Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Squirrel's Eye View: Suzuki's Perfect Start

OK, so was that a great game? No. No, it wasn't a great game. A good game, even? Well, not really. In fact, Saturday evening's 2-1 win over Kyoto Sanga in an odd kind of way amounted to a pretty much perfect game for Omiya Ardija and Jun Suzuki, taking maximum points for the first time since the first match of the season in what was new coach Suzuki's first game in charge. While lacking in a whole lot of quality from both teams, from a Squirrels perspective it was nevertheless perfect for three reasons.

First, it overcame the Rafael Effect previously identified on these pages. It demonstrated to the Squirrels squad that even without the skinny Brazilian guy with the broadest smile in the J-League, they actually can make and score goals. Naoki Ishihara put in an endlessly energetic performance, the two goals being only part of his wider contribution. Kazuhiro Murakami supplied the assist for the first, Sanga defender Yuta Someya losing his bearings and thereby allowing Ishihara space to fire past Yuichi Mizutani.

To be fair, Ardija's own Arata Sugiyama then completely failed to cover Kwak Tae Hwi as Kyoto netted a fine and well-deserved equaliser just before half time. Diego provided the diagonal through ball in this instance - but the Omiya winner was most definitely Made In Japan, Hayato Hashimoto flighting in a tempting ball for Ishihara to guide just the right side of the far post. Probably no other Squirrels player, including Rafael, could have scored that goal. It was simply a terrific piece of skill.

So let's move on to reason number two: Ardija ended up winning a close-fought game, something that they have not managed for many, many months. On the balance of play, in all honesty it could have gone either way. Kyoto had a great deal of possession and the Omiya defence was at times less than polished, the likes of Mato Neretljak at times resorting to just hitting the ball as far from the goal as possible. On another day, it could have been Shusuke Tsubouchi making a silly mistake instead of Someya. But the result was what mattered, and we won.

The third reason why it was a perfect game despite not being very good at all was because teams down near the bottom of the standings really, really need to beat the teams around them. Ardija and Sanga might both have been lacking in confidence, but they both knew that winning would be a major plus for themselves and a big fat minus for the loser. Suzuki didn't have the side playing in a way that was especially different from Jang Wae Ryong, but he managed a vital win in a vital game. And so Omiya jump out of the relegation zone and Kyoto drop into it.

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1 comments:

直人 2 May 2010 at 09:36  

God bless Ardija.Let us try again.

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