After 4 hours of train riding, 70 minutes of cavorting with the enemy, and waking up in the middle of the night to watch the 20+ minutes of soccer I was not able to catch because of the train trip, I am now finally ready to report to you what I saw on my visit to Ajinomoto Stadium.
Anyhow........here is the lineup
GK 1 Yuta MINAMI
DF 2 Ryo KOBAYASHI DF 7 Hidekazu OTANI DF 32 Kazunari OKAYAMA DF 13 Yuzo KOBAYASHI
MF 28Tatsuya YAZAWA MF11DIEGO MF 18 Iwao YAMANE MF 24 Tomonori HIRAYAMA
FW 22Tatsuya SUZUKI FW 25 Hideaki KITAJIMA
SUBS: 10 Franca (61-Kitajima), 19 Yuji Unozawa (70-Suzuki)
GK 1 Mizuhara
DF 13 Yanagisawa, 3 Fujita, 4 Togawa, 5 Dedimar
MF 8 Nagai, 15 Kanazawa, 10 Anailson, 11 Ono
FW 9 Basilio, 25 Hiramoto
SUBS: GK 21 Takagi, DF 27 Aoba (56-Nagai), MF 20 Hiroyama(70-Hiramoto), 23 Nejime (72-Nagai), FW 39 Saito
The first half was a back and forth affair, Kashiwa came out early and looked to establish their dominance. Verdy showed early on that they were going to struggle with clearing..........not being able to get the ball out of their side and having constant turnovers. Finally in the second minute, Yanagisawa half-whiffed on a ball that went to Kashiwa's Kitajima. Instead of going back and covering the goal, superkeeper Mizuhara decides to rush right up behind Yanagisawa. Why? I don't know, but the wacky strategy failed miserably, because Kitajima was able to deposit an easy shot into the wide open net.
Being down, woke up the buzzards because the domination of the midfield slowly began turning towards Verdy. In the 18th minute, Nagai started what would be a card festival for the home squad , cutting out Diego's legs. At this point, I liked the upsurge in intensity but I thought they were pushing it a bit. Sure enough, 3 cards were soon to follow for Taisei Fujita, Basilio, and Dedimar. The Fujita and Dedimar fouls were stupid and reckless. Basilio had an argument on his, he was going for the ball.
Finally, after alot of hard work and dangerous attempts at the Kashiwa defense.......PAYDIRT! Yanagisawa started the break on a free kick to Anailson with a very fast restart. Anailson handled the ball and flicked it up to Basilio on a beautiful setup. Basilio headed it in for the goal to tie it up. At this point, Kashiwa was put back on their heels.
Verdy kept up the attack with more dangerous attempts, including Hiramoto going very low on a header that ended up just wide. Kashiwa startd to show their frustration by pulling down Basilio around midfield. Another heady move on a free kick (this time Nagai) allowed Basilio to get freed up and speed past the Kashiwa defense, kicking a soft knuckler past a befuddled Minami.
2-1 Halftime and i'm sitting around thinking of witty ways to use the word Eclipse.
The second half however started much like the first, with Kashiwa revitalizing their attack. Kashiwa manager (and boss of Verdy when they humiliated Real) Nobuhiro Ishizaki must have given them an earful......that guy looks like he could kill with that stare alone.
Shin Kanazawa picked up the first yellow of the second half with a rough tackle...........more of the same struggling and flailing for 9 minutes and then the Verdy goat would rear his ugly horns. After getting beat by a Kashiwa attacker, Fujita decides to go spikes up into his foe. 9 minutes in to the second half and Verdy goes a man down. Stupid play. No excuse, Fujita effectively gave the game away. 2 minutes later Kashiwa defender Ryo Kobayashi whips a wicked kick around two Verdy defenders and the outstretched arms of Mizuhara to pull Kashiwa even.
The deciding goal would come 10 minutes later as Kashiwas two bumbling Brazilians would team up for what had to be the slowest and ugliest 2 man set up I have ever seen in my entire life. It looked at first like Fransa and Diego had tangled up with eachother, possibly freezing the defense. a slow pass in the middle went to Diego, who at this moment resembled a bear on rollerskates. Diego kicks it past Mizuhara for goal 3........game set and match.
Kashiwa pulled it's foot from the gas and coasted to the end, not really challenging Verdy. In fact, after Basilio was run off with a second yellow, Verdy had the last dangerous chance, when Aoba was dragged down just inches in front of the penalty box in the final minute of stoppage time. After wasting the last minute by trying to organize the wall and arguing, FK "Specialist" Dedimar put a lame attempt right into the chest of a Kashiwa defender. Game over.
Stars of the Match
I'm not gonna give it to anybody because there was enough to criticize about everyones performance on both sides. Basilio was great on the goals but he got a red card, possibly costing the team next match. Kashiwa didn't really stand out.......I think they benifited from Verdy mistakes more than their own play. I guess I could give it to Ono for being one of the few not to get carded in a major upset.
I was happy to see some new blood in with the additions of Aoba and Nejime. They both played decent under some bad circumstances. I'm hoping Saito has a monster game.......he's been good at setting up people on goals and I hope he gets another chance to breakthrough. I kinda thought it wasn't completely fair to start Basilio over him in this game but it worked. What worked less was the reintroduction of Yanagisawa.....................maybe it's because he has a cyberagent blog but I'm not impressed with that guys play at all. It seems like Verdy can't clear when he's in the lineup. I'm hoping Hagimura comes back from injury soon or they go to Aoba or Sugawara. He killed more attacks with errant kicks yesterday than i care to recount. I will say that I liked the contribution from the midfield today........by far their best effort of the year. I also liked the effort today...........I didn't like the stupid mistakes though. Finally, I never thought I'd see a game where one team would get 7 yellows and 2 reds while the other team gets only one late yellow..............and think the officials did a good job. No complaints on the officiating. Verdy shot themselves in the foot with the cards, the lack of clearing, and the time management at the end of the game........inexcusable.
NEXT GAME: Mito Hollyhock 7pm 4/5 at Mito.
As always.....if you saw the game and want to comment, I'll give you some space. The dish comes on Tuesday so I might be viewing the Mito match.
CORRECTIONS/OMISSIONS: Yanagisawa has a cyberagent blog.....I was implying that's why he suddenly was playing again because of the whole Cyberagent ownership deal.......bad joke and I blew it.
I wonder why no Kuba.......he was the hero of the Montedio game. I also think Sugawara got dinged, I'll find out about that.