Thursday, 2 July 2009

Pixie Facing First Real Test as Manager

Nagoya manager, Dragan Stojkovic, is facing his first real test as a manger, after last night's 0-3 home loss to Kashima. A result that sees the team fall to its fourth league loss in a row, and drop out of contention for even an ACL berth (top three finish). It is time for some harsh lessons, for some of the so-called regulars.

While the lack of depth in the squad made a degree of fatigue entirely predictable, the departure of Bajalica (to look after his sick mum in Serbia) and injuries to Tamada and Magnum exacerbated the team's tiring schedule. A situation made even more distressing by the complete loss of form by Naoshi Nakamura. With Kennedy already in Japan and preparing for his debut (the moment his visa comes through), and hopefully and replacement for Bajlica, the team should be in a position to bounce back up the table in a week or two. In the meantime, however, it could time to inject some fresh blood into the team by giving the likes of Hanai, Fukushima and Sato a run in the first team. The club, and the youngsters themselves, are not going find out if they can make the grade by sitting on the bench all the time.

As for last night's game itself, despite the loss, the game saw signs of the team adjusting to a pattern geared towards utilizing newcomer Josh Kennedy effectively. Keiji Tamada switching to a role on the left side of midfield, with Davi and Yuki Maki forming the forward line. Although this formation created a couple of chances, the team was overwhelmed by a rampant Kashima team the exploited the space they were allowed by a lethargic Nagoya defense to devastating effect. (Marquinhos alone should have had a hat-trick, hitting the post and the bar in addition to his goal.)

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe (Akira Takeuchi HT)
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Naoshi Nakamura (Kei Yamaguchi HT), Keiji Yoshimura (Keita Sugimoto 65), Keiji Tamada
Yuki Maki (Tomohiro Tsuda 84), Davi

Kashima Antlers
Hitoshi Sogahata
Atsuto Uchida, Daiki Iwamasa, Masahiro Inoha
Park Joo Ho, Takashi Aoki, Mitsuo Ogasawara, Masashi Motoyama (Koji Nakata 80), Takuya Nozawa
Shinzo Koroki (Yuya Osako 86), Marquinhos (Danilo 76)
Scorers: Koroki 22, Nozawa 43, Marquinhos 53

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