|Hanyu goals, just like London buses|
Shuichi Gonda returned to the Tokyo XI for the first time since Matchday 10, and replaced the injured Hitoshi Shiota in the only change to the 18 from the thumping of Ehime FC. For the visitors, their response to a 7-2 battering on the same ground last weekend was to have 63 year old striker Kazuyoshi Miura make his first start in two months, lining up alongside Kaio in a 4-4-2. Miura's name was cheered by both sets of supporters before the game, definitely the first time we've heard the Tokyo end cheer an opposition player who has never worn the red and blue.
The opening exchanges were pretty much one way traffic as we controlled possession and probed for gaps, and thankfully our early nerves were settled by an 8th minute opener, the only surprise was the source...Casual's head. From Tatsuya Yazawa's outswinging corner from the right, Yohei Kajiyama held off his man and met the ball from about 8 yards, guiding in a header at the near post, with Yokohama 'keeper Kentaro Seki committing the goalkeeping cardinal sin of letting the ball in at his near stick.
I'd be here all day if I listed all the other chances we had in the first half, but to surmise: Lucas could've had a first half hat trick but blazed over or wide three times, Yazawa was guilty of almost as many misses, Sotan Tanabe had an attempt on target blocked out for a goal kick by Naotake Hanyu, and Yuhei Tokunaga fired off one of his trademark bullets that cannoned off the intersection of post and bar and bounced back off Seki's back for a corner; but the scoreline stayed at 1-0 until the break and while it remained that way we could never feel completely comfortable.
The visitors came out and controlled the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but never really threatened. We were impressed by their young central midfielder Kensuke Sato, and although Kaio had plenty of touches, he had to drop quite deep to receive the ball and was never close enough to goal to cause us any problems.
With things puttering along, Mr. Okuma decided to give Tanabe the hook just on the hour and introduced Naohiro Ishikawa, and within five minutes of his entrance Nao had another assist to his name as we took a 2-0 lead. A minute after Gonda was forced into a diving save from substitute Yosuke Nozaki that grazed the post on its way out for a corner, we countered and Nao broke down the right drawing two defenders, which left Hanyu in acres of space in the centre.
|Cheers big fella!|
But, why is my eye full of blood?