Sunday, May 16

Cerezo 2 - 1 Vissel

Vissel lost 2-1 yesterday in the final league match before the World Cup break. In what was our first match at Nagai in 5 years, this defeat could very well see us slip back into the relegation zone. It was a rather painful evening - for more than one reason.

We dominated the first 25 minutes of the match and fully deserved to take the lead after 15 minutes when Botti latched on to a loose ball in the area. Despite being a tad tipsy, I clearly remember passages of play where we were able to maintain possession via some quick passing in the midfield, totally not our style of football, and the large number of travelling fans thought it was going to be our day. But they picked up some momentum in the final 15 minutes of the first half and when the 4th official displayed 4 minutes of injury time, we started to panic. It was in these few minutes we fell apart at the back, letting in 2 goals which pretty much sealed our fate.

Their first was headed in by Bando who was getting a lot of abuse from us for obvious reasons and the second was a superbly taken free kick from just outside the box by Kagawa in his final J.League match before heading off to Germany. I could name the individuals who were at fault (I probably will later) but for now I'll just put it down to a complete lack of concentration and composure all round - really amateur stuff.

Miura hammered the final nail in the coffin when he replaced Tokura with Yoshida only 15 minutes into the second half. The one player that could grab a point for us was taken off for "tactical" reasons.

The ref was shit, too. 9 yellow cards and 46 free kicks.

As far as grounds with running tracks around them go, Nagai is not that bad thanks to the elevation of the seating. But Cerezo's overall production of the J.League was FUCKING HORRIBLE. If having the whole ground (and surrounding area) covered in bright pink wasn't enough, the official supporters songs were tacky Johnny's-like pop tunes played loudly before, during and after the match, they announce their players only by given names in a stupid accent and they preceded the players' run-on to the pitch with a wannabe R&B/pop princess called "ryoco" (not Ryoko) who was unkind enough to treat us all to some of her crappy songs - out of key.

Thank God for the 190 yen post match beers!

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