Avispa face the 2nd of 3 promotion chasing teams in a row (Ventforet-Oita-Kyoto) by making the short trip across Kyushu to Oita.
It is a game which the Oita players are going to care a lot more than the Avispa players as they try to hold onto the play-off place they have held for most of the season.
Avispa need to be content with their battle with Ehime to see who can secure 17th place.
These games have been quite close in recent years, with few goals and several draws, but I expect to see Oita testing the troubled Avispa defence cheered on by a crowd wanting their return to J1.
Oita should provide something of a role-model to Avispa, with their own relegation from J1 being followed by a couple of poor years before this season’s return to some form.
I hope the Avispa management see it was faith shown in young hungry players, being able to build a team together which seems to have helped them rather than 34 year old J1 imports.
Maeda has shown that he wants to just keep on turning out his senior players in spite of them being on loan and about to return to their parent club. Expect to see on loan Okada come in for suspended Sueyoshi in central midfield, on loan Tsutsumi walking around in an area roughly where a right-back would usually play, and possibly on loan Omata coming back into the side for a scape-goated Kim Minje.
Osmar and Sakata to start up front, and Ishizu to stay as a starting member.
No suspensions for Oita as they chase a win which would put one foot into a guaranteed play-off spot.
I’ve been impressed with their big striker #20 (Morishima?) for several years, and expect him to dominate the battle-scarred Avispa central 2.
Oita 1 – 0 Avispa
The game means just too much for the Oita players, and while Avispa may have a better game than for most of this season, they won’t be able to match the intensity.