11 June 2009

Mito 0 - 1 Kofu

Mito's winless streak continues and finally it has caught up in the standings with the team now in 8th, just barely in the top half of the current rankings.

Both teams played very defensively and cut into passes well. There were more turnovers split between the teams than I've seen in a long time. A combination of lax attack and strong defense on both sides would result in a scoreless game if it weren't for a Mito defensive lapse in the first half that would allow two Kofu players uncovered in the penalty area.

The stadium was about half and half as far as supporters go, and with away fans always the more hardcore of the group, the field must have felt pro-Kofu for the players.

Near the end of the game was a sudden instant of drama for the home team, as what would be the final corner kick in injury time brought keeper Honma to the opposite goal to add a man advantage. He wasn't involved in the two quick shots that couldn't go through, but he did pull off an awkward front kick to clear a ball as it sped beside him after the last attempt. If he hadn't, the waiting Kofu player could have taken it back casually to take goal number 2 in the final moments.

The next game is in Tokyo's National Stadium on Sunday, which is a very welcome change of scenery. Mito has four wins against Tokyo Verdy, and all away wins have been at that Olympic landmark. In previous meetings there Mito have defeated Tokyo 1-0, then 4-1, and in the last meeting there 5-1. If the good fortune there continues, Mito can get back in the hunt towards the top teams. A loss will mean sinking to the lower half of the rankings.

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