Burzanovic Back with a Bang!

31 May
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Igor Burzanovic, out for 6 months since rupturing ligaments late last season, made a surprisingly early return to action today. The Montenegrin came on as a late sub and scored the fourth and decisive goal in the 5-2 win over plucky Avispa. The Fukuoka team eventually finding themselves outclassed after a useful first half.

NGE Avispa

Grampus were boosted by the return from injury of Masukawa, who passed a late fitness test, and Igor Burzanovic who made the bench. Both Narazaki and Danilson recovered from minor strains that had made them doubtful and started the game. So, somewhat surprisingly Piksi was able to field what was close to a full-strength team.

Nagoya started well, but the visitors also defended well and had the occasional chance of their own. Noashi was released into space by a raking Danilson pass early on, but the midfield terrier was too slow to get a shot off and the chance went begging. Danilson was also making his physical presence felt in the anchor role and this allowed his defensive midfield colleague to take up a more advanced position better suited to his nature. Masukawa and Ogawa also had half chances, but failed to convert them. The gentle giant in particular, should have done better with a chance on the goal line.

However, Nakamura’s more attacking role soon paid dividends as his low cross was fumbled by the Avispa goalie and Kennedy pounced on the loose ball to give Grampus the lead. The lead was cancelled out almost immediately though, when Sueyoshi was brought down in the area and Okamoto calmly converted the resultant penalty.

Grampus started well again in this half, and Kennedy setup Tamada to restore the the lead with a shot that took a deflection off the hapless Kamiyama. The Fukuoka ‘keeper then mad amends for his earlier miss with a good save to deny Naoshi. However, the visitors would not concede defeat that easily and Shigematsu pulled them level again after 20 minutes with a deft header.

Shortly after this, Japan U-22 speedster Nagai replaced Ogawa and thereafter, the game increasingly swung Grampus’s way. Shortly after the half hour mark, Fujimoto restored the lead with a well-struck shot on the turn. Burzanovic then added the fourth shortly after coming on as a late sub. The Montenegrin scoring from an impossible angle, and picking up a yellow card for his understandably emotional celebrations. Tamada rounded off the scoring with a neat finish after Nagai had shown good hustle to keep the ball in play near the corner flag.

Although the number of shots, corners and free kicks were fairly evenly distributed over the course of the game, Grampus dominated possession 63% to 37%. This level of control was eventually reflected in the scoreline as the visitors ran out of energy in the final 10 minutes.


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