We picked up 3 crucial points tonight with a nervy 3-1 victory over Omiya Ardija. If ever a game could be described using the old cliché of "a game of two halves" - it was this one. The first 45 minutes saw us play the best football I've seen us play all year. We dominated them in all areas of the field and it really seemed as if the boys in orange would be leaving Kobe having been embarrassingly thrashed by a team that were only 2 points above them in the league. Then, in the second half... we played like Vissel Kobe.
Matsuoka put us in front with a tidy finish after only 8 minutes (video to come soon), increasing his career goal tally to 2. His performance throughout the 90 was equally impressive earning him man of the match. About 10 minutes later, Gakuto scored for the first time ever with a freakish goal which I think was meant to be a cross. I'm not sure if there was a deflection but the team went absolutely nuts. A la Spain after the Iniesta goal, Gukoto eventually crawled out from under a mountain of bodies following a celebration that probably added 2 minutes of extra time. He also played pretty well and was unlucky to miss out on the Mr. Fighting Spirit award that deservedly went to Komoto who had a splendid game at center half. Half time, 2-0 up, looking like world beaters.
Then... the Vissel Kobe we all know took the field for the second half and made us suffer for the next 45 minutes. Omiya immediately got back into the game, although they didn't have too many shots on goal despite their possession. Ex Vissel player Norio Suzuki (remember Norio, Norio, Norio...) got one back for them in the 54th minute with a rocket free kick from about 30 yards out. Check it out on YouTube - it's worth it. After that, we went into defensive mode for the next half an hour and probably would have lost the game against better opposition. Fortunately we were able to hang on and Okubo got his name on the score sheet 3 minutes into extra time with a cool finish from a rare counter attack.
Despite the shitty second half, our performance in the first 45 proves that we can actually play football. Hopefully we can produce something similar when we play Scumba on Wednesday.