S-Pulse 1-0 Consadole Sapporo
DF Jong a Pin
Kobayashi on for Kawai (HT)
Franca (84) on for Ono (69)
Hiraoka on for Omae (86)
It was wet, then cold, then windy and cold. I need to put my feet up with a beer. In a nutshell, Consadole were really hard to play against. The wind played a huge part and we came away from a potential banana skin with full points and a clean sheet.
Sapporo came to work hard and didn't let us play our game in the opening exchanges, but on today's evidence, they will struggle this year. If for other reason than the sheer number of missed passes (the wind notwithstanding), but they panic the moment they're under pressure, and were very easy to dispossess.
A result of the visitors' doggedness, the slippery conditions and the wind, it was a game of very few chances and pretty disjointed football. We brought on Kobayashi at half time to work beside Ono at sculpting out more opportunities and it had almost immediate effect. Daigo and Ono created the move which cut through Sapporo and gave Toshiyuki the chance to double his tally for the season. After a year of finding his range, this term looks like he's a lot more on target.
We couldn't find a second goal, and despite a late flurry of activity from Consadole, the game ended 1-0 to us. Not a great game, but we won and at this early stage of the season getting points on the board is what counts. Ono was taken off early again, and Takahara was rested. Taka isn't 100% yet so it's not worth rushing him back. Ono too doesn't need to be pushed into a full 90 minutes before he's ready, and we need to be able to play without him.
Well, next up, Niigata at home in the league cup on Wednesday. We've been told to expect some surprises, so maybe a début for the 2011 Asian Youth Player of the Year, Ishige? He just signed his first pro contract with us this last week, so no reason why not! Watch this space.
Highlights from NikoNiko. Click the little speech bubble at the bottom right of the video window to lose the scrolling comments.