23 March 2008

Mito 2 - 2 Hiroshima

Just looking at the result, most people would think the score to be a great result for Mito and a great disappontment for Hiroshima. With the flow of the game, though, it's exactly the opposite.

Mito should be proud to continue such great play against top opponents, and as of now there is no team tougher than Hiroshima. Going into this round, they led the board with three wins and the only team yet to allow any points in those three games. It seemed that as tough as Mito played, the first half closed with an understood certainty that the best result Mito could expect would be a scoreless draw. However, a ray of hope emerged right as the first half ended, as a second yellow card brought Hiroshima down to 10 players.

In the second half, Hiroshima defender Stoyanov used his hand to stop a sure goal to draw a direct red card and bring a Mito PK. Nishino converted for the lead and Mito would then be up two players as Hiroshima fell to 9. From this point, a Mito win seemed to be very likely.

Fast forwarding to the last minute of injury time, Mito found itself down one player as well (with defender Suzuki's second yellow), but still ahead 2 - 1 after Urawa Reds import Akahoshi's first goal of the season. In the literal last moment of the game, Hiroshima took the last corner kick and converted it into the game tying second goal. Mito's post-goal kickoff coincided with the final whistle. You never heard any crowd cheer so loudly to be able to tie Mito HollyHock.

In the end, tying the top team in the division and taking two goals from that team impenetrable to all others previously meant nothing. Perhaps this shows the maturity of this new team of not-yet mature players. This is a team that can score points more freely than before. This is a team that can compete with the best and can make each win and loss mean something for both sides. And while it's hard to see in this early stage and yet to play against the weaker teams, this seems to be a team ranked among the top half of the division and feared not as a bogey or giant killer but as a strong team in its own right.

As for me, my throat is sore and my neighbor from across the street came over to make sure I hadn't hurt myself in some way. Objectively, though, this game told an amazing story and was damn entertaining. It was simply an incredibly exciting exhibition of sport.

1 comment:

richy said...

I took a look at the result on my keitai when i was waiting for the Gifu game and I was like wow, Mito must be stoked! then my friend said, nah, they're gutted - they lost in the last minute! All thats a compliment to Mito though, as you say, they're changing their identity and transforming into a team that will have to be taken seriously by other clubs or pay the consequences!
Good to see!