On a muggy Yamagata night, Mito has just defeated the home team.
Mito played well, although probably not as well as in previous games, with the main difference being the conversion of two chances more than the usual. Mito certainly outplayed Yamagata, who have been in a slump of late.
Forward Shiozawa took advantage of an open penalty area to take the goal he missed in a similar situation last game. Midfielder Kanazawa played brilliantly as usual, with an incredibly exciting cross bar shot in the final minute, but it was the returning forward Nishino who made the most impact emotionally. A brilliant head shot off a corner kick surely headed in for the 3-1 lead was blocked, not by the defense, but by Nishino's foot, sending the ball high in the air and out of bounds. Minutes later, though, he would redeem himself with a sloppy, slow, sliding shot that brushed past the keeper and put Mito on top for good. Nishino came back a few games before he was expected following his chestplate fracture suffered at Kusatsu a few weeks ago, and while slower than before, his presence was certainly appreciated tonight.
In a bittersweet moment, despite brilliant play near the end of the game by 1st ranked team Sapporo, Ehime also won their game 2 - 1 to stay seven points ahead of Mito in the standings. Still, this brings both bottom teams closer to the rest of the pack. This, with Mito finally in double digits in the point standing, gives Ibaraki's big city team a future just a bit brighter than it seemed just two hours ago