Barry writes:S-Pulse 2-2 FC Tokyo
Johnsen 34 ----------------Yonemoto 33
Edamura 69 ---------------Cabore 42
Iwashita sent off 45
I'll start by saying how proud I am of the boys to come back from what seemed an impossible situation. We salvaged a draw with ten men, and while two away goals against is hardly ideal, it means any victory would be enough on Sunday. A decent crowd turned out, including a very good away following. It was roller-coaster of a game, and both sets of fans would have left with mixed emotions.
Personally I was ruing the lack of a home win, but playing the second half a man down we were chasing shadows for minutes at a time as Tokyo stroked the ball around. They went close a number of times, and a third goal would have surely finished this tie off, so I was ecstatic that we could claw ourselves level through Edamura on 69.
We'd gone behind to a long range daisy cutter from Yonemoto. Kaito had his line of sight blocked by some legs which on most days would have got in the ball's way, but not today. It was struck with venom, perfectly directed to the bottom corner, and left Kaito no chance. Straight away Johnsen equalised with a lucky rebound on his header from a corner, but less than ten minutes later, a windy run by Cabore saw our defenders helpless to get a challenge in, and he put it away to give Tokyo the lead.
So it was at half time, but come the second half, come renewed hope. It didn't last long. Within a minute of the restart, Iwashita was sent off. A straight red came after... I'm really not sure what. Have a look at the highlights below (which incredibly don't show a replay of the red card offence) and it's hard to see what happened. I'm going to reserve comment until I've had a good view of it.
2-1 down, a man sent off, and 45 minutes still to play? Yeah, for a moment or two the ranks behind the goal were dumbstruck and possibly wondering how many we were going to lose by. But that kind of thinking has no place at Nihondaira, and after we'd had a minute to dust ourselves down, there was a real sense of purpose and belief as we shouted and sang that bit louder.
Yeah, we lived dangerously on more than one occasion, but we had no choice but to go for broke. The breakthrough came when Edamura latched onto a loose ball after a nice move down the right. His shot, which was surely heading for Gonda's hands, (who had a very solid game) was deflected over him and into the net. We went wild, but still spent the last 20 minutes fearing every counter attack.
We even managed to pull a couple of saves out of Gonda, but time ran down and we felt very happy with the draw. Yep, two away goals conceded ain't great, but given everything, we'll take it. Roll on Sunday and may the best team win!
I can't sign off without a big shout out to Dokool, creator of the FC Tokyo blog Aishiteru Tokyo. It was great to put a face to name, and I'm glad to hear you had a good day and enjoyed Nihondaira (and our cheerleaders!). Let me know if you're going to head down Shizuoka way for the league game in October.
Befriending the enemy!Line Up
GK K. Yamamoto
Hiraoka on for Hyodo (47)
Omae on for Edamura (79)
M. Yamamoto on for Fujimoto (84)
I can't embed these, but here are full highlights.
Here are some embedded highlights, although the order is a but messed up with Johnsen's goal not coming till the end for some reason.
Official match pictures from the S-Pulse homepage can be found here.