Guile, incision, attacking ability - none of these areas were present in Kyushu's Big Eye stadium on Sunday, as Omiya Ardija turned in a limp display that duly ended with a late winner for high-flying Oita Trinita. The absence through suspension of key forward Denis Marques underlined the extent to which the Squirrels are a one-paced, even sluggish team that is not able to create enough decent opportunities to convert. Stand-in striker Kota Yoshihara had his usual nightmare, invisible from start to finish - and were it not for keeper Koji Ezumi continually bailing out his team-mates with spectacular saves, the scoreline would have been much worse.
Ardija had a few shots in the first half and the best of those fell to Klemen Lavric in the third minute. The big Slovenian managed to wriggle his way around two Trinita defenders, but then placed a relatively straightforward shot that Oita's U23 international netminder Shusaku Nishikawa dealt with comfortably. Chikara Fujimoto put himself about in the midfield although not to great effect - and the two main chances in the opening period fell to the home side, free-kicks from Shingo Suzuki and burly veteran Ueslei that were saved well by Ezumi.
The second half was forgettable fare indeed until the final ten minutes when Omiya seemed to come to life, albeit for a brief time. Long-range efforts from Yosuke Kataoka and substitute Hayato Hashimoto at least made the game more exciting although almost inevitably Yasuhiro Higuchi's side capitulated at the end. The previously imperious Ezumi totally misjudged a corner and young midfielder Masato Morishige was on hand to stroke home in the 86th minute. The pressure is back on for Thursday's crunch match with Yokohama F Marinos.