S-Pulse 1-0 Sendai
MF M. Yamamoto
Takagi on for Omae (59)
Kobayashi on for Ono (71)
Nagai on for Takahara (78)
A big win as S-Pulse managed what Sendai's previous 12 opponents couldn't - to beat them. They're very hard to score against, and it was a tight, tight game this evening, but it was the Ota --> Brosque combo as per the Kawasaki game which sealed it. Alex knocked in with some precision a cross on what was far from an easy bounce. Top work that man. His 5th in orange and a big, big goal to boot.
It was a game that was always going to be won by one goal as the shots on target were few and far between, and the goal was only really a half chance which says a lot for how well Brosque took it.
We started the game with some enforced changes what with Bosnar out through suspension. Hiraoka dropped back to fill Eddy's space and Muramatsu, freshly back from U22 Olympic duty started in midfield with a long-time-no-see start for Masaki Yamamoto.
The first half saw few, if any, shots on target for either team, but we came out much better in the second, and the introduction of the always lively Takagi improved our options. He was soon surging in from the wing carving routes into the danger zone. Takahara didn't have a great deal of action and shortly after his replacement by Nagai the deadlock was broken as another excellent cross from Ota was met by Brosque on the half volley. The place went mad but Sendai were far from done. Only an excellent save by Usui, who made the right decision in rushing to meet the shot, stopped a near certain equaliser.
After that scare, Sendai were done and their excellent unbeaten run came to an end.
Before we talk about the game, I want to talk about Sendai and the people of Sendai. For myself, my players, our supporters and all the people of Japan, Sendai are the real champions. Regardless of today's result, or their league position, Sendai are true champions. For their courage, fighting spirit and unity we have to applaud them.
As for the game, I'm really proud of my team because Sendai are a really hard team to beat. They fought well and defended tightly from start to finish and were really dangerous on the counter attack and from set plays. In the second half both teams had chances and it must have been an exciting game to watch.
When we play away in Sendai I hope to get involved in some charity work with my players.
A personal video of our winner (which I always prefer to the TV).