Monday, 22 November 2010

The Squirrel's Eye View: Omiya & The Relegation Picture

Just seven minutes in to Saturday's match at Kyoto Sanga, Yuki Fukaya found himself in space five yards from goal and headed Jun Kanakubo's flighted free kick firmly past Sanga keeper Tatsuya Morita. The celebration amongst the Squirrels players was an explosion of relief, as that simple goal provided confirmation that the team were good enough to get the better of Kyoto - and to get out of relegation danger. As it turned out, the game was won as early as 29th minute, when Lee Chun Soo scored with a delicious flicked header from another Kanakubo set play; with the benefit of hindsight, Sanga were never going to come back from 2-0 down.

Because it was Ardija who came closer to scoring after Chun Soo's strike via the likes of Kanakubo and Takuya Aoki, whose extraordinary ability to miss the target was again demonstrated on more than one occasion. Kyoto might have enjoyed more possession in the second half but they really didn't threaten to get back into match, in the main being held at arm's length by an Omiya defence that worked to keep its first clean sheet for almost two months. Goalkeeper Takashi Kitano was alert and reliable, only being called into serious action to tip over a header in injury time, while in contrast at the other end the 20-year-old Morita seemed nervy and unconfident throughout the game.

And so three more points took Omiya closer to safety, as of their main relegation rivals Vissel Kobe fought hard but could only draw at home to Kashima Antlers, and FC Tokyo conceded a late Juninho goal to lose to Kawasaki Frontale. While Vegalta Sendai and Montedio Yamagata are also involved in the fight to avoid the drop, it seems as if everyone has chosen to ignore the fact that Too-Big-To-Go-Down-Tokyo are in deep trouble - and the Gasheads surely won't relish a midweek trip to newly-crowned champions Nagoya Grampus. As far as Ardija are concerned, however, when it really mattered they have won the matches that they needed to win. Kobe on Tuesday will settle it once and for all.



Michael 22 November 2010 at 02:54  

Just written five hundred and odd words which ended with the prospect of Tokyo being knee-deep in the sticky stuff.

They'd better hope Nagoya are still celebrating their title win - or develop a Squirrel-like ability to conjure unexpected victories at the business end of the season.

Another disappointing year in J1 is almost within our grasp.

Furtho 22 November 2010 at 03:32  

The disappointment comes through failing to meet GGOA's own Tenth In '10! target. I mean, what progress has the club seriously made in the six seasons since promotion? But that aside, there's something deliriously beautiful at the thought of Tokyo being relegated. And I really like Naohiro Ishikawa.

Nerdy 22 November 2010 at 08:12  

A big "I told you so" for Agent Orange concerning Omiya and safety. Though I do hope Kobe beat Omiya to send FC Tokyo into the bottom three.

Michael 22 November 2010 at 18:51  

On the plus side, every passing year brings us closer to at last hitting one of those targets.

15th in '15?

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP