ACL QF 1st leg: Wed, 23rd September 2009
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Venue: Kokuritsu Stadium
Short on time today, so it's just the top 5 pros and cons for this one.
1. Fantastic support despite having to make do with the national stadium as a makeshift home venue. (Todoroki was playing host to Tyson Gay and friends. I knew that running track was there for a reason.)
2. A return to the unrestrained style of olden times. Haven't seen the team create so many good chances in a long time. Of course they had to go a goal down first...and Nagoya aren't exactly renowned for their defence.
3. Kikuchi repeatedly getting stuck into the ever-whinging Josh Kennedy. Not sure how he escaped without a booking, but he did a wonderful job.
4. Magnum not scoring against us. (He says, tempting fate).
5. Yokoyama's distribution skills. Considering he was playing as a centre-back last year, this never ceases to impress me.
1. Renatinho's shooting of late. He's generally on target, but he either scuffs it or hits it into the ground. Hopefully, this is something he can remedy sooner rather than later.
2. Chong Tese's inability to keep possession. Nothing new here, but if you give him the ball you can be 90% sure he'll give it away.
3. Kawashima on Kennedy's goal. I know it just scraped inside the post, but it was hardly a rocket and you'd expect someone with Eiji's athleticism to cover the ground. He made up for it, mind, with the finger tip save on the goal line...and when deflecting Kennedy's second half shot with the end of his boot.
4. The prospect of Sekizuka reverting to the defensive approach in Nagoya. The priority has to be getting an away goal, not defending a precarious lead.
5. The diving is getting a bit embarrassing now. I generally don't mind when Juninho does it - can't teach an old dog new tricks, after all. And Renatinho is so blatant that it's actually quite funny. But to see even Kawashima getting involved now...someone needs to have a word. Actually this should have gone in a separate section called "The Ugly". Too late now!