Avispa 2 : 3 Gamba
39′ Leandro, 44′ Leandro, 59′ Kurata, 70′ Ishizu, 82′ Ishizu
The end result looks fairly close for Avispa, and at times during this game we did match the favorites for promotion, but were largely outclassed by players of a much higher calibre.
Avispa started with quite an adventurous team, with Jogo in midfield showing that we were going to try and attack Gamba. This seemed like a good idea to me as the strength of Gamba’s attack, and ability of the midfield to pick a pass meant that our defence were going to be unlikely to with-hold attacks for 90 minutes.
This proved correct very early in the game as a long ball through the middle found Koga and Park too far apart and allowed Leandro to run straight through the middle. Mizutani did well in goal, and then someone (Tsutsumi?) managed to run across and make a last ditch clearance. It was an early warning, and a chance I wouldn’t expect someone as lauded as Leandro to miss.
Leandro was the big threat before the match, and I wasn’t really very impressed with his pace, power or movement in the first half. This then worried me as if he doesn’t stand out in any of those areas then to have scored the goals he has it probably means he’s the sort of striker who somehow manages to score the majority of chances he does get.
This proved correct as late in the 2nd half he collected the ball on the outside of the box from Endo (the sort of position Avispa get into on lots of occasions and try to find 3-4 passes into the box) and curled a shot into the far corner. It looked easy, but the fact that no Avispa player would even attempt it showed that it isn’t.
He then repeated the feat 5 minutes later to pretty much kill the game 2-0 before half-time.
After again giving the ball away weakly in our own half it was played quickly and directly forward to Leandro who went straight at goal and expertly finished once more.
If Avispa had any chance of getting anything from the game it need a fast goal in the 2nd half, what happened was Gambe extended their lead to 3.
After again losing possession in their own half the ball was played out to the left wing where a cross into the box wasn’t dealt with by a defence who hadn’t had time to regroup. Bouncing across the box it was easily converted at the far post by Kurata.
I was worried before this game that Gamba would have the intelligence, skill and guile to break down the Avispa defence; we were now 3-0 down and they hadn’t been made to, rather quickly capitalised on our mistakes.
We seem to have a system in place which has no obvious plan of attack apart from pressing high and trying to punish mistakes. Unfortunately teams we play are often staying well organised and not pushing forward to risk making mistakes, while we are doing the exact thing we wnat the opposition to do.
The game looked over, and Gambe took their foot off the gas, but then Ishizu came on and made the Gamba fans nervous.
If there is one player in the Avispa squad who does shoot when anywhere near goal (as Leandro had done so effectively in the first half) it is Ishizu.
His mazy dribbles and style of shooting where he gets air-borne do look a little like someone doing a Messi impression, but when it works it is quite effective.
His first goal came after he got the ball in a central position and just let fly with a shot from well outside the box. The keeper would be dissappointed to be beaten at his near post, but it was a great strike, hit at pace and shows what can happen if you’re willing to have a go. Finding the 50cm inside the post was always going to get at least a corner, and in this case a great goal.
Avispa hadn’t given up, and they actually started playing the ball into the right channel which Jogo has been needing for the last 3 years. Running onto balls he was able to hit shots across goal and put crosses in.
Ishizu got another goal with a first assist for Mishima as he was given a ball on the edge of the box and again hit a shot early and just inside the post.
With balls into the channel and early shots from distance we were causing problems, and it isn’t from doing anything apart from what has been obvious for much of this season.
Unfortunately a full comeback in front of 14000 fans wasn’t to be, but noone could complain about the performance apart from a couple of poor decision in midfield which got punished badly.
My Man of the Match – Daisuke Ishizu
Only on the pitch as a second half substitute but got 2 goals doing exactly what we have needed this season in just having the confidence and responsibility to hit shots at goal.