Akasaki’s not making any mistake with the rebound off Natsuki’s shot, as he totally buried the chance before him to bring ETU within one. As we’ve pretty much come to expect from Tatsumi, he’s thought several steps ahead with his game plan too, particularly when it comes to the stamina of their opposition. Wearing out Kobuta turned out to be one part of his plan, whom Sugie tired out much faster than even Tatsumi anticipated. With him out of the game, Osaka’s sustained pressure in the offensive zone was bound to decrease and open the field up to counters. Dulfer didn’t seem to mind so much with Shimura around to pick up the slack, but Tatsumi doesn’t fail to surprise me with how he’s taken that into account as well. In addition to taking Kubota out of the game earlier than expected, Kuroda showed that he shut down and got under Hauer’s skin enough to draw a yellow card. That makes two of the opposition’s four forwards that ETU’s effectively taken out of the game.

At that point, it seemed inevitable that the rest of ETU’s game plan would come down to breaking through Osaka’s defense and scoring a couple of more goals to take the lead; however, their game plan extends even further than that with the focus on Hiraga all this time. Ever since the start of this match, I’ve been suspicious about how Gino’s long passes haven’t been connecting with Tsubaki and brought up several times in my previous posts how it might be all part of Tatsumi’s strategy. Admittedly, I suspected that Gino’s look of dissatisfaction was more of an act to throw Hiraga off rather than disappointment that his successful pass percentage is dropping, but the end result of wearing out Osaka’s captain by having him chase after balls against Tsubaki’s speedy legs was in line with what I was thinking. To that end, I just love how Gino had to let him in on how he’s been purposely making him run all game, just when Hiraga started suspecting that those long passes weren’t due to ETU’s playmaker having an off-day. It was like a big kick in the face to show how he’s been had yet unable to sub out because Dulfer has never taken his captain out due to the predetermined ones he sticks to.

Things don’t end there though, as Tanba subbing in for Kiyokawa as a left side back when he’s normally a left side midfielder was banking on the fact that Katayama would fall back to support his tiring captain. This in turn opened up the left side of the field for Tanba to send Tsubaki stretch passes down the wing and blow by Hiraga, who looks like he’s resorted to taking a yellow card instead of letting that happen. I can’t say that I buy everything playing out exactly like Tatsumi planned, but it’s hard to deny that there’s a systematic approach to his strategy at both ends of the field. Because of that, it sure makes for one hell of an exciting game when everything starts coming together. Next time it looks like Sera will finally get his chance to put one away and tie things up, with the real enemy against ETU right now being the clock. It’s probably safe to say that ETU will pull off an upset here, though I’m not sure if it’ll be a win or a tie. I think I speak for everyone when I say it better be a win!




  1. That’s not a yellow…that’s red card. ETU fans demand a penalty shot for Tsubaki. That grab from behind is totally ugly!
    Too bad we won’t see the whole season to see how the teams will fare at the end of the season.

    Island Esper
    1. Actually, Hauer should have gotten a red card for hitting Kuroda without a ball – the referee saw it, so there is no reason to give just a yellow. It’s a textbook red card.

      Regarding Hiraga’s case – it depends on whether he was the last man to stop Tsubaki or not. It’s definitely a yellow at least, but if Tsubaki was alone against the keeper, it’s a red.

    2. That’s what I was thinking, it’s a straight red, the shove to the ground by Hauer should have been a red as well. It’s cool that Giant Killing gets me so into the match that I’m actually complaining about calls.

    3. Hauer should have gotten a red. It’s an off the ball incident and right in front of the ref too. By all accounts even in Premier League standards it would be a red for a deliberate shove like that. A yellow would be rather lenient.

      Darklord does make a good point regarding Hiraga though. In his case, i’d say he’s lucky as we do see that there are defenders in front of him so he’s probably likely to receive just the yellow. If there were no defenders in front of him or if Tsubaki was already lining up to take a shot then yes it would be a red for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

    4. Hauer definitely should have gotten a red. He’s so lucky that the ref was lenient enough. In terms of Hiraga, it’ll most likely be a yellow, given that I think that 2 defenders were still infront of Tsubaki (one on Sera, the other one Natsuki). It’ll probably be a free kick with Gino taking it and scoring, or some sort of good pass for a goal.

      Sora no Kaze
      1. lol @ this question. I’m pretty sure he would have gotten a card, unless of course the ref didn’t see the whole incident properly (though technically he should, plus lines men).

        Sora no Kaze
      2. Haha, that got me a yellow card and a penalty kick. Though I ask myself if I should have gotten a red or not considering I was the last man. Regardless that was more than 5 years ago so it bothers me only a little.

  2. I can only hope that Giant Killing becomes an anime which we see every other half year, sort of in the same vein as Major or Ippo (only more frequent), I want to see ETU make the climb from

  3. It’s possible with the cynical nature of Hiraga’s foul, coupled with the ref not sending off Hauer, that he’ll ‘correct his mistake’ by sending off Hiraga. I hope not though, I want ETU to win 11v11, and not give Dulfer a chance to whine about ‘wrong decisions’ when he is in fact, tactically pwned.

    It would be nice tension if the ref had to consult with the linesman about the decision… and I’m pretty sure Kuroda is gonna get in the ref and/or Hiraga’s face about that foul.

    And I think this may be a 4-2 scoreline, seeing how badly Osaka is fading, and both Sera and Natsu needing to conquer demons. And Tsubaki fulfilling his promise.


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