The quest for survival continues.
A 2-2 draw at home yesterday against Marinos, and an unexpected win for Kashiwa, means we have to wait at least one more week to celebrate(?) another year of J1 football. Considering our horrible start to the match, I guess we should be pleased with the point.
The starting lineup did not look great. Ishibitsu was out with influenza, and our best players Okubo and Kim were both on the bench as they had just returned from international duty. We were 2-0 down after 15 minutes and the signs were there for an embarrassing thrashing at home. Miura had obviously spotted the problem early on because he brought Kim on for Kishida in just the 27th minute, a move that changed the game. We began to control, or at least hold, the ball much better in the middle and Mogi got one back for us only minutes later. The goal came at the right time to cool the crowd who were getting more and more pissed off at the shitty display of football, particularly as we were all aware of the Kashiwa result.
Another big impact substitution was made at half time when Okubo came on for Hide. It took him only 5 minutes to get on the score sheet with an immaculately placed shot from the right side of the area. His presence gave us more than the goal though. In what was a fairly evenly matched second half, the pressure that both he and Mogi continued to put on their defense took the sting out of their play giving us real hope of an amazing comeback victory. Both teams had several opportunities to snatch all 3 points in the last 25 minutes but the game ended in what was probably a fair result. Shit.
Credit to Miura for making the right substitutions at the right times. Man of the match should probably go to him.
The club appear set to keep him in charge for another year which I personally feel is the wrong decision. However, I'll save that rant for another time - after Guus Hiddink tells us officially he's not coming to Kobe!
As a side note, according to reports, Kim Nam-Il played very well in Korea's friendlies last week. Maybe he'll make the world cup squad!