Gainare Tottori 0 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
The best thing that could be said for this game was that it was lucky to not be chosen as one of the TV-games.
To be fair to both teams it was being played in fairly terrible conditions, including hail after about 50 minutes, but that isn’t really enough of an excuse for the really poor standard of football from both clubs.
Avispa looked like they were playing for a draw from their initial line-up with Okada and Tsutsumi in front of midfield anchor Nakahara. It didn’t really matter that we had 3 players ahead of them, those 3 wouldn’t be able to play a pass out to them or find a way past the 5 man Tottori midfield.
It did mean we were sounder in defence, and the game went 37 minutes before either team had a shot on goal.
We were getting the ball out to the wings in dangerous spot, but more often than not having crosses blocked by the first man for corners. We’ve been totally toothless from corners since Nakamachi left the club, and so it was again today with Okada in particular floating in crosses from the right which seemed more like goal-keeping practice than attempts on goal.
Our 1 shot on goal came from Tsutsumi who hit a tame shot from the back-left of the box after the ball bounced out to him in space.
I didn’t really understand the game-plan in that we were playing a game in the pouring rain, with horrible swirling wind but no-one was taking a shot from 25 yards to see how their keeper would cope with a slippery ball.
Having said that I’m not sure who I would expect to hit that shot from the players on the pitch. Kanakubo and Funayama have both got a great shot, but were both sat on the bench. I’m not sure if Okada has ever had a shot in his career, and every shot I’ve ever seen from Nakahara has gone 30 yards over the bar.
The second half started with the frustrating decision to move Okada to left-back and take Min Je off. I can see why he wanted Kanakubo on, but why take off one of our only attacking outlets to do so, unless it is solely to try and keep the Captain on the pitch.
If anything we got worse after the change. There still seems to be a fascination with playing balls out short in defence. Our players aren’t good enough to build like this at the best of times, but in the middle of a hail-storm it was asking for someone to make a mistake and just invited Gainare forward.
I’m wondering if that is the idea. As a team which is now trying to counter do we need the other team to attack us before we can attack them?
Koga came back in at Centre-back and had Kazuki to thank for a couple of horrible mistakes, and the Gainare attackers to thank for some fairly terrible finishing when balls came across the box and weren’t met by attackers.
Okada was being tied up over and over again at left-back, and Gainare hit the post after one of these attacks.
Funayama and Sakata came on after 60 minutes but nothing changed apart from Tsutsumi then looking like he didn’t know where he was supposed to be playing. I’m not surprised, I couldn’t really see what the plan was at that point and it would have been his 3rd position in less than 90 minutes of football.
After 75 minutes one of the Gainare players (Tanaka) finally realised that it might be a good idea to try a shot at goal, and was unlucky to see a swerving, dipping shot hit the cross-bar from about 25 yards with Mizutani totally beaten.
This was the worst performance of the season for me, we looked totally out of ideas with balls being played straight to Gainare players after being passed around 5-6 times in defence.
My Man of the Match – Kazuki Yamaguchi
No-one did well, but we did keep a clean sheet for the first time since Tokyo Verdy.
Kazuki did most to cause this, clearing up after a couple of mistakes by Koga.
There was an after-match interview with Pusnik where he showed that he was less than happy with the result and performance.
Interviewer : Can you give your assessment of today’s match?
Pusnik : I’m very unsatisfied with the performance of my boys today.We didn’t play good. We didn’t abide to an agreement we made before the game. We must do the things which we do in training. For some of the players that is too much. We must correct many mistakes. Congratulations to the home-team for their point.
Interviewer : You now have 7 points from 7 matches, can you give your assessment on that?
Pusnik : We have 8 points. I’m not satisfied.
Interviewer : Can you tell me your expectation on the next match?
Pusnik : We’ll win normally.