Avispa 1 : 3 Tokushima Vortis
As I’d said in my preview it was likely to be the defence of Avispa which was under big scrutiny in this game as Koga was out suspended, and he has pretty much single-handedly organised our defence in the last 2 months.
Him being out of the team meant that Kobara was back as the most experienced defender and he isn’t capable of playing and organising, and seems to make horrible mistakes when he is asked to do so. Added to this was the bizarre decision to move Tsutsumi to centre-back.
Tsutsumi is someone who has shown he can make a good diagonal pass, but has absolutely no idea about positioning at all. To put him alongside Kobara who can’t concentrate on his own game and organise others is madness.
It becomes even more crazy when you think back to the away game where Hatamoto had Diego in his pocket all game but was only on the bench here.
Dieogo was playing quite well as a target man holding the ball up. Nothing special, but with Douglas and the left winger alongside him was finding a team-mate about half the time which is an improvment from when I’ve seen him before. On his return to the team Wada was having a terrible game and Tokushima were attacking down the left at will.
In attack Avispa were probably looking the better team, and certainly creating more shots on goal, but it was all fairly predictable as everything was going through Kim Minje at left-back.
He is our best player by a mile in the last couple of games, and must wonder what his team-mates are doing at times as he is able to continuously break forward, put crosses into the box, but then watch as the other 9 outfield players don’t seem to be able to string 3 passes together.
With Koga out of the team we were always going to struggle at corners and it was back to how things were in May as Tokushima took the lead. A decent save from Douglas on the left led to a corner which was swung towards the middle of the area.
Kobara and Tsutsumi were nowhere and Yutaka was ball watching as Tokushima’s right-back met the ball to easily score.
Avispa kept looking to try and attack down the left, despite Naruoka almost never being there. On the one time he did stay in position he was able to drive into the box and went down quite softly as 3 defenders tried to tackle him.
It didn’t look like the clearest penalty ever, but it showed what happens when you get into the box; something Avispa do so rarely. Sakata calmly took a decent penalty into the corner.
The flow of play suggested that Avispa should be favorites to go on and win the game, but Naruoka went off injured at half-time. Ishizu has done well recently and it wasn’t something which I thought would slow us down, in fact he would be more likely to stay in position so I thought it could be a positive change.
Unfortunately our defence again let us down as Tokushima scored with an easy counter. Again attacking down the left a cross was easily delivered to the middle of the box where Diego had time to take the ball down and side-foot past Kamiyama. He can’t have had many easier afternoons than the amount of time and space he was being given by Avispa today.
Avispa needed to change things. Wada had to come off, we needed some impetus in attack, but looking at the bench we had nothing. Nishida has never changed anything when he has come on, Miyaji is hopeless, Sueyoshi and Hatamoto wold have been improvements on Tsutsumi and Suzuki but not game-changers.
We have skilful, young players at the club and weren’t even listing 7 substitutes. Players like Oh, Ushinohama, Masato; they can do things in attack. Samir must be able to do something, he’s not really been given the chance to prove what yet but his agent’s video shows him running at goal, why did we have none of these players on the bench?
As Avispa attacked, and came very close to scoring a couple of goals (the Tokushima keeper pulled off some amazing instainct saves late on) Tokushima made the game safe with another breakaway goal through the middle.
Kamiyama got a hand to a shot one-on-one, but it crept past him into the goal. He had earlier been very lucky to avoid conceding a crazy goal as he took too long on the ball and had has clearance blocked onto the bar, in what was his worst performance of a good season.
I think the time has come to change manager, and change targets for the season. Bring in young players for experience and to see if they can perform at this level for a real stab at promotion next season with a young hungry team.