Just got back from the game. Vissel went down 1-3 to Urawa in our first match in the Nabisco Cup tonight, despite playing some of our best football all season.
When Vamos Popo coolly put away a beautiful ball from Tanaka in the 60th minute, I honestly thought it was going to be our night. We were putting pressure on them all over the park and creating plenty of chances, some of which would have been converted with a little extra class in front of the goal. Then, Takahara took the wind out of our sails only a couple of minutes after coming on, latching on to a nice little chip from Edmilson (theirs, not ours). From there, things went way downhill. Abe powered home a screamer from outside the box in the 74th minute and Edmilson (yes, theirs) finished us off a few minute before the final whistle.
Still, there were some positives. Tanaka had probably the best game I've ever seen him play. Not only did he set up our goal, it was his pace, determination and believe it or not, skill, that had them on the back foot for the first 65 minutes. Tokura too, despite missing a couple of golden opportunities, once again showed why he deserves his position in the first eleven with his ability to get into space and heading prowess. He will shine for us once he gets that final touch right.
Speaking of starting eleven, there were a couple of surprises. We finally got to see our new signing Tomita but he didn't really impress. He was started at left back (he's a center back) and he clearly does not have the pace at 33 to play that role effectively. On the other side, Ishibitsu was dropped to the bench and Kitamoto played at right back, a move I totally disagree with. Admittedly, Ishibitsu has been a bit sloppy with his defensive duties this year but nobody can cross the ball in from the right like he can. Now that we have a striker that provides us an aerial option, whoever plays up the right must be a good crosser of the ball. With all due respect, Kunie is not.
To make matters worse, we lost Enomoto after he came off second best in a 50-50 challenge with Abe. It looked rather painful - I hope he is OK.
Next up, Sendai.