Archive for the ‘Match Reports’ Category
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.
Avispa Fukuoka 0 – 1 Mito Hollyhock
One of the particular annoyances about Avispa this season is that they seem to be able to play well and get results against some of the top teams, but then follow it up with defeats or draws against teams they should be getting results against quite easily.
It would be easy to say that they become complacent against ‘lesser’ teams, but I don’t think that is the case. They were playing at a very high level of intensity in this game, and pressing high up the pitch as a team well throughout the first half.
I thought Park Gun and Takdea were the stand-out players of this time as the stepped up to close gaps and win back possession, before driving forward with the ball.
The ball was reaching Nakahara at the base of our midfield who was trying to spread play, while himself also putting in tackles and trying to get close to Mito players.
The prblem for Avispa was that with Sakata out injured, Punosevac and Ishizu both having left the club, Kanamori away on international duty and Hirai seemingly unable to play at the levl expected of his we didn’t possess the cutting edge to score past a well organised Mito defence.
This is what I see as our real problem against these teams which we might be expected to beat.
When we come up against teams which are well-organised in defence, playing with 8 behind the ball when out of possession and perhaps happy to get themselves an away point (or at the least focussing on a counter-attacking strategy) then we don’t have the creativity to break down that solid defence.
The team starts to get a little desperate knowing that they are expected to win and start to leave gaps at the back, which as with this game can then be exploited.
We did control possession in the first half, and by 30 minutes we had had about 6 shots on target, as Mito had failed to have a single shot, but I wouldn’t say we ever really looked confident to score.
At times our forward line showed a massive lack of confidence, with Jogo in particular not trusting himself to out-pace defence when running in on goal. If I think back to games like against JEF in 2010 when he would run onto balls and out-pace, but also out-muscle defenders before rifling a shot into the top corner he more often now looks to play through someone else than take a shot on goal.
The other issue being that our long shooting is fairly hopeless. With teams sitting back you can cause problems by putting the ball into the corners from beyond the defence, but Avispa shots were sailing high and wide of goal from players who had time and space on the edge of the box.
Nakahara is really growing as a professional footballer this year, but his long shooting is quite embarrassing at times.
Something I could say is that if we were playing this game with Ishizu on the pitch then we would have had a very good chance of making the game safe before half-time. Either from his running on the break without thinking to stop and pass to someone else, or shooting from outside the box I think we could have got a goal from somewhere.
It makes the decision to allow him to go on loan to Kobe all the more bizarre. A win here would have put us in 6th. How much did Kobe pay us for the loan to not make that a crazy decision?
A new player was brought in to potentially replace Ishizu, but if that has been seen as a good like-for-like replacement someone has got things wrong. On loan striker Atomu Nabeta came on for 30 minutes and didn’t really look like someone who is going to cause many problems for defences in J2. In fact when Ushinohama came on he looked more of a threat.
Avispa looked like they just needed to keep doing what they were doing in the 2nd half and a goal would come.
It very nearly did come as Park stepped up from defence to start a move, continuing his run to collect a return pass from Abe on the left. Placed well he put his shot from the edge of the box wide, and clearly thought he should have done better to score his first goal for the club.
It looked a little bit like the defence switched off a bit having come so close to scoring and 1m95 Lee Kwang Seon was out jumped by 1m70 Mishima to flick the ball straight through the middle from a goal kick.
Falling right between out central pair the Mito striker could run free on goal and score easily in a 1-on-1 with Kamiyama.
Avispa had been caught by a sucker-punch, as they have a few times when faced with similar teams this season.
Avispa toiled to score, but didn’t really come close to breaking down the Mito defence.
There was time for the referee to show a yellow card to Lee Kwang Seon, and Osmar before the end of the game.
The card shown to Kwang Seon was bad, he was being fouled for about 10 seconds and then ewhen the guy fouling him fell over he was shown a yellow card.
It paled into insignificance when compared with the crazy card shown 10 minutes later to Osamar. Running back with the ball after being cauight off-side he threw the ball to Kamiyama after Kamiyama shouted for him to throw the ball to him and the referee booked him, presumably for time-wastng.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that out of 3 foreign players on the pitch this referyellow carded 2 of them without any caution for a Japanese player.
V-Varen Nagasaki 0 – 0 Avispa Fukuoka
I’d said before the game that I thought a single goal would get the victory here with both teams keeping things quite tight and so it proved.
The goal didn’t come for either team, but I suspect that Avispa are probably happier with the away point than Nagasaki.
I’d said after the Ehime game that away draws are all that we need to be guaranteed a promotion so long as we win our games at home, and to secure the draw in a Kyushu derby (of which we had lost every on prior to this) is a positive result.
Avispa seemed to line-up with a formation which looked more like they wouldn’t lose than they were going to win, with Park playing an anchor role in midfield alongside Nakahara with Jogo and Sakata in front of him as Sakai served as a target man up front.
It was keeping Nagasaki quiet, but they did have a chance to score which should have given them the lead as a ball was played between central defenders to leave an attacker one-on-one with Kamiyama with time to pick his spot.
The stats last season apparently showed that Kamiyama was the best keeper in J2, and I’m sure they show something similar this season as he pulled out another excellent save by making himself big and getting a hand to the shot to his right. It shows how statistics can be misleading because while he does make these excellent saves on a regular basis, nobody is keeping stats on blunders and missed crosses.
In a half of few chances the next big chance fell to Sakata played through on the right of the box with a ball diagonally over the top. After scoring and playing very well against Jubilo I’d hoped he would now start scoring for fun, but his initial shot was well parried by the keeper, and his follow up shot from a tight angle hit the post when he probably would have hoped to do better.
With 30 minutes to play it looked like the game would swing in Avispa’s direction.
I’ve heard it said that leagues are won by the quality of what is sitting on the bench, and Avispa have what should be game winning players available to come on against tired legs with Hirai and Kanamori.
This game was designed for the substitutes to be the heros, but too often in Japan (maybe in football in general) the substitutes don’t see that actually they are the game winning players, and don’t perform quite as they should when they do finally come on.
Tired defenders don’t want to come up against pace, they don’t want strikers hitting the box and tempting fouls, and will quickly ask forwards to drop back and try to help. After a very good start to the season Hirai hasn’t really done this, and Kanamori is still young enough to be very inconsistent with his game.
Another player who has shown inconsistency is Mishima, but in the last game and this he has started to show what he is able to do. Despite working hard all game he really started to try and get forward in the last 20 minutes of this game, even though we had switched to 4 at the back at times, and was able to try and put crosses into the box.
The best chance of the half came from one of these crosses as Takeda hit an air-shot, and Kanamori couldn’t quite reach the ball when placed centrally with a dangerous cross put across goal for them.
The game had lots of positives to it, as long as we keep a clean sheet we always have the forwards who are able to try and make a goal.
Next game is home against Gifu and one which we should be looking to win.
Avispa Fukuoka 3 : 1 Jubilo Iwata
So far this seaon we have beaten Kyoto, JEF and Tochigi as teams competing with us for a play-off place, drawn away at Sapporo and Okayama as 2 more teams aiming for promotion, and drew with Shonan as 1 of only 2 teams who hadn’t lost against them this season.
It shows that when the team are focussed and stick to a plan, working as a team we are a match for anyone in the division and should be getting a play-off place.
No result or performance was as good as we were in this game.
It was definitely the best performance of the season, and thinking back through my 5 years of supporting the club it might be the single best performance I have ever seen from the club.
We didn’t just beat Jubilo (a team which still has J1 quality players, including a National team player Inoha), we took them apart time and time again and limited them in attack to the point that the goal they scored was their only real shot on goal.
It was an evening when everything just came together. There were changes in the team as Jogo moved up to a midfield/forward role alongside Nakahara and Sakata, and Takeda came back into the team at left-back.
The back-3 was an all-Japanese line with Tsutsumi and Kazuki either side of Koga.
All of these changes had a big effect on the game in my opinion.
I really like Jogo at right^back, not because he is a great defender, but because the position forces him to get involved in the game and lets him play with the ball ahead of him. His tackling is good, but he can sometimes go missing from games. In this game he took some of the things he has been forced to do at right-back and added then to his game higher up the pitch. He may not have enjoyed his time at right-back, but it has made him a much better player as a midfield/forward.
Before the game I’d said Takeda had been a surprise in the Fukuoka midfield, but here is returned to his previous role as left-back and was even better. As with Jogo the time he has spent in a new role has developed his game so that he was defending well as a left-back, but also had composure on the ball, could pick a pass, and took opportunities to get forward.
The result of this game depended a lot on how Koga and Kazuki would perform on their return to the team. Both were excellent, and of even more importance Tsutsumi stepped up his game and gave the sort of performance which he was doing at the start of the 2013 season.
Why the big improvement in performance? It is probably a combination of factors. The players do seem to like having Koga in the team, it is like a sort of father figure who helps to calm the nerves a bit. Communication is much better due to all of them being Japanese, and because they know that each player has their own deficiencies so they worked well to try to avoid Koga being caught in a foot race, or to make sure Kazuki was doing the things he does better like heading and blocking (but that is slightly unfair on him, he also played some good balls out from defence).
The results against some of the better teams in the division has shown that this bunch of players can compete with everyone, the mental side of the game is where they can suffer and these small factors all added up.
It also helped that we got a goal very early in the game.
Sakata collected a throw -in from Mishima and with a great first touch muscled past the Jubilo left-back to get to the byline and hit a cross into the box. Our crossing has been a little patchy this season but Sakata has spent enough time in penalty boxes to know where the ball should be going and pulled a low cross into the danger zone where a small deflection off a defender sent it into the path of Jogo who hit it first time and into the goal.
There was then a small incident, probably largely forgotten which Ithink had a huge part in the game. Jubilo’s Brazilian forward chased a ball into the channel and got totally cleaned out by Koga coming across from defence. It was a really hard challenge, and correctly called a foul, but exactly the sort of tackle which I want someone like Koga to be making. By virtue of being Koga he got up and jogged away without being spoken to by the referee; a lesser known player or Korean would have been carded in my opinion, and I could see the Jubilo strikers were playing like they were wondering if they were getting a kick for the rest of the half.
Quickly we had doubled the score and again Sakata was involved in a big way.
Playing as a left-back now comfortable in midfield Takeda stepped up and pressed a lazy touch in midfield from Jubilo, with Ishizu tracking back to help win possession (something Iwish I’d seen him do more during his time at the club) with both players exchanging passes to get the ball to Ishizu on the edge of the box.
A simple ball to Sakata was again collected with an amazing first touch which allowed Sakata to turn and shoot at goal to score.
It was a goal which all Avispa fans know Sakata is capable of, but apart from his first 8 games with us in 2012 he hasn’t really looked confident in front of goal. If he can now go on a run of scoring then we are sure to finish in the play-offs.
Avispa then controlled the game for the rest of the match. Kazuki was doing very well in getting some part of himself in front of the ball and not being caught on the wrong side of forwards, Tsutsumi was concentrating, and Hirai was moving as a striker.
Hirai has been the biggest disappointment of the season for me. I’ve previously said that if he doesn’t score he adds nothing to the team. He didn’t score in this game, but did more for the team than I have seen before as he kept running, using good movement and energy to open up space on the pitch. If he can keep this team ethic he will be a very useful player.
Jubilo didn’t look like they could get anywhere close to the box to try and score, but then with their first meaningful attack they did.
The Brazilian guy broke the off-side trap down the right and put a deep cross to the back of the box which was hit first time across goal to score.
It was a good finish, and showed how well Avispa had been defending up to that point. These players have real quality and if they were allowed chances would score, they just weren’t being allowed to make any chances by a midfield and defence which was keeping shape and working hard.
A nervous buzz went round the stadium, we have been in positions like this before, but the game was finished with a wonder-goal from substitute Kanamori.
As Avispa defended deep and tried to protect their lead the ball came to him alone on a break having been cleared from the edge of the box. He rode a couple of tackles and ran straight at goal past 2 defenders before smashing a screamer in off the underside of the bar.
It was direct running against tired defender and exactly what you want from a 60th minute substitute. Kanamori has the potential to win games, and should look as the role of a substitute as one where he can cause real damage with fresh legs and pace. This was a goal his idol Neymar would be proud of.
All the team needs to do now is try to make sure that they keep working as a team like they did tonight until the end of the season.
They had the emotion of Ishizu’s last game here to drive them forward, but they won’t have that again and need to find a way to work for each other and to a plan in the remaining games.
Ehime FC 0 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
An optimistic way to look at this result is that if we draw every away game and win every home game from now until the end of the season then we will get promotion to J1 (or at worst lose on penalties in the play-off final).
A pessimistic way to look at it is that Ehime really weren’t very good, and it is teams like this which we should be beating quite easily to give us opportunities to lose or draw at home against the top teams.
There was one enforced change for Avispa as midfield terrier Takeda was suspended which saw Sakata drop back into midfield (realistically who else could we play there?) and Hirai get the chance to prove himself as a starting member. I’ve been quite critical of him this season, but would be very happy to be proved wrong from now until the end of the season if he could score over 10 goals, but on this evidence of this match he isn’t going to.
Avispa were the better team for the first 65 minutes, and it just looked like a matter of time before we would score a goal, and that could then lead to 2-3 more.
Jogo and Abe at wing-back were getting forward more consistently than they have done in recent games (although I’d still like to see them do it more, we still have 3 at the back even if they get caught out), and were getting balls into an area around the edge of the box.
Unfortunately we then seemed to struggle to break down an Ehime defence which were sitting deep and maintaining their shape.
The Avispa forwards were making attacks over-complicated, and trying to play intricate passing moves o the edge of the box when we just need to test the keeper sometimes. Avispa fans know as well as anyone that keepers in J2 can be very inconsistent and I feel we need to have someone able to shoot on sight and get shots on target from outside the box. At the moment it generally falls to Nakahara to take long shots, but they are often in more dnager of going out for a throw-in than getting on target.
Ishizu is the other player who can shoot from distance well, but he tends to like to take players on more than he should and wait to get the ball exactly where he wants it before shooting.
Having said that it took the help of the cross-bar to keep the scores level as a short throw-in was delivered into the box where Kwang Seon got a clean header which beat the keeper but hit the underside of the bar. Park did well to pressure the second ball, but Sakata’s shot was parried by the recovering keeper and hit the bar for a second time.
Going into the second half we brought on attacking players to try and find some way through the Ehime defence, but couldn’t get the goal.
The best chance of the half fell to Hirai as he was slipped through the middle by a ball from Ishizu, but he showed how low he is in confidence by snapping at his shot and lifting the ball over the bar from 8 yards.
We were also up against another keeper having a good game as the Ehime keeper made another good save from a free-kick sent in from the left which headed towards goal off the head of one of the Ehime defenders.
Ehime looked to be relying on their big striker Watanabe to cause problems in defence; not a bad tactic seeing as he has destroyed us in the last 3 games we have played against them, but generally he was being marshalled much better and getting few chances to try and bully our defenders.
The game then changed as Kwang Seon picked up his second yellow card having been turned and out-paced heading back at goal. He pulled the attacked back and picked up an obvious second yellow card to put us down to 10 men for the second game in a row.
This then put emphasis on Ehime to try and attack and the game opened up much more. Avispa kept trying to attack, and were lucky to avoid conceding a goal late on as a break with 5-6 players came up against 3 back for Avispa. Fortunately the end of the move culminated in the ball falling at Min Je’s feet, and as much as I think he is a decent player composure and shooting have never been in his skillset and he blasted wide.
An away draw with 10 men is something a manager has to take, but it was still a result which felt disappointing after looking sure to score and ride out an away win during the first half.
Avispa Fukuoka 0 : 0 Shonan Bellmare
After winning every game in June Avispa had a mid-week game on the 30th to try to avoid losing every game in July.
It couldn’t have come much tougher as Shonan came to Fukuoka having won 22 of 23 games so far this season. Could Avispa do what only Ehime have so far managed this season by avoiding defeat against Shonan?
We started with a brave line-up as Jogo was again moved to right-back which gives us more options, especially if he is encouraged to get forward and make the opposition concentrate on what he is doing rather than playing re-actively.
Ishizu also returned to the starting line-up which gave us runners around Sakai who is increasingly looking like a hold-up player for us.
The game had an unexpected other aspect as a thunder-storm an hour before kick-off had left large areas of the pitch water-logged and the turf cutting up in places.
In spite of this Avispa were trying to pass the ball around; a strategy which I thought looked destined for disaster, but which at times meant that Avispa were in hold of the ball and able to mount attacks going forward.
They lacked the final product and didn’t really get many shots at goal, a shame as I thought the Shonan keeper looked very suspect.
In defence they were at times still giving the ball away very cheaply in our own half (as we did against Okayama) as we tried to pass the ball out, but at the times we went long it was clear why we had this strategy as the forward were not able to win or even really compete for the longer ball against the Shonan defence.
Shonan had the best 2 efforts of the 1st half. The first of which was a really good shot from central defender Wataru Endo from out side the box which curled a metre too far and went off target with Kamiyama not reaching it. I guess he will be back in J1 next season, but Endo has been the stand-out player for about 3 seasons now and maybe only his size is stopping one of the top clubs from offering him a move somewhere else.
The 2nd chance looked to be a certain goal as Wellington turned on a loose ball in the box but was thwarted by a snap save to his right by Kamiyama who got a strong enough hand on the ball to deflect it safe.
It was the sort of play which makes Kamiyama so frustrating. He comes out with good enough saves to be a key player, but then makes so many mistakes. In reality this save was partly due to his mistake in the first place as his ball out went straight to Shonan to attack.
The game was scrappy, but 0:0 at half time things didn’t look bad for Avispa, we were playing quite well against a good team.
The game would change in the second half as Avispa went down to 10 men with 30 minutes left to play.
Takeda had already picked up a yellow card for a late challenge early in the half as he stopped an attack with a tackle which deserved a yellow, but then picked up a much softer second yellow after 65 minutes. The referee needed to think about the conditions a bit, it was a wet pitch and his tackle while late didn’t connect, and was clearly going for the ball.
It did seem the referee wished he hadn’t booked him after pulling out the yellow card and realising he had to then send him off, but by then it was too late.
The referee was having a tough game, and seemed to be favoring Shonan in tackles a lot. There were 3-4 occasions when Kwang Seon made great tackles, but was penalised; and then 2-3 times when Ishizu was brought down running in on goal but had nothing given against him.
In our run of defeats now the refereeing has been much better, and we may have benefited from a call in this game as Taketomi was called off-side from what looked a very tight call.
People talk about Ishizu, Jogo, Kamemori as wingers who could go on to play in J1; none of them have been as effective at this level as Taketomi who gets relatively little publicity (and none are as effective as Genki Nagasato for us in 2010 who is now in Thailand having effectively ended his career by leaving us at the wrong time).
Kamiyama then had to pull off another great save to keep the game scoreless with a diving stop from a header which he got 2 hands to and was able to push away from danger.
Games like this show how important the keeper is, when Kamiyama is having one of his good days we are promotion challengers, when he is making mistakes the defence get scared and we can be beaten by anyone in the division.
The other player who showed his importance here was Tsutsumi. He has quietly been quite poor in the last month, but in this game was back up to something like his best and getting blocks in front of what he could and showing a much better level of concentration than he has.
Just as it seemed like we would have 20 minutes of getting 10 men behind the ball and trying to hold on for a draw we nearly scored as Ishizu hit a shot againt the underside of the bar.
My criticism of Ishizu is a lack of effeort when he doesn’t have the ball. Here he tracked back having gone down to 10 men and won the ball to set up a quick break. Recieving the loose ball from Hirai after his initial tackle he ran to the edge of the box and hot a shot which beat the keeper but hit the underneath of the bar and bounced past the incoming Hirai.
There was a nervous last 10 minutes, but Avispa actually held out quite well and didn’t really look as troubled as they might be expected with 10 men against a club who have won 22 of 23 games before this match.
There was a strange side-show towards the end which I saw picked up by the commentators watching the game after I came home. With 5 minutes left to play Ishizu was apparently asking for the 3rd substitution to be made.
I’m not exactly who he thought should come on. Morimura has been hopeless this season, and doesn’t seem to handle pressure. Kazuki and Koga are squad players at best now, and you’d be crazy to break up the defence in this game which was working well.
Mishima could come on just to waste time and run a lot, but I don’t think he’d do better than anyone else on the pitch.
Hopefully he was just saying that he thought someone was injured.
A very good draw. Avispa are still in with a good chance of making the playoffs; will Ausgust be like June or July?
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.