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Giant Killing Episode 22

August 29, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, with 90 minutes already on the clock my local team AFC Bournemouth were 3-1 up at home against Notts County. Come the final whistle, the score was 3-3. If ever there was an advertisement as to why you should never give up and abandon a game for dead, that is surely it, and it’s a lesson that East Tokyo United will undoubtedly have to put into practice here, as we rejoin them 2-0 down against Osaka Gunners at half-time.Not surprisingly, the mood in the dressing room isn’t the greatest, with Kuro looking liable to thump Sugi for failing to keep Kubota’s talents in check – his anger does, however, spur the entire defence to take responsibility for their mistakes during the game so far, and hopefully in turn pushing them on to perform better still.

That said, after turning up for the half-time team talk late, Tatsumi doesn’t seem too worried about the tactical aspects of the game beyond what he laid out to his players in training prior to the match – rather, his concern is that the players go out and “have fun”. What could be more fun that turning around a 2-0 deficit to win? He certainly has a point, but will this really help the team? If nothing else it could serve to take the pressure off them and allow them a little more freedom to play to their potential, I suppose.

As the second half kicks off, Osaka go on the attack again immediately, with some obvious differences – Kuro now really seems to have Hauer under his belt, causing the Osaka forward to be increasingly frustrated, while Kubota is starting to have a rough time as Sugi gets more physical with the young, lightweight player to deny him the space and time he’d enjoyed previously. Even Gino is upping his game for the second half, although not everything is rosy in the ETU garden, with Natsuki looking decidedly ponderous and weighed down by his responsibilities in an attacking force which is decidedly lacking in communication.

I have to admit I’m not too convinced by Tatsumi’s attempts at motivating his team on this particular occasion – telling a team to enjoy themselves is one thing, but not giving them any further reassurance seems like a dangerous game, seemingly made worse by his words to Natsuki before the match which are revealed at the end of this episode. Still, beyond that this episode certainly did the job when it came to raising the temperature and tension in a game that looked from the outside to be dead and buried for ETU while also giving us a little pleasure from seeing the team’s central defence not only matching but outwitting their direct opponents at last, and next week will no doubt be where the magic really starts to happen. Let’s face it, if there’s one thing Giant Killing has done well throughout it’s making me look forward to the next instalment, and this episode is no different in that regard.

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