The 0-1 defeat at home last week to league leaders Sendai felt like a low blow. The team looked well organized, we were creative in attack, especially down the flanks, and created a lot of chances that, unfortunately, we were unable to finish on the night. Considering our recent form, we were expecting to go for an away win tonight at Omiya, 5 points below us in the league, and it was clear from the get go that this was how Nishino was approaching the match, too.
Both teams were pretty evenly matched in a high paced start before Tanaka ran through on a sweet Ogawa through ball following a long counter attacking pass to finish from a tight angle in what was a rare moment of coolness for him in front of goal. Omiya equalized just 6 minutes later in what appeared to be a very unlucky bounce in front of goal, however, the replay showed we should have dealt with it.
Vissel dominated play going into half time and we seemed to come out the stronger in the 2nd half, too. Our passing game at times was very impressive, with my compatriot even calling it "Barcelona like." Nevertheless, it wasn't long before we came back down to earth to see us make another defensive error at the back which lead to us going behind for the first time. Okui was caught out of position leaving Watabe unmarked to literally slam home their 2nd goal. Instructions thereafter from Nishino were clearly to target Tashiro (the heading master) with crosses from both sides and he didn't let us down. Soma got round his man down the left flank to put in the sweetest of crosses with the ex-Kashima target man rising above 2 defenders to bring us level again.
We controlled play for the remainder of the match, but it just wasn't to be. I can't remember the last time I saw the pace of a game drop so much, no doubt due to the sticky 30 degree conditions. How hot was it? Hot enough for yours truly to work up a sweat just watching it, beer in hand, in air-conditioned comfort in front of the box!
Although the point leaves us in 13th, we are still only 5 points from the top 4, and more importantly, 12 points ahead of Gamba who lost again at home.
|J.League Division 1 - Round 18|
|Omiya Ardija||2||2||Vissel Kobe|
|19:03 Saturday July 14th, 2012|
|NACK 5 Stadium (Attendance: 9,635)|
|AOKI (26')||TANAKA (20')|
|WATABE (67')||TASHIRO (74')|
|GK. EZUMI||GK. TOKUSHIGE|
|DF. MURAKAMI (26')||DF. OKUI|
|DF. KIKUCHI||DF. KITAMOTO|
|DF. FUKAYA||DF. INOHA|
|DF. SHIMOHIRA||DF. SOMA (86')|
|MF. HIGASHI (77')||MF. TANAKA|
|MF. AOKI||MF. HASHIMOTO|
|MF. CARLINHOS||MF. PARK (59')|
|FW. WATABE||MF. NOZAWA|
|MF. SHIMIZU Shintaro||FW. TOKURA (59')|
|FW. CHO (61')||FW. OGAWA|
|GK. SHIMIZU Kei||GK. KAMITA|
|DF. SUZUKI||DF. KOMOTO|
|DF. KATAOKA (26')||DF. TAKAGI|
|MF. UEDA||MF. MORIOKA (59')|
|MF. KANAKUBO (77')||MF. OYA|
|MF. KANAZAWA||FW. TASHIRO (59')|
|FW. HASEGAWA (61')||FW. YOSHIDA (86')|