Kashima 14 - 3 S-Pulse.
Thankfully that was shots rather than goals. By all accounts Nishibe played a blinder to keep the score all square, and being honest, I'd probably have taken 0-0 before the game. But a mere three shots (that's total shots - on target or not) is pretty pathetic, and it's symptomatic of our season so far. We have the third lowest goals tally in the league, and I honestly can't see anything changing without either A) a signing, or B) one of our many young talents making a sudden greater impact. It was obvious we were always to going to miss Jae-Jin, but the lack of fire power is depressingly apparent most games.
Well, looking on he bright side, 0-0 at a team who just four days ago destroyed Nagoya 4-0 away is not a bad result by any stretch. Our back four must have been doing something right! The scoreline does now mean we have to win at home in the 2nd leg to ensure progression after 90. A score draw will put them through on away goals, while another 0-0 will mean Antlers fans miss their last train home as the game goes into extra time. Still, you can't be afraid to try and win games, and lets not forget we saw off Antlers at home earlier in the year.
The home leg is on Wed August 6th and lets hope we see a few more people down 'Daira than the pitiful turnout at Kashima Stadium this evening. Less than 7000 people bothered, with even bottom-of-the-table JEF getting 1500 more for their clash with Nagoya. For unquestionably the most successful team in Japanese football, Kashima's support is bizarrely low at times. Johnny-come-latelys like Urawa or Albirex dwarf their crowds on a regular basis, with Albirex having never even come close to any silverware!
Ah, well, anyway. It doesn't matter how many goons are in the stands if you're winning games, and that's what we've now got to do next month. We'll be without our quartet of Olympic players which won't help, but come on S-Pa, we'll all be there behind the goal as usual, so don't let us down! Marching on to the semis!!!
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...