Sunday, September 27

Shimizu 1 - 0 Vissel

This was always gonna be a tough game. Shimizu haven't lost a league match for about 3 months and are making a valiant challenge for the title - now only a point behind struggling Kashima. To get something away from home today would have been a huge result for us, and in the end, it was obviously asking too much.

Still, I think even the neutrals would have to admit that we gave them a run for their money today. They came out firing and Vissel played most of the first half defensively (as you would expect), but still managed to have some decent shots on goal. But we threw away any chance we had to grab the 3 points when Nam-Il was sent off for a second yellow only 10 minutes into the second half. The tackle definitely didn't warrant a booking but he had already been marked by the ref a couple of times so it was far from surprising.

Tactically, I thought Miura was almost spot on. The way he dealt with the sending off by bringing Uchiyama into the defense and pushing Matsuoka forward into the position (Volante) that he should have been playing all year was the right move, and this gave us hope of taking a point from a bad situation. But we let them score 10 minutes from the end by failing to put someone on the right post for a set piece, Ichikawa scoring the easiest of goals - even nutmegging one of his own teammates.

Had we lost to Gamba or Urawa like that I would still be in shock and unable to write this post. I have always had a soft spot for S-Pulse and I hope they continue on their brilliant run. However, if that's all they've got to beat a 10 man Vissel at home, I wouldn't bet on them just yet.

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