Monday 12 September 2016

Vs Avispa Fukuoka (home) 10/9/16 - 2nd stage match 11

Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka

Home at Todoroki again and this time it’s back to our league campaign. Avispa Fukuoka are a bit of a bogey team for us this year after having beaten us at home in the Nabisco and ruined our first stage hopes away at their place. And with the defeat at home against Kashiwa and the first 2/3 of the game against Blaublitz still strong in the memory I approached this game with some trepidation. Their league position suggests that they are not very good, but we do have a habit of tripping up against teams like them.

The first surprise of the day was the strength of the bench. We’ve been able to field decent starting line ups recently but there has definitely been something missing on the bench. But on Saturday we had options. Takeoka made it back from injury in time to be a sub (thankfully it seemed that Blaublitz didn’t manage to completely destroy him) and we also had Itakura for our defensive options. In attack, Moriya, a fit again Hashimoto, Miyoshi (back from playing with Japan’s under 21s) and Morimoto. This all contributed to a strong looking bench. Tasaka was rewarded for a decent sub performance against Blaublitz by a starting position, although it was at right back, so not exactly his favoured position. But all in all there was reason to be positive going into the game.

From the kick off it seemed clear that Avispa were looking for one thing; to come away from the game without losing even if that meant spending pretty much 90 minutes with everyone behind the ball. They nominally had one up front, but he seemed to spend most of his time in his own half. They were definitely trying to defend, snatch the ball and hit us on the counter attack. The middle of the pitch was very congested but for some reason this seemed to be where we were trying to attack through. The one time the ball was given to Tasaka at right back he set off on a cracking run and almost did some damage. But it seemed that through the middle was our main plan. We had loads of possession in the first half but weren’t quite making the most of it. Taniguchi seemed to almost be playing as a defensive midfielder rather than a centre back and Neto was waving everyone forward whilst on the ball. Perhaps understandably, due to the lack of space, our opening goal came from a set piece. After an initial practice attempt which was saved by the keeper, (Kengo takes the corner, Taniguchi heads it), we finally managed to score from a corner again. It was a nice angled header for Taniguchi to score his first goal of the season. Good for him! He’s been doing a good job recently and it’s nice for him to get on the score sheet again. After this goal everything went a little crazy. Avispa’s game plan was ruined and they didn’t seem to know what to do. Consequently neither did we and the last 15 minutes of the first half were quite ragged, but we definitely were the team on top.

So half time came and gave a chance for both team’s managers to work out what to do from here. Strangely, nothing changed with regards to substitutes but we did start to take the ascendency a little probably due to Avispa trying a little more to create something. We began the second half in fine style, creating plenty of chances again and going two up fairly early on. It was a bit of a weird goal though as Kengo had his shot blocked but then the defender dithered and Kengo picked himself up and prodded the ball goalwards through the defender’s leg and it deflected into the net off the keeper. You have to feel a little for the keeper. He looked absolutely gutted. At this stage we were playing pretty well and making lots of chances. Okubo looked a different player from a few weeks ago (or perhaps I was just seeing him in a different light). He seemed hungry for the ball and keen to shoot and his shots were flying just wide instead of miles over or straight at the keeper. He picked up the third goal from a nice move slamming the ball in from just inside the box after a neat passing move. It seemed to be a matter of how many we would score at this stage. However, that was the last of our goals and the only other goal of the game was a pretty good finish from outside the box by one of their players who was in plenty of space with unfortunately no-one anywhere near him. It’s a bit of a shame as it would have been nice to get the clean sheet, but the three points is undeniably the most important thing.

Positives and negatives from the game. Let’s start negative this week. A kind of unnecessary goal to concede, not taking as many of the many chances we had and a bit of scary disorganisation at times. Also, it may have been a win, but maybe we might have struggled a little against better opposition. You can really see why Avispa will almost certainly go down. Which makes our previous games against them this season even more frustrating. Positives, a few more. Tasaka did a great job at right back, a position I suspect he would not have picked for himself. His run forward in the first half was one of our most dangerous looking moments. I wonder if he was trying quite hard to concentrate on covering his defensive duties though as he didn’t get forward very often. Okubo’s performance and goal are big positives. He looks like he’s getting back to form. The finish was a good one and this overall performance looked much more like the Okubo of old. And he’s catching Utaka in the scoring chart (but so is Kobe’s Leandro…). Edu back in the team and Morimoto and Hashimoto back on the bench shows that we are heading in the right direction injury wise. It’s a good time of the season for things to come back together after our little wobble. Let’s hope it can continue. And one final positive, we’re still top.

So the season is coming to an end quite quickly. There are only six games left and I guess we are in the best position possible. Obviously it would be nice to have a bit more breathing space, particularly in the second stage where we are only ahead of Urawa on goal difference, but I think we would have taken this position at this stage coming in to the season. And we are five ahead of them over the season as a whole. Of the six remaining games we’ve got some tough ones. In fact none of them look particularly easy. We’re playing away at Omiya (this weekend), Kobe and Kashima and at home against Yokohama, Sanfrecce and Gamba. But maybe (and there is an element of optimism in this) we play better against better teams. Urawa are playing 4 of the same teams as us but their other two games look like a little bit easier, but we know that if we keep winning our games, we will top the league overall. So it’s in our hands (as it was at the end of the first stage…). Fingers crossed! Onwards to Omiya (or actually to Kumagaya this season).


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
DF 20. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
FW 13. OKUBO Yoshito 


GK 30. ARAI Shota
FW 9. MORIMOTO Takayuki (on for OSHIMA 90+1')
DF 17. TAKEOKA Yuto (on for KOBAYASHI 86')
MF. 19 MORIYA Kentaro (on for TASAKA 82')


TANIGUCHI (Frontale) 29'  1-0
NAKAMURA (Frontale) 47'  2-0
OKUBO (Frontale) 60' 3-0
HIRAI (Avispa) 85'  3-1

(Not the usual highlights, as the J League ones seem impossible to find for some reason)

No comments:

Post a Comment