2009-09-12 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2 Yokohama F. Marinos
Posted by stefanole on 2009/09/28
A hard-fought win against a battling F. Marinos side sees Sanfrecce move up to joint-second place, and with Kashima Antlers’ grip on the lead of J1 loosening, Hiroshima are headed for a possible title-chase.
The F. Marinos had clearly decided from the outset that their best chance of stealing this game would be to shoot from range, and it seemed that the Sanfrecce defenders were quite happy to let them do this. Indeed, Kashiwagi even had the magnanimity to demonstrate to the F. Marinos the correct technique to achieve success with this method, as he blasted a long-range effort past Akimoto.
Yokohama decided that they would probably have to be more direct, with SAKATA Daisuke turning Moriwaki in knots and having a shot fumbled by Nakabayashi before YAMASE Koji booted the ball into an open goal for the equaliser.
Sanfrecce retook the lead in the 36th minute with a Stoyanov free-kick given after Aoyama was fouled, and never lost it from then on. The keeper was sent the wrong way as Stoyanov floated the ball into the opposite corner for what Soccerway says is his fourth of the season.
Mikic’s goal quest continues, and though it was stymied in the 47th minute by a save by Akimoto, the loose ball was collected by Kashiwagi who showed good technique to dribble into space and bury a close-shot from a tightening angle.
The F. Marinos profited by some poor Sanfrecce defending in the 55th minute as WATANABE Kazuma, goal-side of his marker Stoyanov but played onside by a ball-watching Moriwaki, stole in to score past Nakabayashi at his near-post. Stoyanov was substituted out soon afterwards, but really the blame lies with Moriwaki for playing Watanabe onside in the first place, and Nakabayashi for not covering his near post properly.
MORITA Kohei came agnonisingly close to putting the game beyond doubt in the 83rd minute, with possibly his first touch after coming on. His acrobatic effort was turned away on the line after LEE Tadanari set him up from a corner. On his home debut, Lee also later came close to scoring a goal of his own as Sanfrecce refused to simply sit on the lead.
Sanfrecce had the ball in the net again in the 84th minute, but it was ruled out for offside in what I think was an incorrect decision. Since Makino was onside when the ball was played though to score, I believe that the goal should have stood. If the linesman flagged here then the decision was totally incorrect. The ball appears to go straight through to Makino, but it is possible the linesman thought the ball deflected off a Sanfrecce player on its way to Makino, which would create a new phase of play (one in which Makino was offside). I don’t think that the ball touched the intervening Sanfrecce player as he clearly appears to step over it, and so the decision is incorrect, but in the end it didn’t matter.
This was just one in a line of interesting decisions however, which started in the 19th minute, again with Makino. Through on goal, he went over an outstretched F. Marinos defender’s leg and tumbled in the box. It appeared to be a clear penalty from where I was, but the referee booked Makino for diving. I have been told that television replays vindicate the referee’s decision (replays that are inexplicably absent from the highlights I’ve managed to find), and captain Hisato appeared to be unimpressed with his young charge, but really I don’t have a lot of sympathy for F. Marinos’ TANAKA in that case. If you throw yourself into a challenge in that way in the penalty area, you are taking a risk that rarely pays off, and his team was lucky that Makino is apparently too honest to be any good at diving. Really though, it was totally unnecessary for Makino to overemphasise the rash tackle since he could have easily gotten a penalty by going for the ball and taking the contact.
Sanfrecce had a stronger appeal for a penalty in the 38th minute when Takayanagi was chopped down just inside the penalty area after making a run up the centre. It seemed to be a foul that would have probably earned a yellow card anywhere else, but since it was so near the penalty area (and I would argue inside it, taking into account FIFA’s instructions that a foul perpetrated outside the area that continues into the area be sanctioned as a penalty), the referee was probably loath to make that decision and simply ignored the foul. It could be that the Makino penalty incident was also fresh in his mind, but really you can’t ignore it when a defender goes right through the back of an attacker.
Despite this, Sanfrecce hung on through a nail-biting final half-an-hour of F. Marinos pressure and Sanfrecce counterattacks, Nakajima’s headed clearance off the Sanfrecce goal-line being a case-in-point. There was also the matter of withdrawing a defender and midfielder and replacing them with a midfielder and a striker, an obviously attacking substitution which was difficult to explain since Sanfrecce were trying to hold onto the lead at the time. In fairness though, the striker who was substituted in (for his home debut) was Tadanari LEE, who as I predicted seems to have been brought in to partner Kashiwagi in attacking midfield rather than as a replacement for SATO Hisato. And although I thought it was a little premature, it is possible that Stoyanov was withdrawn as a precaution after he appeared to suffer a blow to the head.
The result means that Sanfrecce are now eight games unbeaten in J1, a new record for the team in their J1 history that stretches back to 1993 (they also won thirteen games in a row at the end of last season as they won the J2 title).
The F. Marinos on the other hand seem to be suffering no ill-effects from their failure to sign former star player NAKAMURA Shunsuke. Descibed as “shocked” that Nakamura chose to go to Barcelona’s “other” club, Espanyol, rather than back to the F. Marinos a few months ago, their attitude demonstrated a peculiarly Japanese corporate attitude that Nakamura should return to his “parent company” when bidden. This was despite the fact that the move was rumoured to have fallen apart mainly because the F. Marinos (and by extension Nissan) were either unable to unwilling to stump up the cash for Nakamura’s reportedly modest wage demands. Leaving aside Reuters’ retarded comment about how the J-League is a “struggling backwater” (J1 averages higher attendance figures than American Major League Soccer, and a few hundred less than the Dutch Eredivisie – prefixing an article with the word “blog” does not give you the right to write any old bullshit), the popular opinion is that Nakamura has done the right thing for his personal development by moving to a league with such a high standard, and ahead of next year’s World Cup. It looks unlikely that Sanfrecce will be sending any players to South Africa to play alongside Nakamura, but for the likes of young MAKINO Tomoaki and KASHIWAGI Yosuke it can only be a matter of time.
12,126 (Previous average 15,439*, J-League average 19,278**)
Kashiwagi 27′ (1-0)
Yamase 32′ (1-1)
Stoyanov 36′ (2-1)
Kashiwagi 47′ (3-1)
Watanabe 56′ (3-2)
MORITA (MIKIC 61′)
LEE (TAKAYANAGI 64′)
YOKOTAKE (STOYANOV 67′)
MAKINO (YC #? (USB), 18′)
Tadanari LEE made his home debut.
*Average home attendance for Sanfrecce for total of preceding games in J1 in 2009.
**Average attendance for J1 in the 2008 season.