Hiroshima 2-1 S-Pulse
Lee 55 ------------------------------Edamura 76
DF Tsujio (yellow 36)
MF M. Yamamoto
Honda on for Hyodo (60)
Okazaki on for Omae (64)
Nagasawa on for Hara (81)
Had it ended 2-0, that would have been that, but Edamura's latish strike ensures we can go into the second leg with every chance of progression. Not that you'd have known it the way the home team were dancing around at full time. Perhaps no one told them it's a two-legged affair.
Anyway, for what was a pretty mediocre performance all round, 2-1 was probably more than we deserved, so I'll grab it with both hands. Omae showed flashes of his high school days brilliance, in particular early in the game he ran at, and beat, three back-peddling defenders, but was finally crowded out when he went for the shot. So he wasn't able to get on the score sheet, but this wasn't all down to him - a large percentage of our forward movement broke down before it got anywhere near the top three due to lazy, sloppy unforced errors.
I'm yet to understand Kenta's fascination with Nagasawa. Johnsen wasn't even on the bench in favour of the two youngsters Nagasawa Shun and Ito Sho. Shun was on for the last 14 minutes of play and managed to get caught off side twice and, seemingly hoping the ref was temporarily blind, control a cross with his arm. If we are insistent on using second string players in games of this import (yes, I know we have Antlers on Saturday, but no Ono even on the bench?), can we try Ito Sho (who has several years experience in Europe to his name) next time?
So not vintage S-Pulse by any means, and if we're to get to Tokyo we have to win at home in ten days. Any win to nil will do. 2-1 will mean extra time. Any other win must be by two clear goals, or we're out on away goals. In short, we're in exactly the same position we found ourselves last year against Urawa. The result? 3-0 to us.
The big match is October 10th, kick off 3pm. It's my birthday the next day (feel free to buy me a beer at the ground), so come on S-Pulse, let's have a another cup final Big Day Out!
Highlights of S-Pulse (none of those nasty Hiroshima goals). You can skip the first three and a half minutes.