Yokohama FC 2 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
This was a game which brought the promotion bus down to earth a little bit. After getting good results in August and being 5 unbeaten there was a feeling that Avispa might be able to squeeze a result from this match against opposition who have been in the bottom half of the table for most of the season.
The reality was that the old players of Yokohama FC just had too much experience and understanding of what sort of performance was needed to never really give Avispa much of a chance.
The team came out as expected, and probably contained all of the players who would expect to play and playing in the positions which they would like to play in. It all looked like things might be quite straight-forward within the first 2 minutes as a really good ball into the box from Abe on the left was missed by the Yokohama central defender and fell to Jogo’s feet at the edge of the box.
I have said many times previously that Jogo is a player you don’t want to let think too much, and with time on his hands here he shot too close to the onrushing keeper and saw his shot saved and gathered when he really should have scored.
A goal then would have put Avispa onto a winning routine, but without that chance taken they went back into their shells a little and didn’t really threaten again.
Yokohama weren’t doing much to threaten either and it was a game where ball after ball was being passed poorly and giving possession straight to the opposition.
The game looked like it might go out of control mid-way through the first half as referee Morikawa made an attempt to be crowned worst referee in the J-League.
Koga picked up a nasty late challenge as Ahn from Yokohama went shoulder to knee in a late challenge but didn’t pick up a booking, the same player then did get a yellow as he threw the ball away as Avispa tried to take a free kick, but the referee bottled it and didn’t send him off when he threw the ball away again at an Avispa throw-in.
It wasn’t much fun to watch and neither team was doing anything worth paying for.
In my preview I had written that Avispa really had to be careful at corners as Yokohama had scored 50% of their goals from crosses and corners, but didn’t heed the warning as they conceded a cheap goal straight from a corner halfway through the half.
A corner from the right was flicked on as Nakahara struggled to challenge for the ball but should have been cleared by Tsutsumi at the back post. He can be slow to react to a bouncing ball and just teed the ball up for defender Matsushita to get his second goal in 2 games.
Just before the half-time whistle Yokohama scored their second; again from a corner on the right.
North Korean Ahn (who was lucky to still be on the pitch) jumped highest at the near post again and flicked his header at the back post again. This time Tsutsumi had come off the post and the ball went inside the post to double the score.
Avispa changed things at half-time as the injured players Koga and Sakata came off and Avispa went to 4 at the back.
They didn’t really make any more chances, and the game drifted down to an easy home win.
Avispa weren’t really any better or worse than Yokohama on the day but were undone by a team who have strengths from set-pieces (which should have come as no surprise).
It isn’t the end of the world, any fan would have taken 2 draws from this game and Kitakyushu next week. If we can beat Kitakyushu away next week we will have got 3 points rather than the 2 which 2 draws would get us.
Lose to Kitakyushu and I think we can probably forget promotion; JEF and KYoto aren’t going to drop too many points from now till the end of the season.