Yamagata 3 : 1 Avispa
For a long period of this game it didn’t seem totally unrealistic that Avispa might be abole to get at least a point as our midfield was sort of matching theirs, and for much of the first half we looked more like scoring than them.
There were no obvious clear chances for us, but with some neat passing the ball was getting into fairly dangerous areas, and with the hope that Sakata might regain his early season form there was always a hope that possession might be turned into goals.
In defence we looked much better than against Tokushima as Hatamoto came back in and did well alongside Koga, but were offering sporadic chances from crosses into the box which Yamagata were being surprisingly poor at converting into goals.
Just as it seemed we should make it to half-time at 0-0 kamiyama dropped his first howler of the season as he stretched too far for a high ball into the box and dropped it over his head and behind him for a Yamagata striker to convert from about 1m out.
It was the worst possible end to the half and pretty much ended the game as a contest. Away from home against Yamagata, with our best striker out of form and Yutaka gone off injured to be replaced by the goal-shy Nishida it didn’t seem likely we could do anything.
Trying to chase the game going into the 2nd half we were caught by a team who understand that by playing the ball fast and into space, before driving into the box from areas where you can’t really be tackled for fear of giving away free-kicks and penalties will always cause problems. As more space opened up Yamagata scored 2 more quick goals, both from players going past defenders in dangerous places and low crosses forced home.
Avispa didn’t give up and having Kihara and Iishizu on the bench to add some pace and directness even got a goal back. It was a pretty poor goal as a shot got deflected to edge past the keeper, but showed that when you get near the box and shoot then things tend to happen.
We don’t need to be scoring goal of the season after a 35 pass move every game, in fact it is more important we know how to score bread and butter goals every game before trying to be Japan’s answer to the Spanish National team.