Kataller Toyama 1 : 2 Avispa Fukuoka
After home defeats to Tokyo and Mito in September I am not entirely sure how, but after this win we are still only 4 points away from sneaking into the play-offs.
If we can win 6 out of the remaining 8 games then I think we could sneak into the final 6th spot as none of the chasing teams really seem to be able to keep winning, and while this match didn’t have a good performance it had a bit of battle from the players and might be able to put them in the right frame of mind of take Kanamori back and put together an unlikely set of wins from now til the end of the season.
It looked unlikely at the start of this game as Toyama took the lead from a corner. They have scored most of their goals from corners this season, but how they did so here was weak defending from Avispa.
After an initial clearance from a corner the ball fell out to the edge of the D where a Toyama players tried an ambitious bicycle kick which took a slight touch off the Toyama #5 and was spilled by Kamiyama. The same #5 was able to get to the ball first and force the ball home.
It was sloppy defending in that Avispa really needed someone on the D (this isn’t the first time we’ve been absent here in both defensive and offensive corners this season), that Sakai played everyone onside as the defence stepped out, and that Kamiyama spilled the ball back into the danger zone.
As has happened quite often this season, and especially in the last month since Sakata got injured, Ishizu was allowed to leave and Kanamori went to Korea on international duty, we looked totally anemic in attack.
Pusnik looked to loan player Nabeta to try and improve things in this game, but he hasn’t really looked J1 quality from what I have seen so far, and isn’t exactly a young player at 23 years old and having never scored a league goal. He isn’t a bad player, but doesn’t stand our as someone who will score goals.
It looked like our only chance for a goal was going to come from a set piece or corner. It speaks volumes about the teams, and what Pusnik has achieved against the odds this season to e on the edge of the play-offs, that we now look most likely to score from corners.
In the 2 seasons before Pusnik came to the club I can’t remember us scoring from a corner, or even looking like we might score from a corner for 2 seasons (since Nakamachi was at the club). Now without a real target man striker we have scored nearly 30% of our goals from corners and is good reward for what have been a lot of work done on the training ground.
It would be interesting to see what position we would be in this season without the goals we have scored from set pieces, in the bottom 5 I would assume.
After 13 minutes of the 2nd half Park Gun got his first goal in professional football, a goal which he has deserved for some of his performances this season, and can hopefully step on in confidence from this.
A free-kick from the right was floated up into the middle of the box where so many attackers and defenders came together that the Toyama goal-keeper couldn’t get near the ball. A bit of a Hail-Mark tactic, but Park managed to get something on the ball and divert it towards the now unguarded goal for the equaliser.
Avispa pushed forward for a winner, but still didn’t look like they had anyone with the creativity to make anything from open play.
Fortunately we continued to win corners, and from one of these 7 minutes from time got the winner.
As Lee Kwang Seon went up for a corner from the left his header from the middle smashed back off the cross-bar. Coming out to Nakahara on the right of the box he got the ball into the near post at the 2nd attempt where Sakai could nod home with little close attention to score the winning goal.
It wasn’t a good performance, but the 3 points we got from the match are exactly the same as if we played them off the park and gave our best performance of the season.
What the players need to do now is find that best performance of the season for the remaining 8 games of the season.