Kyoto Sanga 3 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka
Coming off the back of promotion form in June we continued our run of difficult matches in July with an away trip to Kyoto.
This run of matches could be seen as a blessing or a curse; win every game and we get firmly in the play-offs while our competitors are losing. Lose every match and we drop out of the play-offs while our competitors are winning: Real 6-point games.
Unfortunately we had lost games to Yamaga and Okayama (and the cup match in Mito), and despite their mid-table position were heading to what I thought would be the hardest game yet in Kyoto.
We played with a team which looked a little more focussed on defence as Jogo moved up the pitch to play in a central role with Mishima coming back in at right-back.
I thought Jogo did well in his return to the position. My main problem with him when he plays higher up the pitch is he can drift out of games and wait for the ball at times. After a spell in defence he had added an energy and fight to his game, and has always had the technique to play anywhere.
In hot weather the game was low on chances, Takeda having the only real shot at goal with an attempted knuckle-ball shot from out side the box which did confuse the Kyoto keeper on the bounce and get pushed out for a corner.
We then did take the lead without even having a shot.
Mishima had moved up on the right and put in a cross from space. It wasn’t the greatest cross, but better than usual and in an area where the defender needed to do something. Inexplicably Kyoto’s Serbian defender glanced an excellent header just inside the near post to give Avispa the lead.
After than Avispa sat back a little and were doing a good job of containing Kyoto. They really weren’t getting near the box, and looked like a team which had run out of ideas.
As Avispa maintained shape and worked hard there were few shots going in on goal and Kyoto didn’t really ever look like scoring.
Just as it reached the point in the game where you thought Kyoto would run out of steam if they couldn’t break down the defence they scored.
Predictably (given their lack of ideas in open play) it came from a corner.
There has been one constant in the games in July which we have lost; poor form from Kamiyama in goal and Tsutsumi in the middle of defence. This goal was conceded after Kamiyama got caught in no-mans land at the back post and allowed the ball to be hedade back into an area where he should have been able to catch. Tsutsmi still had a chance to block, but a Kyoto player was fastest to the ball and knocked home.
At that point I would have taken a point in the game for sure. Kyoto were buoyed by getting the goal and quickly got another.
A run and cross down the right got deflected off the knee of a diving Takumi and went at pace across the Avispa penalty area. Kyoto’s striker Douglas has a good instinct in front of goal and dived to head the ball into an unguarded net.
Avispa had to chase the game to get what seemed an unlikely equaliser and got caught at the back to finish the game.
A ball fed from midfield found Oguro on the edge of the box and he did what he has been doing for over a decade (but probably not as much as he should due to his penchant for changing clubs) by finishing with a very cute chipped finish over Kamiyama.