2015/5/16 Matsumoto Yamaga 2-0 Vissel Kobe
If you don't take your chances, you don't get the goal. If you don't get the goals, you don't get the points! Football really is that simple.
With a goalkeeper in form for the home team, and forwards who weren't quite in the mood for finishing on the away team, this was only ever going to go one way and, with a little luck on their side Matsumoto Yamaga broke the deadlock in the second half and then - pouncing on an error - finished Vissel Kobe off in additional time.
The excuses are there, of course, but, despite numerous injuries, the covering players should all be up to scratch - that's what a J1 squad is all about and, with the likes of Michihiro Yasuda and Takahito Soma out, Vissel can still call on Ryo Okui and Shunki Takahashi as wing backs.
Injuries elsewhere mean that Kunie Kitamoto has been starting matches in central defence recently and, as always, has given his all, including a wonderful goal line clearance in this match!
With Marquinhos and Pedro Junior missing up front, there is still Keijiro Ogawa, Kazuma Watanabe and Daisuke Ishizu - on the bench today - to take the chances. So, inconsistent team selection due to injuries may well be unsettling the team but the squad should have the nous to play through the problems. Now Vissel needs a little luck!
As for the game itself, Ogawa had a great chance that the keeper did well to smother early on. Shohei Takahashi followed that with a superb left foot strike from distance that the keeper was equal to and Vissel couldn't quite get the breakthrough.
Meanwhile Yamaga managed to break the deadlock with a speculative shot from the edge of the area that sneaked through Kitamoto's legs with the keeper unsighted! Those are the breaks.
The crimson tide continued to look for goals and, of course, as is often the case when a team is "going for it", it came back to haunt them in the dying minutes. Deep into additional time the tired legs of Jung Woo Young were robbed by the strength of Obina who carried the ball forward and with the goal seemingly at his mercy, and Kaito Yamamoto coming out to meet him, he squared the ball into the path of Yoshiro Abe who shot into the empty net to finish off the plucky visitors!
Vissel find themselves closer to the relegation zone than the play-off spots and will be hoping for players to return from injury, and a little more of that luck that has deserted them, in the coming weeks!
Team - Yamamoto, Iwanami, Kitamoto, Sho.Takahashi, Jung, Morioka, Shu.Takahashi (Fujitani, 67), Ferrugem (Ishizu, 66), Ogawa, Okui, Watanabe