Vissel had a chance to mathematically secure another year of top flight footy today but failed in a 0-1 away defeat to Grampus.
After only 15 minutes, Matsuoka played a terrible back pass right to the feet of Burzanovic who coolly slotted home what would turn out to be the winner. Tough luck. It was only 2 weeks ago that Matsuoka was the hero for us in the 1-0 victory over Niigata with his first ever goal in the J.league.
Overall, it was pretty poor football. Neither team took control of the midfield, passing was sloppy all round and the crossing/shooting was generally inaccurate. The absence of the usual strikers for each team today didn't help - Okubo off practicing his diving somewhere and Kennedy probably healing the sick and performing miracles off the field for a change. Nevertheless, there were chances. We hit the bar twice and wasted several other opportunities in the area.
15 minutes after the break, Kim Nam-Il was shown a straight red for a careless tackle in the middle of the park. He went in with his boot raised, and although there was no malice intended, it was probably a fair decision based on the new laws of the game. The timing, however, is not all that bad. Kim was to miss the next couple of matches anyway due to his call-up to the national squad - not that there is ever a "good" time to get a red card. Something of more concern is the condition of Park Kang-Jo. He was brought on in the second half but lasted only ten minutes before he left the field holding his leg/knee in pain.
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Grampus - for why I'm not exactly sure. Perhaps it's because Vissel vs Grampus was the first ever J.League match I went to back in 1997. But we really needed to beat them today and this defeat hurts. I actually thought that the relegation battle would be over by tonight, but in a strange turn of events, Kashiwa are attempting to pull off the impossible. Not only did Vissel and Omiya (also losing 0-1) fail to put nails in Reysols coffin to J2, the boys in Yellow from Chiba trounced title contenders S-Pulse 5-0! What has happened to Shimizu? With the top 3 teams all winning today, it looks like their season is over now.
So the end of season drama continues...