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Monday, 11 May 2009

Tsuda Rescues Point for Lackluster Grampus

An injury-time equalizer from Tomohiro Tsuda gives Grampus a barely deserved point at Kobe. Although Vissel rarely threatened Narazaki's goal, they had looked the better team, and had shown great character in coming back from a disastrous start of the second half when Kim gifted Nagoya the lead.

After the heroics of the ACL game in midweek, this was a tired and unimaginative performance from Nagoya. The supposedly refreshed Naosi Nakamura looked anything but, Keiji Tamada is clearly still in need of a game or two to regain his sharpness, and Yoshizumi Ogawa was just a shadow of the inspirational player we saw against Ulsan last Wednesday.

As for the game itself, it was the opposite of the equivalent fixture last year. In that game, an inexperienced referee, who allowed the game to flow, hurt Vissel by doing so. This year, it was Grampus who struggled to cope with free-flowing game that referee Iida allowed. (Iida and his two assistants had experience of refereeing all of one J.League match between them.) You can find the Vissel's Eye view of the game in Alan's report of the game at jsoccer.com.

Vissel got off to the better start and remained the better team for most of the game. HOwever, they were hurt by the statuesque Marcel up front, which meant they had to rely on long range efforts on goal. The first of these saw Ishibitsu sting Narazak's palms with a 30-yarder. Kitamoto then sent a good chance flashing past the far post, when he should scored. Although Grampus saw a Tamada free-kick come back off the bar (about the only positive contribution Keiji made all game) and a Sugimoto chance ruled out for offside, they otherwise failed to impress in the first half, which ended 0-0.

The second half looked destined to follow the course of the first, with Vissel looking the slightly more organized, but failing to make the breakthrough. However, Kim's calamitous own goal early in the half sparked an increased intensity in the home team. This saw them quickly bounce back and take a deserved lead. Mogi pulled Vissel level when he pounced on a fatal hesitation by Masukawa to poke the ball past the exposed Narazaki. Marcel then converted a dubious penalty after Narazaki was judged to have brought him down, although this looked more like the player choosing to trip over the outstretched arms of the keeper more than anything. It certainly didn't look as though there was any contact, but Narazaki had slid into make a needless diving challenge and the arms were there to fall over. Unless the referee or assistant clearly sees that it was a dive, there was only one likely outcome, especially against a inexperienced crew like yesterday's. 2-1 and Kobe had a deserved lead, even of the manner of the goal was unsatisfactory. They looked likely to see out the game to claim the three points, but Tomoihiro Tsuda on for the ineffective Tamada, outwitted Miyamoto in extra time to ensure that Grampus end a hectic four-week schedule unbeaten over the eight games.

Unlike last year's fixture, where Grampus almost blew a well-deserved win, Vissel succeeded in doing so. This suggests that their hard-working football, is not yet matched by the required mental toughness required to see them rise above a mid-table position. However, they are playing some good football, and are certainly worth going to watch since they play at the best stadium in Kansai, even if the pitch often leaves a lot to be desired.

Vissel Kobe
Tatsuya Enomoto
Yosuke Ishibitsu, Kunie KItamoto, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Toshihiko Uchiyama
Kim Nan Il, Ryosuke Matsuoka, Hideo Tanaka, Park Kang Jo (Kazuyuki Ganaha 69)
Hiroto Mogi (Norio Suzuki), Marcel (Takayuki Yoshida 63)
Scorers: Mogi 57, Marcel 62 (PK)

Grampus
Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Naoshi Nakamura, Keiji Yoshimura, Keito Sugimoto (Yuki Maki 69)
Davi, Keiji Tamada (Tomohiro Tsuda 81)
Scorers: Own Goal 50, Tsuda 90+2

1 comment:

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