Grampus manager Dragan Stojkovic was blunt in his assessment. “These kinds of mistakes in professional league is unacceptable.” The former Nagoya player witnessed his club nosedive from contention while Sendai stamped their credentials on the J League title.
A 4-nil scoreline was perhaps harsh for the game had a touch of the ‘thrust and parry’ about it. Nagoya were happy to attack the home team from the opening whistle. The home team however, chose their moments carefully but attacked in numbers. It was Sendai’s speed in transition from defence to attack which was the difference though. The 3rd goal of the match truly accentuated this. Coming in the 87th minute Brazilian Wilson finished off an attacking thrust which had evolved out of a Nagoya counter attack. A counter – counter attack!
Stojkovic made point of the difference in speed saying that Vegalta Sendai were very quick and that the match was a “. . . very good lesson for us.” The manager went on to say that he would “. . . have to find a solution for the next game.” He couldn’t hide his disappointment, but perhaps Grampus had rolled into town disrespecting Sendai, as many pundits have.
Down 2-nil at halftime after a scrambled goal and an own goal, Grampus threw Tulio up front alongside Kennedy. The international gave everything but the supreme fitness of the Vegalta Sendai squad proved too much. The 16000 odd fans assembled at Yurtec Stadium were treated to one of them ‘heady moments’.The 3rd goal referred to earlier was one to behold. Soccer at the edge of reality, the edge of human endeavour. In forty seconds the ball travels 300 metres with the third shot on goal in the movement being Wilson’s straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s possible this goal has demolished Nagoya’s season, while the victors . . . they have the world at their feet.