Avispa Fukuoka 2 : 0 Fagiano Okayama
11′ Kanamori, 17′ Mishima.
There has been something of an optimistic feeling at Level-5 stadium in recent weeks in spite of some fairly poor performances on the pitch. After publicizing our financial problems the fans have got behind the club and are starting to look for positives rather than being disappointed about missing out on promotion.
There were plenty of things to be positive about in this game.
We played a 4231 formation with Punosevac usually as the furthest forward, but with Sakata, Ishizu and Kanamori able to drift between the different positions in the fluid attack we have been working on this season.
Jogo came back to play in what I’m guessing will be his last match for the club, and will have a better last memory than being injured in a poor defeat by Toyama.
With Jogo and Nakahara both filling the space in midfield we were able to take possession of the ball and had players with enough technical ability to play a short passing game through the middle. After 10 minutes we scored what I think is probably the goal of the season as Sakata picked out Kanamori on the edge of the box who worked a very nice 1-2 with a clever flicked pass by the tall Serbian with Kanamori finishing well.
Having watched Ishizu refuse to pass the ball for an hour against Ehime I hope he goes away and watches this goal to see that maybe it is a good idea to sometimes try to pass.
Having scored that really good goal we nearly did it again with another quick passing move which ended after Sakata’s back-heel picked out Punosevac but his final ball into the box was poor.
Fagiano weren’t really troubling us very much in attack, and their #25 in particular was being totally schooled by Mishima who has really made the right-back position his own this season. He ended up scoring what was a fairly fortuitous goal when his cross into the box ended up sailing into the top corner, but to get into the crossing position he had made an excellent run with about 8 step-overs.
So we were 2 -0 up with both goals scored by 19 year olds who would have been unlikely to get a game if it had been any of our previous managers.
We continued to make a few chances, and were solid at the back for the most part. Oh Chan Hyon did his best to try and score a 3rd contender for goal of the season in the match as he ran from his own half and shot from 25 yards, but his shot went well over. He should have passed but having got as close to goal as he did single-handedly he deserved the chance to score a wonder-goal.
As we went into the second half we continued to make chances, but again Ishizu was failing to pass to others in really good positions. It is hard to criticize him after the goals he has scored this season, but he has certainly got a bit too greedy in recent months which in turn can lead to other players not passing thinking that if he doesn’t pass to them why should they pass either when they can shoot.
Oh Chan Hyon and Tsutsumi were doing well in defence and Kamiyama made a very good diving save towards the end to maintain a clean sheet.
It may have been a fairly meaningless last game of the season but with 10 minutes to go you could see the players were trying to practice seeing a game out with a clean sheet.
We’ve finished the season with a win, the team which started this match is probably most of the players who will be at the club next season with the exception of Jogo who was definitely giving the impression of someone playing his last game and saying good-bye.
The players who weren’t involved will probably be on the way out, but there was enough on show here to encourage that we might be able to push for 6th place next season.