S-Pulse 2-1 Ventforet Kofu
Omae 14, 57 ------------- Patrick 1
Nihondaira Stadium, KO 3pm
Shizuoka city, Shizuoka Prefecture
DF Muramatsu (18)
MF Sugiyama (22)
MF Honda (38)
Murata on for Takagi (69)
Yoshida on for Kawai (69)
Takeuchi on for (94)
I'll get my moan out the way first. I was a bit under the weather this week, so watched this one from home on TV Shizuoka. Never again. Coverage starting 1 minute before kick off and ending 1 minute after the whistle you can let slide, but replays of nothing but the goals, advert breaks during the action twice per half, and the commentator screaming when the ball went anywhere vaguely near the goal (regardless of any real danger). It drove me mad.
The icing on the cake was when Kofu put the ball in the net after the whistle had gone for a foul. That small detail didn't stop the commentator reeling off the new scoreline and goal scorer at the top of his voice. Only when the co-commentator whispered to him did he stop. Even in you'd missed the whistle, that none of the Kofu players were celebrating must have been a clue? No, TV Shizuoka shouldn't be let anywhere near football coverage until they learn how to do it properly.
Make no mistake, this was a big result. Kofu, while in 15th, have only lost one from their last nine, pulling away, in terms of points at least, from the bottom three. In Patrick I can see one very big reason why they've been on such a good run. The man is immense. Not only in stature, but impact. It was his header in the 30th second which put the visitors in front, and that set out his stall. He was causing all kinds of problems, and when a pass back was a fraction too slow he was there to pounce. Kushibiki got there just in time, and while the deflection off the forward could have gone anywhere, we got the rub of the green on that occasion.
We got another bit of luck to draw level when Kofu's Sasaki made a total mess of a simple header to lay it off to Omae. Still with Sasaki and the keeper to deal with, Genki placed it home to get us back on terms. It was Genki again, who since regaining full fitness has been a revelation since his return. Coupled with Radončić, they've forged a wonderful understanding. Desperately unlucky not to have snatched an equaliser at the death last week, Radon was central to our winner. Just off the top of the penalty area he held it up, laid it off to Muramatsu who played it through to Genki. Omae did the rest.
Kofu will likely stay up as they were no push overs, but we saw out the game and move up to 11th. With four wins from our last five (and last week's defeat a bit harsh, perhaps) we are the form team We go to Hiroshima next week who are playing for the title, so it will be a massive test. A win would put us anywhere up to 8th, on the fringes of the prize money and a couple more wins away from an ACL spot! Over optimistic? Maybe, but I can't help it.
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