right the ball was crossed by Fabio for speedy winger Taketomi to score easily.
Having a full-back who contributes two assists you have to accept he will sometimes be out of position, and Kamiyama didn’t help settle any nerves by haranguing Kim about where he should be. If he thinks players don’t sometimes make mistakes he has a very short memory to when he was making terrible mistake in almost every game last year and not getting extra pressure put on him.
There was time for Yutaka to smash the cross-bar from a long range free-kick (it looks like he is going to try to score another Tokyo Verdy goal every time we get a free-kick), but having been comfortable they were hanging on to try and scrape a 2-1 win.
After a really good first half Jogo was pretty much anonymous in the 2nd. Kobara came on for Tsutsumi and looked well short of form, okada came into the middle for Sueyoshi and didn’t look like anything special at all.
A good 3 points in a derby match with lots of new players, but definitely lots of things to work on for the next game against Machida.