I really don't get it this season. There have been so many games where I've watched safe in the knowledge that we were playing better football or were the better team and then later have headed home disappointed. Games that should have been victories turning into draws, and when we should get a point we often end up with nothing. Frustrating to say the least.
Oka-chan, my personal hero, got us off to a good start a brisk 6 minutes in and although it was one -all at half time I felt we were evenly matched and we had a good shot at winning the game, but I would have settled for a draw given that Grampus have been one of the better sides this year and that we were away from home. Yajima came on and blasted a beautiful little number into the top right-hand corner of the net and confirmed my belief - for yes, we STILL believe - that we could win.
And then what happens? Nishibe decides that he hasn't done his clown routine for a while and true to form, royally buggers it up and gifts Nagoya an equalizer. My fellow UK Ultras and I had a hard time believing it really happened, especially after a great save in the first half. (Speaking of saves, the Nagoya goalie had to go to some length to keep us out in the first, just catching a great little shot with the tips of his fingers, lucky git.) Unfortunately Grampus rapidly followed their equalizer with a free kick by Tamada and put themselves into the lead.
But still, we believers declared that all was not lost and there were a solid 30 minutes for us to equalize, possibly even take the lead again. And certainly we dominated the last half hour with Grampus only breaking away a few times, giving us one very hairy moment towards the end when it looked like being an extremely unjust result of 4-2. Honestly, I think I would have cried. Despite pounding the pressure and the addition of Hara, we just couldn't get the ball to hit the back of the net. Too many silly shots squandered, too many occasions when the ball was passed to the invisible man, and too many mistakes.
I guess that's football, and its just the way the cookie crumbles... but I would really like to see us playing the way I know we can. So much young talent in the team willing to score, so lets see them do it!
That said, good to see Okazaki in the starting line up again, he's clearly hungry for first team football and is getting the ball in the net regularly, hopefully a few more games will see him increase his goal tally, and Hara too if he gets on the park sooner in future.
Oh, and it has to be said - both Shizza and I were impressed with the way Nagoya didn't waste time messing around in the last ten minutes - so many other teams do, especially when there is real danger of your opponents getting that equalizer. Then again, maybe they didn't perceive any danger...