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Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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My Boys Do Good!
Oh my god, I definitely ate too much! Wanting to post this entry about the Vissel/Tokyo match but feeling sleepy....full....rrrr....zzzzz......gotta slap myself awake...anyways! The game between FC Tokyo and Vissel Kobe was exciting from start to finish -- particularly the very beginning and the very end (if you don't have time to watch the entire thing).

The thing with FC Tokyo is that if they can get off to an inspiring start, they can pretty much take it from there (with a little instability in defense sprinkled in at the end). In this game, the first goal came off of Miyazawa's free kick at 9 minutes. I knew that if they could punch in another within the next fifteen minutes, they would have a much better chance at clinching the game. The longer it took, the less likely Tokyo could double the scoreline... The free kick goal was unlucky for Vissel. It was still early and they did have lots of time to get it back though. However, for all of the first half Vissel looked like they were at a loss for what to do. FC Tokyo kept active, going after the ball persistently, and putting pressure on Vissel from midfield. Tokyo intercepted the ball countless times and left Vissel unable to feel comfortable going forward -- it seemed Vissel was more afraid of losing the ball, but in their attempt to hold the ball they ended up losing possession in wasteful ways.

One of the reasons I love FC Tokyo so much is their ability to have faith that "if we run, the ball will come". In other words, the minute they get possession there is a wave of players who go forward without hesitation running with the belief that their efforts will not be wasted by teammates. Jean was supposed to be under form going into the match, but he looked perfectly fine in defense. Lucas, Toda and Ishikawa had great movement and kept up a good pace for most of the game.

On the other hand, Vissel players looked heavy. In speed, Tokyo players were out-running them, leaving Vissel players detached from their marks. During the first half there was a period where they just kept passing the ball at the back line from right to left and back. Seriously it looked like the team wanted to use up time, but I guess it was just that they didn't know what to do with the ball -- strange considering they have had a pretty good few weeks so far. I know Atsu Miura (left side) was struggling with insomnia following the NT trip to Germany and Iran last week, but his teammates didn't have the same excuse. Bando was looking sharp, but it wasn't enough if his teammates wouldn't get the ball to him.

FC Tokyo created their second goal off a deadball situation at only 16 min. -- this time, a cross in from the right was headed back out by Kazu Miura, but unfortunately it fell back at the feet of Kurisawa. The bullet-like second cross found the perfect spot on Konno's head and went in. Konno was absolutely and completely free -- Konno is not known to be a goal-getter and sometimes is a blindspot for opponents. Last year he was able to score a goal against the very same Vissel, and he commented that teammates were pointing out to him that he could possibly get another goal this year. However, he said, it didn't really cross his mind that he would actually score and still hadn't figured out what to do for a trademark goal pose...he ended up kinda weirdly running around instead (lol).

The second half was a desperate time for Vissel, and they began subbing in players at 55 min. Meanwhile, FC Tokyo was hanging on while still making a number of good attempts, but their earlier activity had taken a toll and players were subbed in at 24 minutes, starting with the key man Ishikawa. This may have given Vissel a ray of hope, and they did try and turn things around -- but the stubborn Tokyo defense clung: Moniwa, Kaji, Jan, and Konno kept their heads. At 89 minutes though, Vissel crossed from the left side to be headed back from the right; the ball arched back near the left post and it looked like it would cross out of bounds but Bando (pic) caught up to it in time and pushed it in with his head. With 3 minutes in injury time, there was still a good chance of equalizing -- Vissel came this close from another attempt from Bando, but no goal. [photo from vissel-kobe.co.jp]

I was happy to see Tokyo playing the kind of game they enjoy playing. Also it was good to see Vissel pull out a little magic in the end -- it seemed from sheer will power, particularly from Bando who had assisted Kazu in earlier games but still did not have a goal to his name. But from the content, Tokyo deserved to win this game.

Kashima's Mineiro Shines
I had been following Antlers' new forward Alex Mineiro. From the first two J games, he showed that not only did he have good skills, he took care to move well in relation to his teammates. I also saw that he pulled out improved performances from his partner up front, Takayuki Suzuki. In the last game against Gamba, it was also clear that a good connection was being made with midfielder Masashi Motoyama who seemed to look to Mineiro for the finish. In today's game with Kashiwa Reysol, Mineiro scored two technically sweet goals from the left -- nothing powerful, but aimed just right from a difficult angle. He also seems to be getting on with fellow Brazilian Fernando (who has also been scoring frequently lately). Kashima had been in serious need of stability up front, and last year's return of Suzuki from Belgium plus Mineiro's addition (and I hear Serie A Messina's Yanagisawa may be returning to the nest in a few months) could help Kashima keep their position on top.


Shout Out to...

Thespa Kusatsu who won their first game this season 2-0 against Tokushima. In the post-game interviews the players looked like kids on Christmas morning.

Omiya Ardija who have won another game, this time against Cerezo 1-0. They are currently in 3rd Place (after FCTokyo and Kashima Antlers, though all three have same number of points).
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。