Nagoya 2-3 S-Pulse
Kennedy 20 --------------- Takagi (T)
Tulio 36 --------------------- Hiraoka 73
--------------------------------- Novaković 80
Toyota City, Aichi prefecture
MF Takagi T.
Honda on for Takeuchi (55)
Murata on for Takagi T. (69)
Jakovic on for Sugiyama (89)
After today's fantastic performance to come from behind S-Pulse fans were not allowed to celebrate with their traditional kachiloko or ganya. Why? Because the club have banned us from singing unless the team is on the pitch. Banned. From singing. We're not allowed to dance kachiloko, or revel in any of our victories unless the players happen to be around to hear it.
The reasoning goes, and last year's derby has predictably been (mis)used as justification, that to enjoy our victory dance (as we have for years, obviously with no incident) can be seen as provocation. Of who? The other fans, apparently. Bare in mind this is Japan, one of the world's most placid (not to say unpassionate, which it very much is) supporter cultures in the world, and you have a severe case of over thinking things.
Will we still be allowed to sing Oja no Hata? Of course we will. But wait, the players are never around for that, so won't the away fans be provoked by this brazen display of joy? Seriously, is it even necessary to find holes in this nonsense? Here's hoping sense prevails and the rule is dropped as soon as possible.
Well, what a shame I had to start the season with a whinge. Especially since on the pitch S-Pulse did the business beautifully. Today was a wonderful come back against Nagoya who, under their new gaffer Nishino, were a tough side to break down. Both sides were wobbly at times, which is to be expected so early on in the season, but three goals sets us up well for the coming weeks.
It was hard to argue with the scoreline at half time, as Grampus made, and took, their chances, but the same hesitancy witch cost us for Tulio's well taken but frustrating-to-
give-away goal afflicted the home team. Flatfooted defending allowed Hiraoka to steal in and nod home from a corner to level the score heading into the last quarter. Not long after, a copy of Kennedy's first half strike came from Novaković to give us the lead, and we didn't surrender it. The big man took his strike brilliantly.
This marks our first opening day victory since 2007, and at times we looked pretty good. Next week we welcome Yokohama F. Marinos to town for our first home game. We lost 5-0 last season, but I cannot see a repeat this year. Roll on Saturday!
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