Roasso Kumamoto 1 – 1 Avispa Fukuoka
63′ Ishizu, 94′ Some Roasso player.
This game was like a synopsis for our season, we can watch the tape back and give us a real kick to show what needs to change for a push to the play-offs next season.
We started the game with an unchanged team from last week, and started quite brightly after the good victory against promotion chasing Tokushima.
Kumamoto were poor, but we were holding the ball well and moving it around the pitch in search of what seemed like a due goal.
It could have come mid-way through the first half as the busy Kanemori ran onto a ball on the right side of the box only to be brought down by the lager Kumamoto defender.
I had been worried upon seeing the referee as I remembered him being awful last time we had him officiating, and he was pretty bad here too. Presumably he thought that it was a dive, there was no tackle made, but didn’t book the Avispa player for diving, and also didn’t give the penalty.
It’s hard to know what to make of Japanese refereeing sometimes. I thought it looked like a penalty.
The game then changed as Kanakubo Jun took a heavy tackle after quickly pressing and dispossessing a Kumamoto midfielder on halfway. The Kumamoto player knew he had to put in a professional foul to stop the attack and just accept the yellow card, but then mysteriously the referee didn’t book him for what was a cynical, attack stopping tackle about 20cm off the pitch.
Kanakubo had to come off, and with Funayama coming on in his place we lost control of the game.
With 2 very dubious decisions Pusnik wasn’t in the best mood, but the referee decided he still wanted to be centre-stage by stopping the game to come across and tell him to stop shouting. He was sat on the bench and clearly quite mystified by the treatment that referees have been handing out to him and his team since arriving in Japan.
It certainly seems like quite a few of these referees like to get their photos in the newspaper and be seen as tough, and arguing with a foreigner is a good way to get noticed.
Kumamoto started to hold the ball but both teams were lacking in the quality to really make anything. Kumamoto were at least quite near our box; we were having trouble getting out of our own half.
Funayama really isn’t mobile enough to play in a midfield role, but he does have some quality from set-pieces. With very close guidance from Pusnik he got a ball up and down very quickly and onto Sakata’s head at the near post where he was able to glance it on to open the scoring.
I thought that we may then be able to exploit the space behind Kumamoto as they chased a goal, especially after Punosevac came on, but it didn’t really work out like that.
Punosevac has been a bit disappointing in recent games, you’d think he would be pulling trees up to try and get a contract, but is still yet to score in a league game.
As Kitajima came on for an emotional farewell game Kumamoto piled forward in search of the equaliser, and as has happened so many times before we conceded after the 90 minutes were up.
It was a scrappy goal, and not entirely legitimate, but also doesn’t really matter at this stage of the season unless we don’t learn from it and do all we can to get the players who are going to be mentally stronger to deal with holding onto a lead next season.
The referee had one last chance to influence the game as Ishizu was obviously fouled right on the edge of the Kumamoto box only for play to be waved on.