JEF United 2 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka
No-one can be that surprised by this result, we’ve played and lost to much worse teams than JEF in the last couple of weeks and despite them going on a fairly poor run of form it was always likely we would lose this one.
As it happened we didn’t play too badly here, and could have easily taken the lead twice in the first half. Firstly after Osmar pounced on a bad mistake by a JEF defender and ran 1-on-1 with the goal-keeper for what really should have been a goal. He was entitled to shoot, rather than square it to Sakata, but as with his chances against Kitakyushu he seemed to panic a little and hit softly at the keeper.
JEF were creating some changces at the other end where Kawata had been brought in for his first start in goal. I’m not entirely sure why, but I guess he deserves a chance.
JEF’s best chance of the half was blocked by him, and then by Kazuki who is returning to fitness and made several good blocks during the match. He isn’t the fastest, or most cultured defender, but he is brave and manages to get in front of lots of shots.
Going into half-time at 0-0 it hadn’t been a very exciting game, but with Fujita gone off injured and few shots on goal it looked like Avispa might be able to get something from the game.
Unfortunately they conceded early in the second half when the JEF midfield had space and time to slip a through ball to Yusuke who was brought down on the edge of the area by another desperate, diving challenge from Kazuki. I’m not sure if it was a foul, but Hyodo for JEF didn’t worry about that curling a good free-kick into the far corner.
A goal down away from home it was pretty much the end of the game for Avispa, and against a team which didn’t need to make space and attack they never looked much like scoring.
JEF managed to embarrass the Avispa defence with a short passing move from the right-wing which passed around about 5 Avispa defenders inside the penalty box and allowed their attacker to easily guide the ball into the far corner.
BY this stage Maeda made his characteristic substitutions, and obviously we scored. I don’t know what it will take for him to see that some of the players on the bench should be playing, but Ishizu and Kihara have scored or made pretty much all of our goals this season apart from the ones by Jogo’s individual brilliance or when Sakata was good at the start of the season.
Here it was a clever pass across the edge of the box from Ishizu which Kihara ran onto and calmly shot across the keeper. If he hadn’t of scored himself Osmar was there to knock in any rebound.
It was exactly the sort of goal we should be looking to score rather than putting deep crosses into the box for 2 strikers who aren’t very good at heading.
It turned out to just be a consolation goal as JEF easily held on to take all 3 points.