Sagan Tosu 0-1 S-Pulse
--------------------------------------------- Muramatsu 65
DF Hiraoka (73)
DF Jong a Pin (58)
DF Lee (45)
Brosque on for Ishige (58)
Kang (94) on for Takagi (91)
That's now four wins on the trot. Short-handed against the league leaders, 4-3 away at 2010's champions and a still very strong Nagoya, 3-2 home against the same opposition, and victory away at a team who had only conceded three at home all year.
The long-term process of separating the wheat from the chaff recently took another step forward, the formation is evolving to deal with it, and the results have been showing things are working. Muramatsu coming back from London was a big help no doubt, but to a man, yesterday's starting XI was a team of men here to play football. The only way it should be, but with such a fine balance of power in J1, so often the difference between success and failure.
Tosu are a team of hard grafters and that's reflected in their position in the table. They've surprised a lot of people, and it may not always be pretty, but they're not down there with Gamba Osaka and Niigata fighting for J1 survival, so more power to them. Yesterday's win on their patch, a place with such a stingy and tight defence, cannot be overstated. Another result born of hard work, so all credit to the lads.
Next up it's all off to Ecopa for a game which could propel us up to the ACL positions. A rejuvenated Urawa team are in forth this year after barely staying up last season. A change in manager to the no-nonsense Petrovic has again shown how a team can be an entirely different prospect when actually focused on playing football.
Should be a cracking battle, but alas, I'll be at a UKU founding member's wedding in Yokohama. She has, however, thoughtfully scheduled the main ceremony to end in time for us to get to a sports bar. The evening reception then starts after the full time whistle. Top work, that girl!
Onwards and upwards!
Until full highlights appear, here's a personal video of Olympian Muramatsu's header. His first professional goal, no less!
And a cracking cross from Jong-a-Pin met perfectly by Kim. Beat his marker, timed his run to perfection, got on the end of it. If he'd hit the target the keeper had no chance. I like what I see so far! Looking forward to Kim's next few games.
500 miles? Piece of cake. Our travelling army enjoying their hard earned kachiloco. Legends - the lot of you!
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...