Avispa 2 : 1 Gifu
66′ Sakata (pen), 67′ Tanaka, 85′ Nishida
I’d been saying in the match report against Toyama that we had been on the rough end of a few refereeing decisions this season, but definitely felt we got a few in our favour in this match.
In the preview I’d been saying that Gifu would probably be a bit of an easier match than we’d had in the last month, but it turned out to be anything but. Gifu have been something of a bogey team for us (I’ve never seen us beat them; and still haven’t due to missing this game for Sports Day), and they more than held their own in the first half.
They were set up with 3 at the back (which we have struggled with this year), and I was actually quite impressed with Desmond being quite dynamic in the middle of it. They came closest to scoring in the first half as a corner was headed into the ground and was headed at the top corner but Miyamoto was well placed to head clear.
Pusnik was clearly not happy, and made what I hope isn’t going to turn into a habit by giving 19 year old Kanemori a public dressing down by substituting him after 42 minutes. The attack hadn’t been linking with midfield at all, but he could have kept him on until half-time if he wasn’t happy, but chose to publicly embarrass a 19 year old kid in his rookie season when no-one ever expected him to be doing as well as he has.
He was shouting “What are you doing? What are you doing?”, with the general idea being that he wasn’t happy with him trying to dribble in the wrong places, but I’m of the opinion that you don’t do this in public. I hope that in time Pusnik is proved to have a better idea on what is better to deal with Kanemori than I.
In the second half Ishizu started to have more impact than his ineffective first half, pulling a foul from the Gifu #23 as they jumped for the ball together and he collected an arm in the face in an action which would later have a big impact on the game.
Sakata was playing well in his first game as Captain in his career, but at times looked to be doing too much (if that is possible!). He needs to be playing as the constant goal-threat in my opinion, but was often dropping back and trying to get the ball from deeper. Great for the team, but then leaving us a little anaemic in attack.
After 57′ the #23 for Gifu (Moriyasu) made another fairly reckless challenge as he caught Funeyama a bit late, and a bit from behind and got himself sent off. Both yellow cards could have been deemed yellow, but picking up 2 ‘could be’ yellow cards to get sent off was a bit rough on Gifu in my opinion.
To get an opposing viewpoint of the game have a look at the “We are Gifu” site, whose author seems to be very gracious about the decisions.We are Gifu
The emphasis was then on Avispa to attack, and it was again Ishizu in the middle of things. Picking the ball up 10m outside the box he dribbled direct at goal (with the sort of directness he gives us and we often need) and ended up going down just inside the box after riding a couple of challenges.
I think the forward who fouled him was probably trying to foul him outside the box, but Ishizu did well to get just over the line before taking a fall. Again it was a decision which Gifu fans couldn’t really complain about, but after getting 2 maybe calls for the sending off it was a 3rd for a penalty.
Sakata scored with ease from the spot.
As has happened a few times this season we then conceded within 2 minutes. It must drive Pusnik crazy that having settled upon this Counter-Attack type strategy where you are trying to get your goal to protect, the team cannot hold a lead for longer than 5 minutes.
Gifu piled forward with their 10 men and a header back towards the box from a second ball dissected perfectly between centre-back and Omata to play through the Gifu right-back who had taken a punt on staying forward after a Gifu free-kick.
The Avispa players seemed to know that drawing against 10-man Gifu was not going to be taken well by anyone and started to really pile forward, to the extent that we were very lucky not to get caught out.
After a 20-30 pass move to get near the Gifu box they dispossed us on the egde of the box and played a 2 pass move to leave their forward able to cut onto his left foot inside the box, and should have finished rather than hitting Tsutsumi covering back.
Fortunately for us we got a corner from one of our attacks and an Omata corner was forced home by Nishida rising over a couple of Gifu defenders.
He’s been due a goal, and clearly loves the game, I just wish he was a little bit better at football.
There was enough time for Avispa to be on the end of another favorable refereeing decision as Desmond piled forward as a make-shift striker and looked to have a good shout for a hand-ball when heading in on goal on the edge of the box, but it just wasn’t Gifu’s day.
My Man of the Match – Daisuke Sakata
Didn’t get the hattrick I wanted, but did put himself all over the pitch in a real Captain’s performance.
It did need a second striker to lead the line at times he was doing it, but maybe that’s a job for Osmar.