Yokohama FC 0 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka
There were a few surprises in the starting line-up for this game as Pusnik rotated his squad, presumably with one eye on the tough game against Gamba next week and due to having played only 3 days ago in what are now quite warm conditions.
Nishida came in to face his old club, and Kanemori started in place of Mishima, with Osmar completing a total change to the front 3. Tsutsumi continues to show his versatility by playing at right-back, with Omata returning at left-back after injury.
Despite all the changes Avispa looked good in the first half, with the defence and midfield solid and allowi ng the front 3 to chase down everything in front of them. It looked like the referee might lose control of the game at one point, with Kazu Miura showing that at age 48 he is still capable of refereeing a game as well as playing. As soon as. I saw Kazu was playing I was hopeful of a victory; a team in J2 cant realistically expect to carry someone his age regardless of the occasional good touches he brings.
Avispa have won numerous corners in every game this season without ever looking dangerous from them. This game had a big difference in that we had about 3 in a row which there was some danger from, including one which was won after Kanemori had won the ball at the byline and crossed back for Nishida to ‘dummy’ (read air-shot) and Funeyama to smash against the bar with a slight deflection.
The resulting corner was recycled back to Nakahara on the left who hit a shot towards goal where Tsutsumi still up from the cormer could expertly touch into the near post. It showed the benefit of taking shots on goal. Whether being deflected, blocked, diverted, or even scored, there have been too many occasions this season when we havent even made the keeper worry about a shot.
It wasTsutsumi’s first goal for the club, and thoroughly deserved for his performances in a variety of positions which have probably made him my player of the season so far.
Pusnik made a couple of changes in the second half, and the team started to look a little stronger on paper, but less effective on the pitch. I think it was as much to do with Yokohama substituting Kazu, as our changes.
With the home crowd behind them Yokohama started toi play with more energy, and were all set to equalise on 2-3 different times. Chances again cameat the back post after crosses from the wing and corners, but tbey didnt have the skill to ever really test Mizutani who was again solid throughout. The only time Mizutani missed a. Cross it ended up goi ng right across goal to substitute Nagai who sent it along the 6 yard box where no Yokohama player met it for a simple finish.
Mizutani is making at least 1 amazing save a game at the moment,and so he did again today by getting a handto a back post header which deflected theball onto the post and behind.
Avispa were really making nothing in attack at the other end, and coukd have been punished more in injury time by again not being ‘streetwise’ enough with a minute left to play. After already giving lossession up easily fromgoal kicks they won a throw in deep in the Yokohama half which should have signalled the en of the match. Instead of holding the ball they gave the ball straight back with an ill advised attack. They got away with a couple of things today, but need to learn from it for the match against Gamba next week.
My Man of the Match : Tsutsumi.
Scored the winning goal, but was again totally calm and solid defence playing in his 5th different position of the season so far.