Omiya Ardija 1-1 Yokohama F.Marinos

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:

Starting lineups
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)

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4 Responses to Omiya Ardija 1-1 Yokohama F.Marinos

  1. Daniel says:

    I think the boys were extremely lucky as mentioned. it seemed even Coach Kimura was happy to escape the Saitama hell with a point. I wonder if Oguro had directed the ball anywhere but where he did on that header that we could have stolen the 3 pts. For me Oguro is freaking useless.. there I said it. He’s been a bitter let down for me this season. It’s good to see Ono pop one in as he has been working tirelessly the past few matches.

  2. Tony Dee says:

    Well, we limped to the top of the table, which – without wanting to be too harsh – seems somewhat appropriate, I think. We’ve had flashes of brilliant play but at both ends have had lapses – we’re still vulnerable to the occasional brain explosion but generally we can scramble and cover, in this regard Bomber has been immense – and missed plenty of goal-scoring opportunities *cough* Oguro *cough*. Left-brain is frustrated that we are unable to find the fluidity in play of teams such as Gamba and Reysol, but Right-brain sees our goal difference, sees the foundation of our game being built on defensive accountability. We’ve also ground out or snatched results that we wouldn’t have last season. Amazingly, for all the improvement needed that one could point to, we are sitting on top of the table…

    Looking at the stats, we have 34 points from 10 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses. 4th in goals scored, 2nd on goals conceded, best GD in the league and only Grampus have had fewer losses than us. After 17 games last season we were 9th, with 25 points from 7 wins, 4 draws and 6 losses. 4th on goals scored, equal 5th on goals conceded, and 8 teams had better GD.

    Regarding scoring, we’ve scored 8 more goals than at this point last season; Watanabe was our top scorer last season with 8 but already has 7 to his name in 2011, whilst Oguro has 4 and should have had a few more…

    Given the league average points for 1st place at the end of a 34 game season is 67.5 (median is 68.25), we’ll need to go at least as well in the second half of the season in order to maintain our position. For purposes of qualification to the ACL, the average number of points for the 4th place getter is 56.66.

    A week or so ago Shunsuke was quoted (on goal.com) as saying the team is starting to come together. So I’m hoping the second half of the season will produce even better results than the first, and our CEO will be able to keep his job… Oh, and another quote on goal.com this week by caoch Kimura: “It would be great if the season stopped now” 😛 Still a long way to go…

    Oh and my apologies for not getting to meet you guys at the Derby – I had all but given up getting to the game (due to circumstances beyond my control), but on the day it worked out. After the match I went into the middle of the home end, but in the bedlam was unable to find any western faces. Hopefully next time…

  3. Brendan says:

    Thanks for the comments guys and apologies for the slow response…

    You guys are not alone in your frustrations concerning Oguro. Though he has some games where he can show some real brilliance and score a goal from nothing, he quite often spends long periods of playing time trying to crack the ball at the away supporters waving their flags. He IS a useful player to have but unfortunately he’s not as consistent as we would hope.

    Wow! Thanks for the stat comparison Tony!!
    I was actually going to sit down and do that myself but have been really pressed for time of late so I’m really happy you did the job for us!! 😉
    It’s certainly very interesting to see how we’ve improved on last seasons form especially after we got rid of the “old guard”. You’re right in saying that we have concentrated on building a team from the backline forwards as it shows when watching how much better organized we are linking play from the defence to midfield. For all the changes we’ve made though, I still can’t help but feel we’re lacking something up front. Kazuma and Ono are great but don’t neccessarily play well together and having Oguro there doesnt fill me with a huge amount of confidence should we need somebody to step and save the day. I know we have Kim Kunhoan on hand but despite his skills, he’s not primarily a striker so putting our expectations on him would be a little unfair…

    All in all, we are doing better and scoring more goals when it counts – even if the standard of play has been rather lackluster at times.
    I’m confident that we have what it takes to qualify for the ACL next year so long as we keep doing whatever it is that we are doing right. Right now, my biggest concern is Gamba and of course Kashiwa who are proving to be real contenders themselves.

    As for not hooking up at the Kanagawa derby, it’s no problem at all mate! I’m fact, I only made it to the second half myself due to a sudden engagement that presented itself the night before. Maybe next time eh?!

  4. DanCourt says:

    WOOO!! HOOOO!! Roll on tonight. Let’s get behind the boys!! WOOO!! HOOO!!HOOO!! HOOOOOO!!………COWABUNGA!!

    Sorry. But hey, waddya gonna do?

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