Fukuoka 2-2 S-Pulse
Ramazotti 66 -------------- Iwashita 61 (pen)
Nakamachi 68 ------------- Bosnar 64
GK K. Yamamoto
MF Jong a Pin
MF Brosque (yellow 67)
Sugiyama (yellow 93) on for Takagi (68)
Ito on for Takahara (90)
Late, as promised. Fukuoka is a belting city, and they have a cracking stadium, but my one minor gripe is that the incline of the seats behind the goal just isn't steep enough to make out the far end properly. Apart from that, top marks. I also went down to (most probably) next season's Kyushu J1 representatives, and Sagan Tosu too boast a stunning football only ground with access Nihondaira would kill for (if stadiums could kill for things).
Give it time and we could see Kyushu rising as a power in J1. The all pervasive baseball consumes most sporting conciousness, but they have the infrastructure in place for footer. A good couple of years with some momentum built up there could be a power shift in Japanese football.
As for the game, I can only imagine how hard it must be motivating yourself for a meaningless game against relegated opposition, but the travelling fans deserved a bit more. We created few chances in the first half (I just checked the stats and we had one shot on goal) and Ono's (who was rested) captaincy and leadership were missed. Jong a Pin, as has often been the case, was a stand out, though. He's been a great signing.
The second half was better, but until the goal we weren't especially looking the more likely to score. A handball off a Ljungberg shot led to a penalty which for some reason Iwashita took. He made no mistake, but it was an unexpected choice, and were we in the running for anything other than prize money I doubt he'd have taken it. Two minutes later Bosnar walloped a freekick home which we've not seen for a while, and we had just long enough to think that was job done before a header came off Ota's head and looped over Kaito into the net. 2-1.
Two minutes later and we'd lost our lead and the game's explosive seven minutes were over. A couple of half chances for the home team was all that was really left, and it was game over. Hardly vintage S-Pulse, but it means we've only lost one in our last eleven. No league game now until the 20th when we have a chance to throw a spanner into Kashiwa's works but before that Gainare Tottori in the cup on the evening of the 16th.
Not his exact words but, ah, you know the drill by now.
Firstly, I'm been really impressed with such a beautiful city as Fukuoka and am happy to have come here. And this stadium is maybe the most beautiful in Japan. I want to congratulate Fukuoka. The ran and fought for 90 minutes.
I thought if we could get the first goal we could then control the game, and we did. After we got the second, I thought that we'd be in complete control, but we let in a strange goal. The opponent's header came off the top of Ota's head and floated in over Kaito. At 2-1 the stadium came back to life and with that momentum they made it 2-2.
The only vid I've found so far - poor Ota. :(