advantage of the wind behind them, United pressed forward and on 48 minutes Daehli got free down the left and whipped in a low cross which flew towards goal. Fortunately for Reysol, the ball just evaded the far post. On 53 minutes Jack Barmby came on for Weir, and Harrop for Fornaisier. Just a minute later Rudge replaced Daehli as United rung the changes in an effort to try and find a way to an equaliser. Rudge’s first involvement nearly brought a goal as like Daehli before him, he whipped in a cross which again eluded everybody but flew wide of the far post.
The Japanese team were playing some good football, keeping the ball on the ground and using quick triangular passing movements, and were trying to catch United on the counter. On 65 minutes, Rudge had a shot saved and, five minutes later, Tyler Blackett’s strong free-kick effort cannoned high off the defensive wall and went behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Blackett missed a wonderful chance to score but he put his header wide of the mark. With time running out Joyce sent on Nicholas Ioannou for van Velzen after 75 minutes. Seconds later Liam Grimshaw received a deserved yellow card when after being turned by the Reysol winger, he pulled him back by his shirt. It was a mistake that was to cost United dearly.
The three-man wall appeared not to be lined up correctly with space at the near post clearly evident. Natsuki took the free-kick and his low shot was aimed at that near post. Gollini seemed to see it clearly and went down to make what should have been a very easy save. However, he allowed the ball to squirm from his hands and underneath his body into the net. United now had a mountain to climb.
The Japanese were cock-a-hoop and from then on played a possession game making United’s players work hard to get any kind of fluency going. When they did get possession, United did not seem to be able to keep it and as time began to play out and they attempted to press forward, they were caught on the counter.