Sagan Tosu 0-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
---------------------------------^----------- Bare 70
Best Amenity Stadium, Tosu
GK Hayashi (90+2)
DF Lee Ki-Je
MF Lee Min-Soo
FW Bare (45+2)
Ishige on for Lee Min-Soo (83)
Hiroi on for Takagi (93)
In torrential rain and wind we claimed our first three points of the season against the recently free-scoring Sagan Tosu. Tosu, who had scored 8 in their last two games, were consistently frustrated as a rejuvenated S-Pulse defence, which welcomed back Lee Ki-Je and Hiraoka, held firm for a first clean sheet of the year.
It was our first win, and Tosu's first loss. After our shocking March, we desperately needed a solid defensive display. Today we got it, in no small part to Lee's return which gave us our first full strength back four of the year. We benefited hugely from his presence keeping Tosu under control. Jong-a-Pin, desperately out of sorts of late, looked more like himself, no doubt helped by his regular defence around him.
Bare began his season tally with a well taken goal on the edge of the area. With two defenders on him and his back to the keeper, it was only a half chance really. But he took it brilliantly to swivel and belt it along the wet surface, under the keeper. Not long after Takagi could have doubled our lead, connecting with Bare's cross, but a reaction save saw to that.
Three points rewards our travelling fans and gives us a very welcome boost ahead of next week's derby with Jubilo. Speaking of which, Maeda finally opened his account this evening with a goal against Urawa. This means his so-called death goal, or the Maeda curse is layed upon the Red Diamonds. Will they get relegated? Will they bollocks, but they will finish mid table if tonight's performance was anything to go by. Well anyway, we can go into the derby not worrying about daft curses and what not.
Roll on next week! A win could send Iwata to the bottom of the table! Before I sign off, if you haven't yet, check out this article I wrote on the history of some of Japan's derby days. You can find it here at Ghotbi's personal website.
Short highlights below, with longer highlights at this link.