Avispa 1 – 1 Oita
The second 1-1 draw in a week and one which I feel was totally different to before. Against Kofu I thought we didn’t play really well, but would be very happy with a point; against Oita we played much better but the team are probably disappointed with a single point.
I thought the game had far more positives than negatives.
Keeping the same 442 as previously was correct here, Oita areare not as strong as Tokyo or Kofu in midfield and Suzuki and Sueyoshi were able to control things quite well, with Sueyoshi in particular making several good interceptions. The ball was leaving our defence a lot quicker, and with Naruoka again playing a floating role we were able to keep the ball higher up the pitch.
We were also helped in this by the inclusion of Nishida Go for Yutaka who was very lively and putting himself about well.
Despite controlling the ball we were still struggling with penalty box entries, with the two times we did get into the box having shouts for a penalty. First from a handball, and then a heavy challenge on Sakata which left him with an ankle I njury..
At the other end Oita were still dangerous with Omata left totally exposed by Naruoka leaving his wing throughout the game. One attack was very lucky to not concede a goal as Kamiyama parried a loose header onto the post with the rebound somehow missed from the 6 yard line.
Avispa’s defence continues to look dodgy under set piece crosses, and as with Kofu just a few days earlier the zone defence employed for corners broke down and a ball was allowed to bounce in the box. Hatamoto tried to head clear cfrom a standing jump but got no distance and Oita could easily bundle the ball home. As the half came to a close the injured Sakata was still enough of a nuisance to create a goal for Jogo. . Getting his head to a ball in the box the ball fell to Jogo who calmly finished very well to open the scoring at a great time again.
A small negative of a generally good half was that again we had lots of corners and again they were all crossed high into the box with little threat to score . We have to be more imaginative from corners.
As the second half started Yutaka came on for Sakata, which while it was bad to lose Sakata is a perfect role for Yutaka. He is experienced enough to go straight into a game and try to make a difference straight away.
Avispa looked more likely to score still, but the referee was being very fussy. At the back Hatamoto and Koga were looking good again, with Tokio in particular getting himself in front of attackers and tackling well when Oita looked dangerous.
Kim and Kihara came on and made the left wing look really dangerous for the first time all match and nearly got the winning goal as Kihara hit the bar with a long range deflected shot.
I understand that Naruoka might be the best technical player on the team, and does things which no-one else on the team can do, but we certainly looked much better balanced after he was replaced by Kihara.
The decision to play Kim ahead of Omata should be fairly straight forward.
The team would have wanted to win, and Jogo seemed pretty annoyed to have ‘lost 2 points’ on the MatchDay show but the performance was much improved and will hopefully be built on with our trip to tricky Tochigi.