Avispa 1 : 2 Kyoto
Before any sort of report on the match I want to give an unadulterated thank-you to Marijan Pusnik. He has come in and added some positivitity around the whole club, but beyond that he has changed the whole philosophy of the club by being around the fans, being there for the fans, and generally introducing a level of professionalism to the position of manager which has previously been missing. He doesn’t need to do a lot of the pre-match routines that he does; but shouldn’t be under any illusions that the fans don’t notice.
Beyond his pre-match pleasantries he also sprung a surprise in putting Okada at left-back and Park Gun in midfield, with Tsutsumi substituting for Koga in central defence. It was 2 players missing I had expected, but with difeerent personnel.
It meant we had we had a fluid front 3 of jogo-Ishizu-Kanemori up front which almost reduced me to tears in the first half after weathering an intial storm by Kyoto saw us take the lead from a right wing ball across the box for Ishizu to slide into the bottom corner.
It was very difficult to see what formation we were playing, which I mean as a huge compliment, with an attacking trident who could not let the defence settle.
If after 40 minutes you had told a European scout to take a plyer home with him he woule have no choice but to take Kanemori, who despite Kubo being a constant threat was the game’s stand out player.
Unfortunately with Avispa exerting more and more control on the game they got hit by a goal from nothing as a ball from midfield reached the edge of the box and was scored just before half-time. I’m pretty sure it took a defelection off a defender, but haven’t watched a replay so don’t know.
Going in to the 2nd half there was only one team in the game, but 2 substitutuions at half time seemed a little rash (after complaining of not enough substititutions last year). Park Gun was obscenely good in midfield, playing balls into space while also giving players a really good kick.
Just as it seemed a debate on whether we would win 1-0 or 2-0 the referee changed the whole game. With Kubo having gone off and Kyoto looking to settle for a draw a though ball was cleared by Tsutsumi and bizarrely called as a foul by the referee. Not just called as a foul but a red card for a clean tackle outside the box.
Avispa held on well with 10 men against 11, with Hatamoto in particular coming on and performing heroics against a team who should have been in J1 2 years ago.
Just as it looked like we’d get a 1:1 draw to be proud of a ball into the box was headed in by someone to get an undeserved win for Kyoto.
The battle may have bee won for todaybut Avispa are clearly in place to win the war.
My Man of the Match – Kazuki Yamaguchi
I’ve given him some stick in the past but today he was immense. If he is told to just worry about getting his head, leg, body, knee, anything, onto the ball he can stop any player in the division.