A look back over the past 2(ish) weeks…

First, allow us to apologize for the lack of updates over the past fortnight. It’s been an exhausting period at work for myself and Blake has been occupied with the Rugby World Cup back in his native New Zealand to the point where even his wife has to book an appointment to speak with him!

Anyways, you don’t want to hear about our personal woes as you all come here for football updates regarding our beloved Tricolore and, in our absence, we’ve pulled a mostly positive batch of results out of the bag…

First up, after our disappointing draw away at Shimizu S-Pulse, our boys traveled away again but this time to Kyushu to face off against a struggling Avispa Fukuoka team. When we played them at home earlier in the season, they gave us a real fright by taking a 2 goal lead by half-time leaving us with the tall order of having to fight back for a point. This we did admirably thanks to a last minute brace from Yuji Ono to seal a triumphant 3-2 comeback.
However, a lot has happened since then as Avispa have fallen deep into the relegation mire and it’s no secret that they have some big confidence issues. Despite their current form however, we knew this wouldn’t be an easy game as Avispa proved in the opening minutes with a VERY close shot that beat the keeper but was denied by the woodwork. It was in the 11th minute that the only goal of the game materialized thanks to a rather well taken corner from Kano, a nice head back into the center of the box from Aoyama, and a slightly opportunistic but very welcome poke into the back of the net courtesy of Aria. Avispa 0 F.Marinos 1.
Here’s the game highlights:

Next up, we played host a mere three days later to our neighbours, Kawasaki Frontale, in the first round of the knockout stage of the Nabisco Cup at Mitsuzawa Nippatsu Stadium. Anybody following the league this year will know that Frontale have been having a mare of a season with their leaky defence and rubbish looking kit. Naturally, as their neighbours, it was our duty to pile on the woes and that we did by spanking them 4-0 and pretty much ensuring that they will get knocked out of the cup next week in the second leg in front of their frustrated supporters at home! Hehe..
Anyways, actions speak louder than words so enough from me – watch the highlights instead!

Lastly, was the biggest of all three contests as we played against a very in-form Gamba Osaka last weekend to contest the top of the table. As to be expected from a game involving 1st and 2nd placed teams, the game was rough and though there were moments of brilliance to be seen, there were certainly more than a few moments of hesitant play and overall pedestrian motions up and down the pitch. It was in front of a very loud support that the home team took the lead in the 20th minute thanks to nice chipping back-pass from Aria to Hyodo who was lurking just outside the area before the picking the up the ball and smashing it just beneath the crossbar and into the back of the net for an excellent goal to give us an early lead. Unfortunately, our lead wasn’t to be cherished for the full 90 minutes as Gamba came and showed us why they are sitting pretty at the top with a painful equalizer in the 57th minute from Gamba’s Brazilian striker, Rafinha, as he nodded in a textbook header from a corner. Though it was a disappointing way to concede, I think overall that a 1-1 draw was probably fair result considering the chances we both missed and conceded. Oh well, we’ll get ’em next season!

Here’s the highlights:

…And that just about leaves us with a few hours on the clock before we face-off against Vegalta Sendai at Nissan Stadium! Here’s hoping we get the win! Until then…VAMOS!!!

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