S-Pulse 2-2 Nagoya
Novakovic 30 ーーー-ー Tanabe 21
Own Goal 60 -------------- Nagai 54
Saturday November 22nd, 5pm
IAI Stadium Nihondaira
DF Jakovic (42, 90)
DF Yoshida (53)
FW Takagi T
Ishige on for Musaka (73)
Murata on for Takeuchi (83)
G. Miura on for Takagi T (91)
As the relegation dogfight entered the end game, at the other end of the table, with the predictability of Urawa throwing away a seemingly unassailable lead, Urawa continued to do their best to through away a seemingly unassailable lead. Former S-Pulse boss Kenta Hasegawa has his Gamba team looking every bit like overhauling the Red Diamonds and their hoards of relentlessly booing fans to snatch the title. Meanwhile down the bottom, Kenta's former teammate Oenoki saw his team put in another mediocre display, saved only by Omiya and Cerezo Osaka not seizing the opportunity to close the gap.
Despite Shimizu playing with a man advantage for half an hour, Nagoya, with nothing to play for bear in mind, was still the team who could have most easily won the game. Only a huge let off when Kawamata couldn't beat Kushibiki, and then Jakovic earning a second yellow by pulling back a Nagoya forward, saved us a point. Our first equaliser effectively came via an assist from Grampus keeper Narazaki, and our second goal (a cross deflected in off Tulio's chest) came while Kawamata lay flat out having collided hard with the woodwork. Although he hadn't hit his head, it was a brave decision by the ref to allow play to continue.
It's the nature of the beast that teams in the bottom five are not very good and aren't going to win most of the their games, but given we were a solid mid table team in the summer, it's incredibly frustrating to see us flail around at the wrong end of the table. Away to Kashiwa on Saturday, and without Jakovic. A point could potentially be enough to claim safety, but I can't see it. I expect it to go to the final week. It should never have come to this.
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