S-Pulse 1-0 Urawa Red Diamonds
GK K. Yamamoto
DF Bosnar (yellow 15)
MF Jong-a-Pin (yellow 38)
Edamura on for Takagi (55)
Hiraoka on for Bosnar (65)
Nagai on for Ljungberg (76)
Blistering heat, horrible jetlag, but at least we won and made it 4-0 against Saitama's two teams this year. I woke up less than three hours before kick off meaning a mad dash to make it out to Ecopa in time. For a home game, Ecopa's a mission, but it does make a change and means for the big games noone is left without a ticket. All told, less than 22000 is a disappointing gate, but at the end of the day we had 2000 more than could have fit in Nihondaira.
Anyway, we won. On the first half we deserved it. Urawa twice broke through one on one but lacked the quality to make them count. But for our part, Nabeta nearly opened the scoring, Genki would have done had he directed his shot better, and Jong a Pin crashed one shot against the bar, and another was only denied only by an excellent save by Kato.
The second half was much more evenly balanced, but Urawa lack teeth. Escudero kept falling over (diving) and otherwise making a mess of things. He either had a bad game or he's just crap. As time wore on, and especially after we took the lead, Urawa looked more and more desperate and rarely troubled Kaito for all their possession.
Tsujio's excellent trickery down the right wing and dart into the box was enough to give the breakthrough just past the hour. Genki was there to take it down and poke it home in one movement. Freddie had a good game. His vision is excellent and the only problem was his surrounding players not always anticipating him. We've seen this happen with Ono though, so give it time while everyone gets up to speed with the Swede's lightening decision making.
Next week we play Kawasaki who have just won their first game after nine defeats. Fingers crossed it's a mere blip in their otherwise disastrous season. :)
ADDITIONAL: It's worth mentioning this was a game without our captain or top scorer. That's all.