Avispa 2 : 1 Giravanz
13′ Sakata (PK), 22′ Kanakubo, 51′ Fuji
It was nervy at the end but the stats for the Fukuoka derby now read: Played 5, Avispa 4 wins, Giranvanz 1 win, with a 100% record for Avispa at Level-5 stadium.
The game was a game of extremes. Avispa being very good, and really not so good in a match which started with warm sunshine and looked like the players might be called off the pitch in a torrential downpour of rain and ice in the 2nd half.
The team looked very similar to the last home game against Mito, with Jogo again playing in central midfield alongside Kanakubo and Nakahara, with Sakata, Ishizu and Kanemori playing as a fairly fluid attacking trident in front of them.
As with Mito we looked very good for long parts of the 1st half, but managed to convert attacking possession into chances this time to open up a 2 goal lead. It showed how things could have been different against Mito and Consadole; I thought we played better against those teams than we did here, but this match lead to 2 early goals.
The socring was nearly opened in the 10th minute as a corner was hit towards goal by Koga only to see the keeper push his shot away. Sakata was first to the ball but his shot smashed straight into the face of a guy on the line. It was pretty funny, but also a worrying indication that our luck might be out.
It didn’t seem to matter a few minutes later when Kanakubo slipped a ball for Kanemori to run onto into the box. It was exactly the pass he needs, turning defenders and able to run at goal. He knew exactly what he was doing to tip the ball past the keeper and collect the foul for a clear penalty.
Sakata cooly dispatched the penalty after sending the keeper the wrong way.
Things got even better 7 minutes later after the high press from Avispa attackers worked perfectly to collect the ball high up the pitch. Jogo intercepted and fed Kanemori on the left wing. He put in a great cross on the run which Ishizu managed to get a foot to with the ball looping towards Kanakubo near the penalty spot.
He hit it first time on the volley and gave the keeper no chance.
It seemed pretty clear after that that Pusnik wanted to kill the game and was asking the players to be sensible and not give up easy chances.
They had Mizutani to thank for a great block to maintain the 2 goal lead after Kitakyushu moved the ball into and across the box where one of their strikers looked sure to score.
It was really important to not allow Kitakyushu any momentum as the 2nd half started. If we could go 10 minutes without giving up a chance then the game was over.
Unfortunately we got caught out as we have 4-5 times this season. With the opposition pushing heavily forward in search of a goal a deep cross to the back post was powered in by a big attacker being too powerful and in a better position than our full-back.
It seems a clear problem at the moment and has cost us points against Mito, Sapporo and Kyoto.
As Kitakyushu got a boost from getting the early goal it started to absolutely pour down. I think this helped us a bit as it interupted the flow of the game quite a lot and made things a lot more scrappy.
I have to say I’ve lost all memory of a lot of this period of the game as I was concentrating on not freezing to death.
What I do remember is Osmar coming on and showing Pusnik exactly what he brings to the team. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy off the pitch, but on it he is an absolute nightmare for opposition players; the sort of player I’d hate on the opposite team, but love to see playing for Avispa.
He makes stuff happen with his power and pace, and his direct running at goal. He ended up picking up a yellow card when he was fouled, but can’t really argue as there were 3-4 times before he did get fouled where he could have been cautioned and wasn’t.
Avispa came very close to taking a 2 goal lead again. Firstly by the impressive Miyamoto cutting in and hitting a shot which whistled just past the post, and then with a shot by Kanakubo after more excellent work by Kanemori which was excellently stopped with an out-stretched hand by the Kitakyushu keeper.
As close as we came to scoring we came even closer to conceding an equaliser as Okada had to play Centre back after an injury to Tsutsumi.
More headers at the back post went just the wrong side of the post, a free-kick hit the outside of the post from just outside the area, and then 3 minutes into injury time Kitskyushu’s Korean substitute hit the inside of the post with a looping shot after a neat 1-2 on the edge of the box.
It was nervous, but we held on and the crowd went home wet but pleased.
My Man of the Match. – Kanemori
His best game for us. He has often shown great running and quick feet but today he had final product too.
He knew exactly what he was doing to get the penalty, and his cross for the second goal was fantastic. Nearly got another assist late on.
I still don’t think he can be relied upon to do it every week, but while he is hot the team should be making the most of it.
Official Man of the Match – Jun Kanakubo
Ran after everything and his late runs into the box were a constant threat. Set piece delivery was much better than it has been, apart from one over-ambitious shot in the second half where he seemed to be trying to get crazy dip a la Ronaldo/Bale.