Saturday, 24 March 2012

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So remember that I said a week ago that during the course of the season Omiya would play worse than they did against FC Tokyo and win? Well we didn't have long to wait. The Squirrels slept through the first half of last weekend's match at Albirex Niigata and were behind by only a single goal not through any good play of their own, but by the fact that they were up against a poor Swans side. 

Things improved after the break and close season signing Kosuke Kikuchi prodded Ardija level before Rafael, who'd put in a particularly weak display, made amends by sweeping in a late winner. Then in midweek Carlinhos opened his account as an Omiya player with a delicious neat finish in the Nabisco Cup tie with Yokohama F Marinos. Cho Young Cheol missed a brilliant opportunity to make it 2-0 but although the Sailors put Ardija under some pressure their equaliser came with a huge slice of luck, as Manabu Saito's shot came off the post, hit keeper Takashi Kitano on the back of the head and bounced over the line.

Within the space of ten days, then, the Squirrels played okay and lost, pretty badly and won, and then pretty well and drew. It's making and taking chances that will be the difference between Jun Suzuki's team achieving a best-ever J1 finish or scrabbling around in the lower reaches of the division. Carlinhos in particular looks to be a crucial player for Omiya 2012, not only in strengthening the midfield but also as a potential goalscorer.

Which makes it a big concern that Yahoo is predicting that the 29-year-old Brazilian will be missing from Saturday's lunchtime game at high-flying Vegalta Sendai. The Northern Stars have battled their way through two league wins and currently sit top of the table, arguably a somewhat dour team but one that coach Makoto Teguramori is managing to make hard to beat. How will Omiya play? What kind of result will they achieve? At the moment, who knows. 

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