Tokushima 0 – 4 Avispa
45′ Jogo, 55′ Naruoka, 60′ Naruoka, 80′ Kihara
After 3 matches with no wins I was starting to think that Avispa couldn’t win in April. They comprehensively showed that wasn’t true but the scoreline didnt look like it would be possible for a lot of this game.
The team came out with the same formation as in previous games, but with a couple of key differences. Koga came into defence, tellingly in place of Kobara rather than Hatamoto, and was awesome; exactly what we need- loud, big, great positioning, and able to organise the others around him. Him and Hatamoto were largely able to nullify the threat of the hopeless Diogo and more threatening #10.
Elsewhere the midfield was the same as last week, but seemed to be a little narrower with a much better grip of the game with Suzuki in particular regularly getting to the loose balls first.
The first half was very evenly matched, with Avispa perhaps looking a little better overall, but Tokushima carving out clearer scoring chances.
Crosses were being sent into the Tokushima box, but our small strikeforce weren’t getting too close to them, while at the other end balls were being slipped through for Diogo but he doesn’t seem to be the most mobile striker in the world and was being dealt with quite easily by the Avispa defence.
It looked like The half would end 0-0 but then after a couple of corners Avispa scored. We have looked totally ineffective at corners this season, but after one of these was easily cleared Naruoka hit the ball first time from the position on the edge of the D like he usually takes up. It wasn’t a great shot, but it did reach a surprised Jogo a couple of metres from goal who was able to locate the ball, turn and shoot past the helpless keeper at the near post.
It was the perfect time to score, but we had scored at tihs time against Kyoto so I wasn’t totally comfortable.
Coming out for the second half the team looked confident, or perhaps it was Tokushima losing confidence, because they started making better progress down the wings with Sakata doing a great job of holding the ball up and spreading it wide.
From a great move which saw the ball being passed around our midfield 40m further ahead of where we usually play the ball was moved to the right wing where Jogo passed to Wada in space to cross in for the incoming Naruoka to hit first time and find the far corner. I think it was the best goal of the game, but the next two goals provided some competition.
Comfortable in a 2 goal lead, and with Naruoka having got a goal and an assist the ball was being pinged around. A 3rd goal was added when Sakata again held the ball up and spread it across the pitch. This time to the left where Naruoka took 3 defenders out of the game with a drop of his shoulder and curled a classy shot past the keeper into the same far post as he had scored before.
At 3-0 up Naruoka was denied the chance of a hattrick as he was taken off for Kihara, and Kamiyama showed he was maintaining his great form by making a double save to deny a goal which may have given Tokushima a way back in. Hatamoto was playing with no fear against the big Diogo, and showed he is the real deal and should start every game when fit.
As space opened up at the other end it gave Kihara room to run into. He looked a lot quicker than on the cabbage patch at Machida, and also showed he knows where the goal is as he took a couple of touches and hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 40 yards. He was very happy to score his first professional goal, and it was nice to see that despite a terrible few games the squad still seem to have great morale as they celebrated with him.
Nishida Go and Samir had time to come on and pick up more minutes on the pitch, but the game was won by then and nothing much more happened.