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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Cerezo 2-1 Vissel

cerezoosaka-s.gifPeter reports in on Shinji Kagawa's farewell game at Nagai Stadium. A vital win for the home team since they will not have their leading scorer when the league resumes in July.

The better side won, but Cerezo were far from their best--Kim had his worst game this season and there were more misplaced passes than usual. Vissel were up for this derby game, and there was never any danger that last week's record of a yellow cardless game would be repeated. Vissel must take some credit for Cerezo's misplaced passes as they pressured Cerezo pretty well, but Cerezo stood up well to their bullying tactics and survived Okubo's diving. In all there were nine yellow cards: Moniwa, Uemoto, Omata and Kagawa (Cerezo) and Popo, Tokura, Botti, Miyamoto and Okubo (Vissel) (Okubo got his card after the final whistle for dissent, presumably for protesting that some Cerezo player wasn't sent off -- he's now really in for trying to get opponents sent off). Uemoto's card was also for dissent, protesting Moniwa's card--both of those in just the 8th minute. Botti's card was for standing in front of the ball at a Cerezo free-kick.


Cerezo (4-4-2)
Takahashi, Moniwa, Uemoto, Omata (Ishigami 89');
Inui, Haneda (Fujimoto 90'+2), Amaral, Kagawa (Kiyotake 88');
Bando, Ienaga

Vissel (4-4-2)
Kitamoto, Komoto (Tanaka 72), Miyamoto, Mogi;
Popo, Edmilson, Matsuoka, Botti;
Tokura (Yoshida 61), Okubo

The first half was a bit strange: Cerezo dominated the possession, but Vissel scored with one of only two almost simultaneous attempts on target in the first half. In an unlucky 13th minute for Cerezo, a lovely long ball from Mogi in the centre just to the Cerezo side of the centre circle found Botti running into position in front of Kim's left-hand post to get in a well-placed header from about seven meters, Kim parried it at full stretch (he might have done better) but Botti, following through, gently volleyed the ball behind Kim into the far corner from about three metres and a metre wide of the post--a very accurate well-taken goal. And that was it--that header and that volley were Vissel's only two attempts on target in the first half. You do have to ask, "How did Uemoto let Botti get behind him?" Official time of the goal: 14'

After that, although Inui (twice) and Amaral shot wide, Cerezo had no shots on target in regular time in the first half, despite playing quite a lot of their hallmark possession football. But the six minutes of injury time were a different kettle of fish. In the 47th minute, Takahashi did a good bit of work out wide right to gain possession, slipped the ball inside to Ienaga, went off on a run, took a smart pass back from Ienaga, and got in a fast low centre across goal; Kishi failed to come out and Bando's diving header at the bouncing ball saw it nestle in the corner of the net to Kishi's right. Official time 45'+3.

In the 49th minute Tokura brought Amaral down from behind about five metres outside the Vissel penalty area in the centre slightly to Cerezo's right. By the time the free-kick was taken it was the sixth minute of four minutes added time. Kagawa lifted the ball up over the wall and down under the bar right into the far corner; the ball was not just inside the far post, and you couldn't help wondering whether Vissel goalie Kishi shouldn't have got to it; but a beautiful free-kick for Kagawa to say a nice sayonara to Nagai. Official time: 45'+6. The half-time whistle followed immediately. 2-1.

Half-time stats:
	Cerezo > Vissel
Shots: 2 > 2
GKs: 3 > 4
CKs: 0 > 3
FKs: 9 > 8
Poss.: 61% > 39%

As you can see by comparing the Match stats below with the half-time stats above, the second-half was feisty. Vissel went for the equaliser and Cerezo went for a third goal to put the game to bed. Vissel managed to end Cerezo's dominance of the possession, but in the second half Cerezo outshot Vissel 15-3; there's a symbiotic relationship between those two stats--instead of playing possession football, in the second half Cerezo were shooting for that vital third goal, and thus often returning possession to Vissel: in this half Vissel had 13 goal-kicks to Cerezo's 3. Cerezo's propensity, not only in this game, to play possession football or shoot, one or the other, can be seen from the fact that they had only two corner-kicks in the whole game.

But the vital statistics in this half were the 29 fouls--18 by Vissel and 11 by Cerezo--and the six yellow cards (including Okubo's post-final whistle rant). In contrast to the pallyness in the tunnel before the game, the second-half was a scrappy, bad-tempered affair. There were several near misses but no goals.

For Vissel, in general I thought Kishi looked a reasonably useful goalie for his age, and Tokura too seems a promising player and has a very positive approach. Okubo has become a poor man's Totti--bags of talent, but too much gamesmanship.

Since Martinez was injured, there has been a tendency for all Cerezo's moves to flow through Kagawa. Now he is off to Dortmund, it is very much to be hoped by Cerezo supporters that Martinez is fit for July 14. Of course, there may be new signings but, if not, the prospect of Cerezo taking the field with neither Martinez nor Kagawa is worrying. Amaral has improved steadily and is now a strong player, but he is nowhere near as cultured as Martinez. One thing is for sure, Ienaga will be an important player--let's hope he can keep his vision and technical skill and get rid of his selfishness in front of goal; if he does, he can become a key player and a star.

Cerezo > Vissel
Shots: 17 > 5
GKs: 6 > 17
CKs: 2 > 6
FKs: 27 > 19
Poss.: 56% > 44%

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