BEFC kicked off 2019 with a visit to King George FC in the 2nd round of the Footy Japan Cup. King George had earlier dispatched BEFC Lions in the first round with a narrow 0 - 1 victory which put Lions into the Plate and King George with a meeting the BEFC's other team who skipped the first round by virtue of making the cup final last season! The danger of the FJC cup is the match right after the Winter break with players still abroad or unavailable. Add in that this weekend was a holiday weekend, BEFC had some prematch work to do ensuring they could field a starting eleven. That they managed with a debut for Frederico Giacomini and the return of Kentaro Ogawa.
BEFC started strongly, dominating the play and restricting King George mainly to counter attacks from their own half. While BEFC applied the pressure they found it hard to open up King George, although there were some brilliant stops and saves from the King George goalie to keep them in the game. Eventually the deadlock was broken and BEFC went 1 - 0 up courtesy of Kentaro Takahashi. However BEFC weren't overly happy with their own performance, especially with King George finding space between the lines for their number 23 Baptiste Delany to create a threat and outlet once BEFC's attack broke down. This was an issue from BEFC's division 1 season, in which despite some domination of possession, when too many players committed to an attack, when that attack broke down the opponent had more players goalside and closer to recover the ball than BEFC.
A half-time regroup did a lot of good and BEFC went to work restricting King George's reliance on Delany and taking more time in building play, although moving it more quickly making use of available players rather than trying to force going forward early. It didn't take long for this to take effect as BEFC began opening up King George repeatedly, winning more balls back from transitions and forcing an impressive number of clean through saves from the King George goalie who had to be their MVP! The match ended comfortable as BEFC ran in three more goals from Takahashi, Bato and Jorge Marenco continued his record for always scoring against the aptly named opponent. King Jorge's goal a tribute to some serious determination to extend his scroing run.
When it came to MVP nominations there were a lot of good calls, notably for the defensive midfield who had to work exceptionally hard, especially when BEFC were over committing to attack. However the votes came in for a player just back from almost a year of injury from being rather recklessly and unapologetically crocked in the knee by Panther's captain last season. Kentaro Ogawa made his return showing all the traits of why losing him last season was so significant for the team. Aside from his reading of play and defensive attributes Ogawa's control from the back and exceptional passing range and distribution creates another great threat for BEFC when initiating their attacks. In fact when the build up play went through Ogawa, they nearly almost resulted in some chance on the King George goal. For his overall play but also his effectiveness and ability as a weapon from the deep, Kentaro Ogawa is the Adecco Most Valuable Player versus King George.