Meiji Yasuda J1 League
Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 Kashima Antlers
Saturday February 27th 3 pm
Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki
S-PULSE GOALS Santana(78), Goto(83), Own Goal(88)
DF Hara, Valdo, Suzuki, Katayama
MF Nakayama, Takeuchi, Nakamura, Carlinhos
FW Disaro', Santana
Yusuke Goto on for Akira Silvano Disaro'(63)
Kawai on for Nakamura(74)
Kaneko on for Carlinhos(90+1)
A new head Coach.
A new style.
A new team.
A new season.
Started in the best manner away in the lair of Kashima Antlers, a team S-Pulse had not beaten for 6 years!
New Head Coach Miguel Angel Lotina surprised everybody by adopting an attacking 4-3-3 formation, which must have non-plussed their opposition of the day.
No less than 7 new members started on the field. They could have been forgiven for not knowing each other sufficiently yet, but actually confounded many a pundit with a gritty performance.
They were lucky at times with the post saving them in the first half, but at this level you make your own luck. They one one clear chance narrowly missed in spite of their opponents attempting twice as many shots at goal.
S-Pulse weathered Kashima’s all-out attack during the first half and started the second with more confidence, knowing the defense would hold the fort in a far more secure manner than the past 3 seasons.
We had to wait until the last 15 minutes before the game took a determining turn.
Whereas it would have been the time for a too usual collapse the past years, S-Pulse, after conceding a goal on a corner in the 75th minute which saw a heading hitting the bar and the rebound to be shot point blank with little hope to counter, immediately replied with a fine goal in the 78th minute by newcomer Santana who somehow tricked the Kashima’s defense with his back turned to them.
No less than 5 minutes later, Shimizu, throwing care to the winds had Carlinhos sending the perfect cross for an unmarked Goto to head home.
3 minutes later a corner kick from the left side was masked until the last second by Nakayama forcing an own goal by a bemused Kashima’s defense.
Shimizu S-Pulse seems to have at last put their hands on a real defense to allow their natural attacking style to flourish until the very last minutes.
The more confidence and experience this new line-up will acquire during the next few weeks, the more feared it will become. They are certainly on the right path to please their undying fans, starting with a game at home against newly-promoted Avispa Fukuoka next Saturday!
J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP
GROUP STAGE Match 1
Shimizu S-Pulse vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Wednesday March 3rd 7:00pm
EDION Stadium, Hiroshima