S-Pulse 0-0 Kashima Antlers
DF Iwashita (yellow 3)
MF Muramatsu (yellow 61)
MF Brosque (yellow 92)
Takagi on for Ono (57)
Edamura on for Hiraoka (64)
Kobayashi on for Omae (78)
A draw makes only one defeat from our last eight, and you know what? That's pretty good when you look at the opening six games' results. A point yesterday was probably fair, although Kashima always looked the more likely to score. We never really troubled Sogahata in the Kashima goal, but down the other end, Usui played a great game again keeping out the visitors on the two or three times they breached our defences.
Kashima won't be in the bottom half of the table for much longer. They were probably the best team to come to Nihondaira this year and play with a confidence and accomplishment you'd expect from the seven times champions, but I don't think they'll be adding to their title haul for a season or two to come. Regardless, they are a good team and one of the league's better ones and caused us several problems yesterday.
The point takes us up to eighth (before Sunday's games) but only five points off second place so with only a third of the season gone, we have it all to play for and I don't doubt we'll continue to get better. Next up, away in Sendai on Wednesday. The scene of a truly memorable weekend away last November, and a while before that, very nearly sending jubilo to J2, I've been a fan of the club for a while. Sport is sport, so we'll be going to win, but respect to everyone up there for coping and dealing with what has been absolutely unimaginable trauma and hardship.
Miyagi prefecture - Shizuoka salutes you.
(Whoops - the Sendai game is not for ten days yet. Before that it's away in Kofu next Sat.)
Courtesy of UKU Yujiro a couple of pictures. Thanks to receiving a much coveted Photo Pulse invite from a friend I got the chance to tread the hallowed turf of Nihondaira before the game. The pitch is a carpet, the view from it at a packed Kop breathtaking, and I was as happy as a 10 year old (which is pretty much where my brain stopping developing when it comes to football).
To come tonight. It's Sunday afternoon and I'm off to a cat cafe with the other half. Yes, you heard me. a CAT CAFE. :-D
OK, I'm back from the cats. Here's some Ghotbi comments translated back to English from the Japanese.
"Firstly I want to apologise to our supporters for not being able to to show them the attacking football which we aim to. The first half was the worst we've played all season. We were beaten physically all over the pitch. The referee didn't protect us.
We improved in the second half, especially the last twenty minutes when we created chances to win it. Two points I'm satisfied with are 1, we kept a clean sheet for a second game running, and 2, we shut out the best team in the country. That's a great defensive achievement. Especially our young keeper Usui had a great game."
To come when I find some.