Avispa 1 : 1 Ehime
This game was bordering on unwatchable.
Avispa didn’t play well, and possibly didn’t deserve to take 3 points from the game based on their performance, but through the actions of the referee (三上 正一郎) I just didn’t care by the end of the match.
In the last 10 minutes Avispa had good chances to take the points as first Morimura and then Hirai somehow didn’t manage to beat the keeper from about 2m outside the right post after shots were fired in from outside the area, and Ehime could have stolen the win with a couple of crosses from the right wing which were either missed or headed straight at Kamiyama, but it didn’t really feel like I was watching a football match by that point.
The J-League are desperately trying to build their product and sell it to overseas markets in SE Asia and beyond, but are quickly losing any product left to sell by the actions of their referees.
People talk about how the quality of the game is low due to a lack of goal-keepers, or goal-scorers, or ability to keep the better players from going to Europe. The biggest issue for the League right now is a total lack of referees.
By the end of this match it didn’t matter who won the game as it was going to be determined entirely by who the referee allowed to win the game.
I couldn’t applaud good tackles because there was a 50% chance they would be called a foul regardless of what actually happened.
Players couldn’t attack with any confidence because they never knew when the referee was going to blow for an unknown foul, or more often in this game not give fouls when players were hacked down.
There were times when players got fouled (such as Mishima just outside our box after 75 minutes) but got penalised against, there was a clear hand-ball in the box, the ball whistled out of play when it didn’t go near.
It was totally impossible to play the game, and just as hard to watch. All games run on both teams knowing the rules and trying their best to win under that set of rules; the referee in this game was making up his own set of rules.
This seems to be happening a lot to Avispa over the last 12 months and we need to find out why. Last season the players had a mental weakness going into the last 5 minutes of games and lost games they had previously been winning. We are now headed to a situation where the players get it into their heads that the referee is against them and there is no way they can win the game any more.
The reality is that even with a car crash of a referee we should have been 3-0 up after 30 minutes against what was an awful Ehime team.
We started the game in a similar manner to that against Kyoto with the game being played in the Ehime half and quick passes trying to slide one of out capable attackers through on goal.
After first seeing a header from Sakata flash just past the post from an Ishizu cross from the right, and then a wonderstrike from Abe who hit a bullet shot against the far post from outside the box we took the lead which had been coming.
Punosevac had stayed in the team despite the pressure from Hirai scoring last weekend and showed why as he hassled the defenders into giving up possession just outside the box. Ishizu took the ball on and burst into the box where he could easily slide a pass across to Jogo on the penalty spot to hit first time and score.
It looked like we might have the straight forward victory I had been anticipating as we made a couple more chances and Ehime struggled to do much beyond slice balls into touch and over-hit crosses.
Unfortunately we then seemed to regress back into how we had played for large parts of last year as Nakahara came back into our half and the defenders tried to pass their way out and up the middle. It is a tactic which would be great if it worked, I’m sure every manager and set of fans want to watch Barcelona every week, unfortunately our players are shit and can’t do it.
We repeatedly gave away possession as balls were picked off as we tried to move the ball forward from defence to midfield. The problem being that as our midfield dropped back to help get the ball to midfield we didn’t have any midfield, and their was next to no movement ahead of them.
On one of these time when Ehime got the ball they came forward quickly down the left, bustled past Mishima and put a cross into the middle towards the tall striker Watanabe who was being given a start, presumably after destroying us in about 20 minutes at the end of a game last season.
He is basically just a big lump of a guy, but he bullied our defenders as he did before in this game, and here just seemed to get in the way a bit with no defenders of keeper coming to the ball to clear as it fell down in the middle of the box. Somehow the Ehime centre-back had come forward into the box and was quicker to the ball than any of out defenders watching it and smashed it into the goal for the equaliser.
The referee then took over and I pretty much lost interest in the game, it just seemed like a waste of an afternoon. I’m just spending 3 hours watching the game; I can’t imagine how Pusnik feels having spent a week getting ready for the game just to have it ruined by one referee who is incompetent to the point of idiocy.