¡Sanfrecce Olé!

WE FIGHT TOGETHER

2009-05-09 JEF United 2-1 Sanfrecce

Posted by stefanole on 2009/05/10

Sanfrecce’s eight game unbeaten streak came to a disappointing end in Chiba as their defensive frailties came back to haunt them.

Kashiwagi had one of those days which commentators usually put down to his inexperience. He played in Takahagi for Sanfrecce’s goal, but later he was caught in possession in midfield and JEF broke quickly with a through ball for Fukai to blast past a stranded Nakabayashi. Takahagi had a very bright game, and scored his second goal in two matches (his third for the season), and came close with a looping shot in the second half.

The referee was a little weak, with a few niggling fouls going unpunished, and some harder fouls on Stoyanov causing some surprise when they were not punished (the players voluntarily stopped play a couple of times and then scrambled for the ball when they realised the whistle hadn’t been blown). Alex could possibly have been shown a red card for elbowing Stoyanov in the jaw in the 83rd minute, a manoeuvre which clearly had Stoyanov seeing stars, and Sanfrecce had a couple of half-hearted penalty appeals ignored – one for handball when a Hisato shot struck the defender’s hand on the way to a possible goal. It would have been a harsh penalty, but it was the same situation that Chelsea fans have been bitching about for the past few days (is anyone else sick of that crap by now?)

Stoyanov had an inspired day as he had as many shots as Hisato (possibly more), but he just didn’t have his shooting boots on and most of his shots went high. I don’t remember a Sanfrecce free kick actually being on target either, with both Stoyanov and Makino hitting the wall.

JEF’s second goal arguably came about through that same passive refereeing. It’s the kind of atmosphere that physical players, especially defenders, love because they know more tricks than most to get an (unfair) advantage if the referee isn’t paying attention. In this case in point, JEF had a corner and their number 4, the 6′ 4″ Australian Eddie Bosnar, was determined to shake up the defenders covering him on the penalty spot with a lot of pushing and grabbing. He literally seemed to have his hands around a Sanfrecce defender’s neck at one point. The two defenders in the area were I think Moriwaki and Makino. Although Makino was actually marking the eventual scorer Maki, Bosnar’s bustling was such that he was sucked into the quasi-fight. I think the referee delayed the corner to have a word, but it was entirely ineffective as Bosnar carried on anyway and the referee didn’t have the teeth to tell him to behave. As the corner came over Makino was still preoccupied with Bosnar and allowed Maki to slip away from him. The cross came over just a few yards ahead of Nakabayashi, who should have come and punched but instead watched Maki head past him to make it 1-2. So, bad defending for Makino to allow Bosnar to unsettle him like that, and bad goalkeeping for Nakabayashi to not come and punch clear. It’s a shame for Nakabayashi (or little Iker as I now think of him in his short-sleeved goalie shirt) as he is obviously a brave keeper, it’s just that his decision-making and positioning are not great and unfortunately these are qualities that tend to mark out the great from the average.

Anyway, I think the main problem for Sanfrecce in this game is that they do not like to come up against physically strong opposition. There are definite exceptions to this – Stoyanov was probably the strongest player on the park, and it’s lucky I’m sure that he didn’t get a hold of Bosnar to show him a thing or two. Makino is not one to shirk a physical challenge either, but unfortunately it was perhaps this trait that had him caught in two minds at the corner where JEF made it 1-2. As for the rest, Hisato is probably the best example of a player who needs either slight defenders or a strong referee in order to thrive. Too many times little pushes or kicks went unpunished, although I think it was a couple of Sanfrecce players who best illustrated this weakness in the 41st minute, as both Makino and Kazu slide tackled Maki simultaneously and both totally missed the ball (but both got a piece of the man). There was no free kick and the ball went out for a throw-in I think. A bizarre decision that set the tone for the game.

Now I just wish I could find a website that will give me match statistics like attendence and shots. I saw a very interesting stat during the game (I watched an internet video feed) that said Sanfrecce are second in J1 for shots at goal. Yet the most I can get out of English-language sites is the scorers and yellow cards, and even the fulltime score was inaccurate on one occasion I can remember. It’s probably time to try to stumble across a Japanese-language stats site.

There is no youtube of the game up yet, so I thought I’d post this one of our 4-1 victory over Reysol instead. The Carribbean commentary is pretty funny, like a Jamaican Alan Partridge. More of the same next weekend against Yamagata, please.

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