Oita Trinita 3 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
Well barring something quite spectacular between now and the end of the season I think we can probably forget about finishing in the play-offs.
In previous seasons when this penny has dropped among the players they have just coasted from this point until the end of the season; finishing somewhere in mid-table with the players concentrating more on which bench they are going to be sitting on next season than trying to finish the season on a high.
You could read my match report from the Mito game to see what happened in this match. Pusnik had tried to freshen the team up a bit since that match by bringing Morimura back into the team with Jogo moving to right wing-back, but the result was pretty much the same.
We controlled possession for large parts of the games, created numerous opportunities around the box but our forward line never had the guile or skill to make real chances against a defence which defended deeply and in numbers.
As with last week we had a big chance to score the opening goal, which had it gone in and Oita been forced to attack a little more may have changed the game. A foul on the edge of the Oita box saw the resulting free-kick touched sideways to Tsutsumi who hit another thunderbolt of a shot, even better than the goal in Kitakyushu, but with the keeper beaten it hit the inside of the post and came back out.
By that time we had already been denied a penalty when Sakai was fouled on the edge of the box, but over-exaggerated going to ground and picked up a yellow card from a retarded referee. We had another better shout for a penalty later as Hirai was bundled over in the box but this referee wasn’t going to give us anything.
Avispa were given a warning about the counter as Brazilian Daniel slid a pass through our defence to leave an Oita attacker 1-on-1 with Kamiyama but he stood up big and produced a good save to remain top of the keeper rankings for J2.
Daniel showed the difference between the two teams, not just on the pitch with some intelligent passing showing good vision, but in the ambition of the 2 clubs. In August Oita and Avispa were in a similar place in the table, hovering around the play-offs, we released Punosevac, allowed Ishizu to go out on loan, saw Kanamori go away on international duty, and only brought in a youth team striker who has never scored a goal in his career. Oita brought in a player with proven experience of J1, in a position where we have needed a player for 4 seasons, and he has now done more than anyone to win them this game.
A goal down in the second half we still controlled the game with Oita sitting 9 men behind the ball. We got a lot of corners (over 10), and ordinarily we would expect to score from a couple of those, but Oita have only conceded 3 goals from set pieces all season and showed why with some well drilled defending.
As has happened before as we struggle to break teams down we leave gaps at the back which can be exploited on the counter. As has also happened before it didn’t really need a really fast counter as we just gave the ball away in the middle of the pitch. A high press on Nakahara by the Oita forward saw the ball come out to Daniel who was able to take 1 step, not look for 2-3 extra passes, and slot the ball calmly inside the far post.
The game was over, but Oita managed to score another similar goal as the ball was delivered quickly to Tsyoshi on the right of Avispa’s box who given the time can always pick out a player with a cross and landed a cross right onto someone’s head to score.
Personally I’d say the season is now over, and think that Avispa should now sacrifice immediate results to go into next season with players in positions they know, and management have a shopping list of players and positions they know they need to replace.
Every season there seems to be a 50% change around in players coming into and out of the club. We have made good progress this season, and have some good young players. Those players we want to keep should now be given more experience in the formation we plan to use them in, and the players who are not going to be used next season moved onto the bench.
Players who should play from now til the end: (If they agree to stay next season)
Kwang Seon (I have no idea why we let Ishizu go, but I hope it’s something to do with him for next season)
Sakai (If he can come as a permanent signing, he isn’t going to get games ahead of Musashi Suzuki)
Players who we don’t need to use when building for the future: