Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sapporo Preview

The J1 schedule on Saturday heads into the Golden Week holiday, which means midweek fixtures for everyone and the chance for Omiya, in particular, to pick up some points. The Squirrels tomorrow host Consadole Sapporo and then head to Vissel Kobe on Wednesday before coming back to NACK5 and an encounter with Gamba Osaka next weekend. It's not entirely beyond the realms of imagination that the Squirrels could emerge from those three games with maximum points, although clearly that would require things to go extraordinarily well.

But first up, then, how about Consadole? The Hokkaido-ites have struggled badly during their first season back in J1 and currently lie dead last in the standings with only one point from seven matches. Leading 2-0 at half time against Kawasaki Frontale through a pair of excellent headed goals, it looked like Sapporo were finally on their way to a victory. But an energised Frontale dominated the second period and after fighting their way back on to level terms eventually took all the points via Koji Yamase's close-range finish.

Consa showed some lively attacking moves and played their part in an open game, but the fragility of their confidence was obvious when Kawasaki started to apply some pressure after the introduction as a sub of Kengo Nakamura. In particular Sapporo allowed their opponents space on the wings, which sounds like good news for Cho Young Cheol after his impressive performance against Urawa Reds. Could it really be two consecutive home wins for the Squirrels? Another disciplined display at the back combined with a level of mobility in midfield and it could be a great start to the holiday.



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