|Davi do Nascimento 52
||Hideo Oshima 86
Hideo Oshima 87
Topsy-turvy would be an understatement if MOIST used it to describe last Saturday’s game at the magnificent Sapporo Dome. It truly was a rollercoaster of emotion. Before the start of the game we were treated to the ballboys dancing like the cheerleaders as well as a brass band. Let them have their fun, MOIST thought, it’s going to be a long 90 minutes for them.
It was clear from the outset that we were going to stuff poor old Consadole. Koji, playing against a former team for the second week in a row, was imperious in midfield whilst Sakata, in for the suspended Roni, was out to make his mark and retain his place. Once the first goal went in the others would flow like alcohol at an Irish wedding (or baptism, or funeral, or PTA meeting, or kindergarten graduation, or…well, you get the point). We just needed the first goal.
It never came. After 20 minutes it was still 0-0 and a case of “Dear God, I didn’t pay all this money and come all this way for it to be one of those days.” After 44 minutes God was well and truly forsaken as the referee gave Consadole a dubious penalty. The replays clearly show, oh wait, this is Japan, there are no replays. So, take it from MOIST, it was clearly a dubious penalty.
Up stepped Claiton to fire it home and send Sapporo in at the break one up against the run of play and leaving MOIST with a long night to not look forward to.
Except he didn’t.
The ball smacked sweetly against the bar and flew harmlessly into orbit. God was back on the agenda and if fortune wasn’t on our side then MOIST were a monkey’s uncle. Consadole would go in at the break shattered by the miss and never recover. The second half would be a breeze and the goals would fly in right in front of us, the travelling faithful.
7 minutes into the second half MOIST stuggled into a cheap gorilla costume and started snacking down on bananas and assorted fleas. Sapporo had scored. A nothing ball into the box was nicely chested down and Davi, the diving little bugger, was all alone to place the ball in the bottom corner.
30 minutes later they were still one up and God was being asked kindly if a point would be alright and if it wasn’t too much bother for the Almighty could he just run along and deal with that now, his son appearing in ketchup on a hamburger could wait.
And then from nowhere, well, not entirely nowhere but after Sapporo scored they defended very, very well and we didn’t look like we were ever going to break them down. So, then from somewhere, Oshima appeared. Two minutes later we were 2-1 up and it was smiles all round.
Long way home to Yokohama, lads, but we didn’t mind.
Man of the Match: Oshima – Two priceless goals to send us into the Nabisco break in high spirits. Was a tad anonymous at times but MOIST feels Kuwahara might be able to play to his strengths more than Hayano could.
Yokohama F-Marinos: Tetsuya; Yuzo, Yuji, Yusuke; Komiyama (Shimizu 76), Hayuma (Mini Me 81), Naoki, Lopes, Koji; Sakata, Oshima. Subs: Iikura, Ogura, Aria, Hyodo, Mini-me, Shimizu, Mizunuma.
Kuwahara: “Todays game was of critical importance. I suspected that it would be a difficult game and duly conveyed my concerns to the players before the game. Evidently my suspicions turned out to be correct. If only we could have capitalized on some of our chances early in the game then we wouldn’t have had such a tough hill to climb…
Nevertheless, I would like to extend my gratitude to the players for refusing to give-up and for single-mindedly focusing on the task in hand until the very last minute.
Sapporo’s defence exceeded our expectations as they defended their goal tenaciously and made it difficult for us to find the net.
Komiyama was beginning to look tired and having trouble making his mark on the game so I brought him off for Shimizu. Tanaka Hayuma too, was having similar problems so I replaced him with Yamase Yukihiro in the hope of making use of his left foot.
There was little time remaining on the clock and we were having no success in our attacks from the flanks that I decided upon an ‘all or nothing’ style approach. Despite his height advantage, Oshima was being nullified and having trouble getting on the end of the balls he was played so I made a change in tactics so that we could get the ball to him. Oshima was our top scorer last season and although he likes to make use of his height, he has also been working diligently on his footwork in training and has really started to show improvement which I can confidently say he has shown us today.
2 wins in a row is great but its still too early to go overboard about it in terms of comments. Coming from behind in tough games like this and going on to win is a confidence builder for the players and great for the overall team atmosphere. From this point on, I want us to continue our winning run so we can get a head start over our opponents in the table.”
Oshima: “Regarding the 2nd goal, Koji made a powerful shot on goal and I knew that the Goalkeeper would have trouble holding on to it so I anticipated a fumble, read the play and took my chance. Being preempted by the opponent is what I hate the most so I just wanted to do whatever I could to score our first goal.
If we had lost today, I feel it would have rendered last weeks victory meaningless. I want to face the Kashima game next week with a strong challenging spirit.”
Koji: “Sapporo had a strong formation and a tight defence in front of goal. We played a strong formation but just couldn’t snatch a goal when needed. However, throughout the 90 mins we played we didn’t lose our balance and remained firm so I feel we can attribute our victory to our resilience more than anything.”
Matsuda: “Following on from last weeks game, the coach had some interesting views on this weeks game. He said “We could be unlucky and concede a goal but, if we score 2 goals, we will win” so I was really surprised that his forecast came true!. This is the one game that we definitely had to win – a loss would have been unacceptable. Winning this game was a big deal for us.”