Kawasaki 1-1 S-Pulse
Ito 92 ------------------------------Iwashita 77
Just when we threaten to put a run together capable of closing the gap on Kashima we go and let three points slip through our fingers in the most infuriating of circumstances. Yeah, I'd have probably taken this result before the game, but going into three minutes of stoppage time 1-0 up we conspired to give away countless free kicks and hand a share of the spoils on a plate to the home team.
The string of free kicks awarded by the ref ultimately culminated in a foul perfectly positioned for an excellent cross to be swung on to the head of Ito. He put it home and Iwashita's opener was cancelled out. Kawasaki had been all over us for the final ten minutes, hitting the post once and making Kaito work his hardest as they swarmed all over our half of the pitch, so the goal wasn't a great surprise.
Kawasaki have to next face Kashima, Urawa and G. Osaka in three games which will pretty much make or break their season. As for us, we have the (on paper) less daunting prospect of Omiya, Yamagata and Kobe. All winnable, and if we hope to make an ACL spot, then we pretty much have to take maximum points from them. Before all that, it's FC Tokyo in the semi final of the cup. Home on Wednesday, away on Sunday.
GK K. Yamamoto
Paulo on for Hyodo (67)
Fujimoto on for Edamura (74)
Click here for The Rising Sun's report of the evening. In my report above I held my tongue regarding the free kick which led to the goal as I didn't want to sound like it was just sour grapes talking, but Matsu at The Rising Sun clearly had an issue with it too. It certainly felt like we were giving away a crazy number of free kicks in stoppage time, and maybe I wasn't just being paranoid after all...
Further to my above comment about the free kick, I just found this video which shows first, Ichikawa getting called for offside when he was a good yard or two onside, and then second, Okazaki getting penalised for that foul. Hard to see too much without a replay, but any contact seems pretty minimal and the Kawasaki player went to ground only when it was apparent the ball was getting away from him:
Just to be clear on that "offside":
2Not only is he clearly onside, he's in his own half! In this video you can see Kenta's reaction who is right behind the linesman and had the same view of it. I'm not sure I subscribe to the crooked official theory, but both this and the free kick appear to be very poor decisions by the linesman and the ref. Very bad officiating by rookie referee Masaki Nabeshima, and these mistakes changed the outcome of the game. Permission to feel hard-done-by?