Ventforet Kofu 0-2 S-Pulse
----------------------------------------------------- Lee Ki-Je 59
----------------------------------------------------- Bare 83
Chou Bank Stadium, Kofu City
May 12th 2013, Kick off 5pm
DF Hiraoka (72)
DF Lee Ki-Je
Ito on for Takagi (35)
Hiroi on for Ishige (73)
Takaki on for Takeuchi (93)
OK, we'll get the moan out of the way first: Chuo Bank Stadium is an awful place to watch football. Kofu's nice, the local food is top quality and the area around the ground is as scenic as it gets, but the stadium itself is a nightmare. Miles from the pitch, no roof, and not even any cover behind the stands. I mention this because it rained. All day.
Right, enough whinging. That was a cracking away day topped off with a hard fought victory against a decent Kofu side. It was a game of having to adapt. From the outset we were still without Jong a Pin, and we also had to contend with an early substitution for Takagi. His hamstring was giving him issues so Ito took over just half an hour into the game. Then on 72 minutes Ortigoza threw himself over under zero contact from Hiraoka, and Yasuhiro saw a straight red. The Kofu forward was through on goal, but the ball was getting away from him. He knew it, he took the dive, and the ref was fooled. Very harsh on Hiraoka who is the last player to take someone down that cynically.
It was a tough game in the wet conditions, with the home team hitting the woodwork at one stage. My recollection isn't the greatest, in main to the poor view. The running track meant not a great deal beyond the halfway line was discernible with any accuracy. Fortunately for the travelling masses, both our goals came down our end, the first in the unlikely form of a Lee Ki-Je thunderbolt. Pressing up on the left, he picked up the ball and instead of going wide was allowed space to cut inside. Approaching the box he saw his chance and crashed it home.
The red for Hiraoka came with twenty minutes still to go so we were set for a long final quarter. It was looking like going as you'd expect with the wind firmly in Kofu's sails, but a lightening counter attack won the game. All credit has to go to Yoshida who, in not only preventing a corner, pushed it high upfield to Sho Ito was was right on top of it. Remaining on his feet after a clumsy challenge, the ref played a good advantage, which allowed Sho to lay a perfectly weighted ball off to Bare. Our view couldn't have been better as the Brazilian bore down on the keeper before placing it home with all the calmness in the world.
The two goal cushion left Kofu deflated and ensured a comfortable conclusion to the game, even one man down. The win continues our excellent form on the road and is a good response to the two defeats last weekend. After the kachiloko, in which the last two hours standing in the rain was forgotten, we left the free car parking (nice one, Kofu!) and headed for celebratory houtou. Houtou is some of the best warm-you-up food in Japan / Asia / the world, and if you're ever in the area you simply have to try it.
The games keep coming thick and fast this month, and next is Shonan in the league cup. Shonan are already eliminated with two group stage games still remaining, whereas and a win for us would leave us one game from qualification for the quarter finals. Wednesday, 7pm at Nihondaira. See you there!