Kashiwa Come From Behind Once More to Punish PSG
Kashiwa Reysol once again demonstrated their unmatched powers of recovery to come from behind and beat Paris Saint-Germain by two goals to one in an entertaining fifth place play-off.
With both Reysol and PSG providing some of the tournament’s most memorable moments, all eyes
were on forwards Kaito Mori and Timothy Weah going into the game. The two had managed three
goals each in the competition so far, and were seeking to increase their tallies in their final match at
Al Kass 2017.
In the opening minutes, it looked as though a goal frenzy was on the cards, with both sides firing
shots on target in the first 60 seconds. However, it turned out to be defenders that would steal the
limelight in this play-off match.
Both teams had iutilised ntricate passing through the midfield and pace in wide areas to create an
array of goalscoring opportunities in their previous fixtures, and the same applied here. However,
with inspiring defensive displays from PSG’s Abdourahmane Barry and Motohiko Maie for Reysol,
goals were kept to a minimum.
PSG’s physical advantage worked in their favour for the opener. Weah earned his side a corner for
Lucas Bernadou to cross to the far post, and captain Emmanuel Attah rose to meet the ball, high
above an overcrowded Tomo Chiwata in goal. The midfielder had little difficulty guiding the ball into
an empty net to give Paris the lead.
With Barry acting as their defensive backbone, PSG looked impossible to break down. Clearly a
trusted member of the team, his pace and height allowed for full-backs Lucas Maronnier and Arthur
Zagre to venture into attacking positions to lend support to forwards.
Although Reysol were aware of the pockets of space this provided, there was little they could do as
the centre-back pounced onto every loose ball and shrugged the Japanese forwards away with ease.
Maie acted in similar fashion at the other end of the pitch. His raw pace saw him reel in Virgilue
Postolachi on several occasions, keeping the deficit to just one with perfectly timed sliding tackles
and intelligent interceptions.
The first 45 ended with PSG ahead. However, Reysol’s tenacity has seen them come from behind
before, meaning the match was far from over.
Sure enough, Kashiwa were back on level terms early in the second half. Offensive full-back Arata
Yoshida drove the ball down the line and delivered an inviting cross into the box. Kaito Mori’s
determination saw him latch onto the pass ahead of Moussa Sissako and stroke the ball past an
unsuspecting Pierre Ouvry.
Play opened up as both sides tired, meaning that the fitter of the teams would likely gain the upper
hand. PSG’s squad depth and range of attacking options off the bench saw Laurent Huard reshuffle his side, and soon after they cane close to regaining their lead, again through a set piece.
Reysol vs PSG
Timothy Weah arrived at the front post following a corner and flicked the ball up over Tomo
Chiwata. The header beat the keeper, but couldn’t beat the post, and the sides remained on level
Reysol were working their way back into contention, looking as though they may snatch themselves
a winner as the game wound down. However, few would have predicted the manner in which it
came about, with an unexpected goalkeeping error from the normally dependable Ouvry gifting the
Japanese a second.
The PSG number one received the ball at his feet in open play and, with few options ahead of him,
struggled to decide who to pass to. With Kenta Tsutsumi fast approaching, the decision was made
too late, as the ball bounced off the advancing forward and into the net.
A startled French side were unable to regroup after the error, and from the 66 th minute failed to
create any further opportunities. Kashiwa had once again come from behind to emerge victorious.
Their vibrant performances and unmatched tenacity has seen them earn fifth position, along with a
host of admirers, at Al Kass 2017. PSG, meanwhile, will also be sadly missed, but the crowds
assembled at Aspire Zone have surely witnessed a star in the making in the form of Timothy Weah.