June 26, 2007: There was a special goal on Saturday from a youngster with the potential to be a special player.
Yosuke Kashiwagi, still only 19 and a product of the Sanfrecce Hiroshima youth team, scored a goal of true beauty in the game at Vissel Kobe -- a goal that gets better with every replay.
Naturally it came from his left foot, and followed a lovely interchange between Sato and Ueslei. When the ball broke free on the edge of the box, Kashiwagi took one touch to control it before wrapping his foot around the ball and stroking a dream of a shot across the face of the goal and into the far corner from the left side.
Talk about "Bend it Like Shunsuke"! This was a wonderful goal in open play, and was followed by a celebration that further demonstrated his creativity without being offensive or provocative to the foe.
After a Roger Milla-style wiggle of the hips, Kashiwagi went ten-pin bowling and pretended to roll a ball down the alley, presumably for a strike.
Sanfrecce's second goal, in what turned out to be a 3-2 defeat, was another fine effort -- a textbook header from Ueslei to a masterful right-wing cross from Komano.
But who turned defence into attack in the first place by jinking his way up the right wing and waiting to play the decisive pass? Why, Kashiwagi again, showing the touch, pace, composure and quick mind that would have Ivica Osim purring.
Osim is already well aware of Kashiwagi, of course, and the upcoming FIFA World Under-20 Championship in Canada provides the perfect stage for the youngster to display his talents.
These are considerable -- but realising this potential is another matter altogether, especially with such a light frame.
For the moment, though, Yosuke Kashiwagi is a combination of Harry Kewell and Harry Potter -- a silky, left-footed schemer, with a touch of magic in those boots!