Avispa 1 : 2 Oita
Another Kyushu derby and another disappointing defeat for Avispa as Oita came back from being a goal down at half-time to end up as the losing side again.
It means that they will head to Okayama in 5th place with the other 4 Kyushu clubs all in the top 10. They really need to turn things around or are in danger of slipping into a nagetive mindset which will be very hard to come out of.
There were signs in this game that they had corrected some of the problems seen in previous games of this season. The team looked much better balanced with Takeda adding some bite to the midfield.
The strategy was easy with Jogo and Sakata both trying to makes runs off the shoulders of defenders and try to run onto balls played into the space behind the back-line. They were assisted by Sakai and Ishizu buzzing around on the wings, and we looked by far the better team.
Jogo and Sakata had each tried to make a run against Kitakyushu, but then seemed to give up after not being spotted. They can’t expect to be seen every time, and in this game they continued with the plan after not receiving the ball a couple of times and it was looking like the team had a plan.
Their work was rewarded after 5 just 5 minutes as Jogo ran onto a ball played into the left-channel and his ball was pulled back for Ishizu on the penalty spot to sweep home.
Takeda was doing lots of running in midfield, but was also a little nervous. He was doing the difficult things well making runs from deep which were hurting the defence as no-one was tracking him, and making important tackles and interceptions in defence, but then making silly mistakes with the ‘easy’ things being caught in possession and passing to the opposition.
There was still enough to show that this was a much better team for having him in it, and regardless of the final result they just needed confidence and playing time.
I would change very little for the team against Okayama, but Lee Kwang Seon is back from suspension and should go back into the team. There may be a question about where to put him because I though Park was the best player on the pitch in the first half, getting to head to balls played forwards and making strong tackles in good places. Tsutsumi wasn’t doing badly at that time either and with Nakahara able to relax a little with Takeda’s legs alongside him Oita didn’t have a shot on target in the half.
We still needed to try and get a second to reward the team for their work and should have had one after 30 minutes as again we had a clear handball in the penalty area waved away by the referee.
The referee would have a bigger impact and totally change the game in the second half.
On a rare Oita attack they had a set-piece to deliver in from the right. Oita have a tall team, and Shimizu doesn’t really inspire confidence in these situations but we just needed to stay concentrating.
As the ball was delivered low to the near post a player went down at the back post as he tangled with Park and the referee some how gave a penalty. Shimizu looked tiny as he faced the penalty and we duly conceded.
The officials would have yet more influence on the game as firstly the linesman flagged for off-side as Ishizu ran on goal from a position of being at least level, and then flagged again as a ball over the top had Sakata run onto it from well behind the final defender, but the linesman deemed that Ishizu was again off-side even though he never got within 5m of the ball let alone touch it.
The Avispa player do not have the mental strength to deal with obstacles like this and lost everything which had made them look so strong in the first half.
Oita were buoyed by the Avispa players visibly panicking and went down the opposite end and scored what would turn out to be the winning goal as their striker turned and hit a cross on the volley which smashed against the underside of the bar in a central position and bounced down and into to goal.
Avispa piled forward in search of an equaliser but didn’t really ever look like they thought they could score despite being the better team for nearly all the game up to that point.
The referee had again had the chance to show how utterly incompetent he is as we had a good chance for a last minute penalty as Mishima went down in the box (Mishima again showed he couldn’t tackle and has to play to cut into the box until he has sorted this problem out) but the referee didn’t take the opportunity to make up for his earlier decision.