Saturday, 25 August 2012

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So after all our moaning here on GGOA Omiya came away from FC Tokyo last weekend with a win, pulling themselves out of the relegation zone in the process. Milivoje Novakovic scored a cracking winner, Hiroyuki Komoto made his debut as substitute and helped shore up the defence as Tokyo pressed for an equaliser, while Yosuke Kataoka had the game of his life. With a home game to come on Saturday night against out of form Vegalta Sendai, are things actually looking a little rosier now in le jardin de écureuil? 

Well, yes and, to coin a phrase, nope. The Squirrels just about deserved the three points at Ajinomoto, Novakovic producing the game's one moment of real attacking quality as Kataoka performed his heroics at the other end... and what an unusual combination of words that is. But the distance between success and failure was very, very narrow: if FC Tokyo had had a bit more luck, a bit more incisiveness and someone else instead up front of the completely anonymous Edmilson, they could easily have won.

And if Zdenko Verdenik is relying on this Ardija back four to keep the opposition out, he's going to need Komoto to take a starring role... and a lot of luck. On the two other occasions Omiya have kept clean sheets since Verdenik took over, the defence worked astoundingly hard against a Sanfrecce Hiroshima side having a serious off-day, and then Koji Ezumi shone against a poor Shimizu S-Pulse. These things don't happen every week. Make no mistake about it, the Squirrels are still deep in a relegation fight.

But they actually might happen tomorrow. Novakovic's goal was a massive confidence boost for the squad and although the veteran Slovenian is some way yet from full match fitness, Yu Hasegawa has also found the target a couple of times in recent weeks. In other words it's possible that we might score against Vegalta Sendai, especially if the massively underachieving Cho Young Cheol remains on the substitutes' bench. 

Komoto meanwhile looks set to make his first start in an orange shirt, although there are dispiritingly large question marks over where he might be deployed. The former Vissel Kobe man is an experienced central defender and God knows there's a need for improvement in that part of the Omiya team; but then again we don't have a dedicated right back at all, and at FC Tokyo he came on for regular first choice left back Takumi Shimohira. Wherever he ends up playing against Vegalta, let's hope he's lucky.



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