Kyoto Sanga 3 : 2 Avispa Fukuoka
5′ Kudo, 20′ Own Goal, 45′ Yutaka, 50′ Nagasawa, 58′ Miyayoshi
A bit late on the report this week after travelling down to the game through a combination of work starting again and wanting to get some photos I took from the game onto the computer.
Despite being a Kyoto home game the game was being played in Kagoshima at the request of sponsors Kyocera. It meant that I went to the game when otherwise I wouldn’t have, and also that we would be playing in a hot athletics track stadium rather than in Kyoto.
Unlike in Machida the pitch this time was great and Avispa would have absolutely no excuses in this game with one of the best pitches I’ve seen this season.
It was very nice to be able to lie down in the sun on a old-school bank behind the goals, although quite hard to see the action at the away end.
It looked like Avispa fans would out-number the ‘home’ fans until close to kick-off when numbers evened out, and were probably both outnumbered by neutral fans.
The game started with the change which I had predicted, but didn’t agree with, as Tsutsumi partnered Kobara in central defence in place of Hatamoto. I assume the thinking of Maeda was to bring more muscle and experience in, but Hatamoto has been a revelation in defence and if he maintain this form we should get as much from him as we can.
The game started in the worst possible way with Kyoto seeming to be able to pass the ball around midfield easily. They were doing smart, small triangles, and with one-touch passes first dragged the defence out of position and played #10 Kubo through one-on-one on goal to calmly score.
Kyoto then looked like doubling their lead after carving Avispa apart, and then pressing Avispa into mistakes every time they tried to pass it around themselves.
From a cross on the left a Kyoto striker managed to mis-kick from 2m out, and then Kamiyama pulled off a reflex save from the rebound. He repeated the feat with a single hand save after initially saving from the left.
Avispa were getting ripped apart and barely managed a shot on goal as behind the stadium Mount Sakurajima erupted plumes of smoke into the air.
There can’t be many football stadiums in the world which can boast a volcano erupting just behind the stadium to compliment the action on the pitch.
Fortunately the wind was blowing away from the stadium, I don’t know how a match could be played if the wind had changed, and Avispa might have appreciated that.
Then out of almost nothing Avispa equalised. On one of their rare trips into the Kyoto half Sakata got bundled over on the edge of the box to get a free-kick.
Sueyoshi delivered well from the corner of the box where the big men from defence attacked at the back post. Under pressure from Tsutsumi the ball ended up in the net and after some confusion about whether the goal had been given the fans cheered an unexpected goal.
While still under constant pressure from Kyoto the surprise was doubled as Avispa took an unlikely lead on the stroke of half-time. Sakata held the ball up really well and released Jogo down the the right wing to run into space and cross to Sueyoshi in the middle of the box. Sueyoshi did a horrible miskick which turned out to be so bad that the ball ballooned up to Yutaka on the far side of the box to score past the confused goal-keeper.
With Avispa leading at half-time it really needed Maeda to tell them that they were incredibly lucky to be in the lead, and in my opinion make the proactive decision to change things.
Having been dominated in midfield it was calling out for an extra man in the middle as part of a 4141 or 451 to try to maintain the lead by killing off the game. We don’t have many options there, but would consider Miyaji or Hatamoto as a midfield anchor.
Instead things stayed exactly the same and as Avispa attacked despite not needing to they got dispossessed on the edge of the box and fell victim to an easy counter-attack.
Springing a good pass past the last defender Kyoto easily scored with another 1-on-1.
At that point it looked fairly inevitable that Kyoto would score again, but they didn’t even have to work for it as Avispa gave away possession in their own half as they had done many times already in this game and previously.
They need to understand that playing a patient passing game is fine, but they need to do it in better places in the pitch. Kyoto wee playing their passing game in our half, we were playing ours in our half. Their mistakes were being punished nothing, ours were punished by conceding goals (like they also were against Shonan).
Maeda changed things by just bringing on like-for like players. Hatamoto came on and immediately showed he should have played from the start, Samir found Oh in space with some nice cross field passes but didn’t look like scoring, and Oh again showed he is a bag of tricks without with final product.
I put more blame on Maeda than the players, but we cannot afford to be out-classed and lose all our away games to the better teams in this division.