Avispa 0 : 1 Matsumoto
I’m a bit late writing the report this week with work being busy around Golden Week, but to find out how we played you could just read the previous reports from Consadole or Mito; it was basically exactly the same game.
We dominated periods of the first half as much as at any point this season, but seemed to be trying to walk the ball into the net at times, or expecting the Yamaga defence to open up and allow someone to take 3 touches in the box.
Playing against a team like Yamaga at home we should know that they are going to defend deep and have a plan to deal with this which doesn’t involve the opposition losing the ball high up on the pitch and letting us run into the space behind.
There were so many opportunities when it just needed someone to take responsibility and shoot. Whether they scored, got a deflection, the keeper made a save, whatever; it would at least tell the defence that maybe they can’t sit on the edge of the box and try to cut out the final ball.
With all our possession we only really had 2 decent shots on goal. One from Nakahara which could have easily squeezed past the keeper, and a double shot from Kanakubo/Sakata which was blocked well.
There was a very good shout for a penalty after Kanakubo was brought down, but apart from that Yamaga managed to block all our attempted crosses for corners, and we haven’t looked like scoring from one of those since Nakamachi left the club.
As in the game against Consadole we then got caught out by a sucker-punch from Yamaga. A long ball was poorly cleared for a throw-in in an attacking position which once again was knocked across goal and headed in near the far post almost totally unopposed.
The Avispa players appealed for off-side, and it was so easy to score I assumed it must be, but watching the replay back now it was nowhere near off, just terrible, naive defending.
Coming before half-time we did at least have a half to try and equalise and then score, which looking at how we had held the ball in the 1st half wasn’t impossible.
Unfortunately Yamaga were able to sit even deeper and we just didn’t have any real plan to break them down.
The easiest ball for a half-decent defender (which Yamaga undoubtably have) to deal with is one right in front of them (if you need evidence of this just watch Kazuki, he can clear balls coming straight at him and stop 1-on-1s all day). We ran straight at defenders, and hoped to get a shot from 6 yards out when they were keeping 7-8 players back at all times.
There were a couple of chances, and Miyamoto was once again our best player but it ended up being more likely that Yamaga would score as they could counter us again as we pushed forward.
A special mention should go to Nishida Go who has actually looked quite good in short spells this season. He was absolutely terrible when he came on in this game and pretty much killed any chance we had to mount any serious attack.
My man of the Match – Miyamoto
I think I’ve said the same about 4-5 times so far this season, but he really has been very good in attack and defence.
He looked like he might be injured at one point in this game, and that would be a real worry for Avispa with no real back-up option, and as our best player.