So our impressive run of 5 consecutive wins finally came to an end when we faced off against our old friends, Omiya Ardija at the Nack5 stadium last night. Omiya Ardija have long been the one team that we simply can’t seem to beat and, going in ahead of this game, I was secretly hoping we could nick a draw off them because I just couldn’t bring myself to dare hope for a victory.
…And if you saw last night’s game, you’ll know why…
Thankfully my wish came true. I would have a loved all 3 points but we have yet to get 3 points (at least, not as far I can remember) from the Nack5 so a point was enough to keep me happy. Unfortunately the game itself was pretty lackluster where we were concerned as we pretty much allowed Omiya to dominate both halves. How we took the lead was beyond me as it was glaringly obvious to anyone that the lion-share of the ball possession and chances made on goal were created by the Orange squirrels.
Our defence had a tough time keeping them at bay but it was a lucky break in the 37th minute that saw us take the lead when Ono Yuji headed in a corner from Nakamura Shunsuke. It was a tight goal and rather hard to see with many people scratching their heads wondering who scored. At first it was announced as a Nakamura goal but come half-time, the recognition was correctly given to Ono.
The second half wasn’t much better for us as our back-line had to fall back and pick up the pieces time and time again no thanks to an in-form Rafael. We almost came close to securing another shortly into the second half when Kobayashi latched onto a pass down the right wing from Nakamura before crossing it into the box for Oguro. Oguro timed his run perfectly and nodded the ball towards the goal but the keeper made an impressive goal-line save to keep the score at 1-0.
It was soon after Oguro’s near goal that Omiya really turned up the heat and threw everything they had at us. Our defence had an extremely tough time keeping Ardija at bay with Iikura saving our blushes more times than I could count. As was to be expected, Yokohama couldn’t keep the wall up all day and in the 74th minute, Omiya equalized with a neat cut-in from the left wing before laying it off to a charging Rafael who smashed the ball home to give the sea of Orange in the stands something to sing about.
In closing, both teams were looking physically weary but Omiya didn’t take their foot off the gas until the very last second. Fortunately we got a draw but Omiya certainly could have come away with a lot more than just a point last night. I guess we shall thank our lucky stars then…
The draw last night puts us in 1st position in the table on goal difference. This is the first time THIS SEASON that somebody other than Kashiwa has occupied the spot so we had better ensure that we stay there because winning it back will prove very difficult. Kashiwa really ARE that good. Let’s not underestimate them anymore…
Here’s the highlights:
Omiya Ardija: Kitano, Sugiyama, Fukaya, Kim, Murakami, Aoki, Ueda, Higashi, Fujimoto, Lee, and Rafael.
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Kurihara, Nakazawa, Hato, Ogura, Taniguchi, Nakamura, Hyodo, Ono, and Watanabe.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Ono → Oguro (46), Watanabe → Kunhoan (72), Nakamura → Amano (83)
Goals: Ono (37), Rafael (74)