S-Pulse 1-1 Yamagata (AET)
Bosnar 109 -----------------Tashiro 107
(S-Pa win 5-4 on Pens)
GK K. Yamamoto
DF Iwashita (yellow 118)
MF Ono (yellow 41)
Omae on for Ono (70)
M. Yamamoto on for Fujimoto (88)
Kijima on for Omae (111)
Well, that was a novel way to spend a Christmas afternoon. :) Due to the way the calender fell this year, it was all down to Daira on the 25th for the quarter final of the cup. 90 minutes in the bitterly cold wind, followed by 30 more of extra time, more than once I considered the warmth of my kotatsu and a nicely chilled Asahi. But we're lucky in Japan in that there are very few games held in the winter months, so if I couldn't rouse myself to shout us on to the semi finals, I wouldn't be much of a fan, eh?
It was a long old haul, but we saw it through. The tension going into the second half of extra time exploded when Yamagata took the lead through Tashiro. It left us stood staring in silence at the blue and white masses cavorting around the terraces. It was a scene of euphoric bedlam that would have been pretty impressive were it not so sickeningly annoying.
But we were soon jumping around hugging total strangers thanks to the big fella Bosar. He rose to flick a corner into the top right which sailed majestically past the despairing keeper. After a couple of close calls for both teams, to penalties it went. All five of our heroes hit the net, and with Yamagata's second kicker's effort being stopped by Kaito, our season is extended another four days.
Wednesday we're all off to Ecopa to face defending champions Gamba Osaka in what is our fifth cup semi final appearance in three years. Only once out of the other four did we get through to the final, so the law of averages is surely on our side! :-D See you there!
Full video of the shoot out: