0-0 again. What was that I was saying pre-season about our new-found fire-power up front? :-D
Week two, our first home game of the season, over 19000 packed in to Nihondaira, and what do they get treated to? A goal-less draw. Darn.
It was a game of two halfs, with us looking distinctly under the kosh for the first 45. We spent a lot of it in our own half, and Marinos were by far the more likely to score. We lost possession far too easily and there was not a great deal to cheer about for the packed S-Pulse end. Saying that, we did manage to hit the woodwork before the break, when we clearly had a good dressing down from Kenta.
The second half we looked a lot better, but the 3-4-3 played by Marinos was in reality 5-2-3 with the wingers playing so deep we were very effectively restricted in getting down the wings. Each long ball hoofed up front was met by groans from those around me, and it wasn't until Yamamoto was taken off for Paulo on 56 that we started to show some decent direction and purpose in our play. He didn't put a foot wrong, and the whole mood of the game changed with his introduction. I would have had him start ahead of Yamamoto even before this game, and after yesterday, I'm going to very surprised if he's not in he starting eleven against Nagoya next week.
Hara, brought on for Okazaki on 76, continued to justify his last year young player of the year short-listing by doing what he does best: running fearlessly at defenders. He went very close to grabbing a winner, and if the game had been 100, not 90, minutes, we would have probably found a way through. Alas, 90 minutes is all you get, and it took us an hour to start threatening the visitors, so we've only ourselves to blame.
In a day where the subs stole the show, Jungo was given a rapturous reception when he was introduced on 82. We were there when he broke his leg at Omiya last July, so it was fantastic to see him back in action. He was only on for 10 minutes, but he looked sharp and has clearly missed his football. The sooner he's back as a starting member the better. He has a real hunger and energy about him which we've dearly missed. Welcome back Jungo!
Saturday was frustrating to say the least, but again, I don't see any cause for panic. The booing at the end of the game was a little bit much in my opinion, especially when you put our opening results in context. We drew 0-0 with Marinos and Omiya, and while Marinos had scored twice in their previous game, Omiya scored three times today. It's still too early in the season to be making too much of such stats, but we've not yet conceded, and that makes us the only team in J1 with none against. Compare that with Jubilo, who have conceded ten, count em, TEN goals in two games.
So in summary, for next week, I expect a starting 11 not too much unlike yesterday, but I do want to see Paulo in from the start. Over to you, Kenta.
Line ups etc:
The second highest crowd of the day, no less.
Paulo for Yamamoto (56)
Hara for Okazaki (76)
Fujimoto for Hyodo (82)
A real mixed reception at the end of what was a pretty frustrating game.
Read Mike Tuckerman's report of the game here.