2010 has been another painful year for Vissel, and the chances of it ending in tragedy with relegation are still very much alive. But the victory at Gamba last night will go down in Vissel history as one of our greatest and most memorable, and despite our perilous position in the bottom three, it will guarantee a warm, fuzzy feeling among all Vissel fans at least for the next week. At this moment in time we are invincible.
The infamous shitty view from behind the goal at Bumfucku, coupled with a considerable amount of alcohol, will prevent me from writing an accurate match report this time. Still, I feel I should put down in words, briefly, how I saw one of THE GREATEST FOOTBALL MATCHES OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!
We fielded what most would consider to be an understrength team. Enomoto has still not started under the Wada reign, and was not even on the bench. Moreover, both Okubo and Popo were last minute withdrawals due to a training accident which saw the underachieving Yoshida and inexperienced Ogawa given starts.
Ishibitsu, Komoto, Kitamoto, Mogi
Tanaka, Mihara, Park, Botti
The opening 20 minutes was all Gamba. They completely controlled the play, pressing us from the left, right and up the middle. Apart from a couple of goal kicks, we made hardly any movement into their half and it honestly looked like it was going to be another painful game to watch. They finally got their goal in the 22nd minute, a simple overlap down the left with a quality finish from Usami who made a tough goal look easy. They continued to dominate for the next 15 minutes until, from out of nowhere, Botti placed a SUBLIME 30-yard pass right on the head of Yoshida who coolly angled it into the net. In all fairness to Yoshida, the replay shows that he actually called for the pass and it wasn't a fluke. Despite putting us back in the game in terms of the scoreline, Gamba still looked the more dangerous and I distinctly recall willing the ref to blow his whistle for half time around the 37th minute. Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling my vibe and it wasn't long before they went in front again when Lee headed in from a set play that began from a free kick by that cunt Endo. 2-1 half time.
Thank Christ I'm not a betting man because I would have put everything on Gamba extending their lead even further in the second half. Never again will I doubt my team to pull off the unthinkable.
47th minute. Tanaka curls in a corner to be met by Komoto's massive melon about 10 feet in the air! Komoto has been our best defender all season, mainly due to his ability to head us out of danger. And when you're a Vissel defender, believe me, you get A LOT of practice. Yesterday he applied this skill at the other end of the field and I certainly hope he continues to. Credit to Tanaka as well. Komoto said in his post-match comments that Tanaka had whispered to him beforehand to attack the near post, and the cross was perfect. Game on again.
No longer were Gamba dominating the game. Possession was still pretty even but we weren't giving the ball away like in the first half, and were using it better in the middle, mainly thanks to God, er... I mean Botti. This period of play saw fewer shots on both goals but finally we could sense we were in with a chance.
57th minute. Ishibitsu starts one of his trademark runs down the right, but instead of taking it down to the byline, he whips in a miraculous early cross which Ogawa somehow bundles into the net for his first professional goal.
We go absolutely nuts!
Right then, we are 3-2 up at Gamba with 30 minutes to go. What do you do?
You defend, defend, defend for your life! Wada employs the tactics that any sane manager would. Everyone takes a couple of steps back, he brings on a midfielder (Edmilson) for a forward (Yoshida), and we try to crowd the midfield. Naturally, they are desperate to get one back and have to bring more people forward putting pressure on us but also creating opportunities for a counter.
Enter Tokushige. Our no.2 literally keeps us in front with a series of fine saves that secured our victory and probably his own place in goal for the rest of the season. To rub salt in their wounds, we grabbed our 4th just before the end when Botti got on the end of a speedy counter attack, finishing in style - just reward for our best player both in this match and throughout the season.
We basically ruined Scumba's slim chance of taking the title (again), and took a step closer to remaining in J1.
What a night.