Kashiwa 2-2 S-Pulse
Suzuki 45 ------------------- Muramatsu 51
Kudo 93 ---------------------- Ito 56
KO 7pm, Hitachi Soccer Stadium
Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture
DF Yoshida (31)
MF Sugiyama (50)
Ishige on for Muska (66)
Takagi on for Ito (93)
Given I'm the last person in the world you could call a neutral, it may come as something of a surprise to see me start this write up with the words: what a brilliant game of football. Well, it was. I was as gutted as the everyone when Reysol got out of jail in the 93rd minute to snatch a point. I spent just as long as everybody else swearing, lamenting the amount of stoppage time, and generally saying It's not fair, which is something grown men can get away with when it's wrapped up in football terminology.
When all is said and done though, a 2-2 draw was fair. In fact when the dust settles, it is the home fans who will be disappointed. It's us S-Pulse lot who can be happy with a point on the road. If you saw the game you will have witnessed Kashiwa batter us for a lot of the first half. Statistics rarely tell the whole story, and that was true tonight. Recorded at half time as having 0 shots (amended during the ad break to 1), we were under the cosh, sure, but created a couple of very real goal scoring chances ourselves. Most memorable was Musaka working his way into the area, then skinning the defender to cut inside and get a cross in. If Bare was but two inches taller, that would have been the opener.
The home team did have the better of it though, and were not to be denied. On the stroke of half time they finally made the break through. It was a crushing blow, but no doubt woke us up to the reality of the situation. I say no doubt, because when the 2nd half started we were reborn. Overwhelming the home team after the restart, within a little over ten minutes we were in the lead. A quite remarkable turnaround.
Both goals came from Kawai's assists. The first especially impressive as he swept up left wing before swinging in a perfect cross for Muramatsu. The second after an exchange with Bare (who scored six goals away at Kashiwa in 2005 with Kofu. SIX!) let him pick out a free floating Ito Sho who headed home. The wet conditions helped see Sugeno fumble the ball into the net, but the move deserved a goal as much as Reysol's slack defending warranted punishment.
It wasn't quite a smash and grab, as we continued to threaten for some time after that, but the last 10 minutes were all Kashiwa. When they did finally equalise it was hard to begrudge them. They may have even won it after the equaliser, which would have had me incapable of writing anything whatsoever about the game, but they didn't. That's what they'll be lamenting when they've calmed down. For a game they might have had wrapped up at half time, it went begging. A stoppage time equaliser should have been, if anything, a stoppage time winner.
For that reason I'm happy with the point. I'm also happy with the way we turned it around. No mean feat at the home of the 2011 champions. We roared out the traps aafter the restart and showed real heart to get back into it. So yep, there you go. 2-2, which wouldn't have had me distraught if you'd told me this morning that's how it was going to end.
No game now for a fortnight. When we're back it's another midweek night game. Home to FC Tokyo, Wednesday 31st July at 7pm. Be there or be square!
To come as soon as I find some.
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...