Consadole 2 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka
3 games into the season and we are looking absolutely shambolic. While this match and result don’t look as bad as being out-played and out-fought by Ehime in the last match there are many things which worried me even more.
Typically Avispa have travelled quite badly to their longest away trip in Saporro, but I couldn’t help thinking back to the last game I watched us play there.
Last season we had a real shortage of players capable of really doing anything in this match, especially in midfield, and Pusnik came up with a strategy which I genuinely thought I’d not seen before.
With a total absence of midfielders Kazuki was being asked to go forward for goal-kicks from defence to try and add some sort of ball winning ability in the final 2/3rds of the pitch. It was bonkers, but it worked really quite well (I was sorry to not see it again!), and one thing it showed for sure was a manager in Pusnik who was thinking and trying to make things happen with an inadequate bunch of players.
What worried me most about this match was that Ihara looks to have run out of ideas already. The formation and players selected here looked a lot like he had asked the players what position they wanted to play and hoped that if he just made them happy that they would put on a performance for him.
That’s no way to run a football club, especially as this group of players have proved over and over again to be a huge underwhelming disappointment.
We had a back 3 again, but one which was still beaten in the air over and over again and had huge gaps all over the final third.
We had just 2 players in midfield, and those 2 players were Sueyoshi and Suzuki, 2 plyers who proved 3 years ago that they aren’t good enough to ever play together even at J2 level.
Finishing the 523 formation was Jogo floating around doing nothing and Sakata trying to run, each side of a Nakahara who was trying to fulfil the Kazuki non-moving target man role from last season.
It was like someone was playing a football management computer game and trying to find a formation to keep all the ‘big name’ player happy.
In goal Kamiyama was replaced by Eita in a switch which will get all the headlines due to what happened late in the game. I really want to know if Ihara has discovered after 2 games what the previous managers found out (that Kamiyama is a liability), or if Kamiyama didn’t fancy a game under lights with a team who looked like they were going to lose.
Whatever the reason we had a guy making only his 3rd appearance in 3 years in an indoor stadium against above average opposition (and without any other options for keeper in the squad).
This game will be remembered for Eita costing us the points with at least 1 terrible mistake, but in reality I thought he took charge of his box much better than Kamiyama does, and worked as a sweeper-keeper quite bravely.
As is typical for Avispa we conceded inside 15 minutes, and after being given a big warning.
The Sapporo striker had already found space on the right (where Abe was hopeless and looked like he just didn’t care) but had his shot half-blocked by Kasagawa. The second time he found space in the same position on the edge of the box he cut inside to make space and curled a shot over and around Eita into the far corner.
It looked like maybe Eita had dived with his wrong hand, but in reality I don’t really ever expect Japanese keepers to make many saves like that.
Avispa were hopeless, and the game was dull. At least when we have been losing game after game previously the game was entertaining and you could see what the team were trying to do, even if the players weren’t good enough to do it. Now it is just dull to watch them jog around the pitch taking the piss.
We did actually equalise with quite a nice goal. It seems petty to not be pleased about a goal, but I think it will just paper over cracks a little bit and make the club think that maybe the outfield players are quite good.
A ball was sent in from the right for Jogo to glance it on for the on-rushing Sakata to hit well first-time into the goal.
It was a nice goal, and it will look nice on someone’s youtube highlights but it doesn’t excuse the 75 minutes of drivel which preceded it.
A goal woke Avispa up and with Kasagawa pushing right out to act as sweeper Avispa pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
Unfortunately for the habitually mistake-prone keeper he passed the ball to a Saporro striker while 30m outside his goal and was forced to chase back and try to get something in the way of a most embarrassing goal. He couldn’t get anywhere near it, and must be being slaughtered in newspapers and message-boards across Japan.
The most fortunate people are Sueyoshi, Suzuki, Abe and Jogo because without Eita’s mistake to take attention away from them maybe someone would be questioning why they are so poor.