Thursday, 4 May 2017

Vs Cerezo Osaka (away) 30/4/17, J-League match 9

Cerezo Osaka 2 - 0 Kawasaki Frontale

This weekend’s punishment came in the form of a visit to newly promoted Cerezo Osaka. I think I am running out of things to say about our form and our play at the moment so this post might end up being mercifully brief. The result was one of the positives from the game. Yes, we lost 2-0, but if it hadn’t been for the heroics of Sung-Ryong, we could easily have lost this match by five or six. The outfield performance was pretty woeful and we got exactly what we deserved ie. nothing. Maybe it was a hangover from a tough trip away in Korea, but I was hoping that the rare win we had there would give us some confidence, rather than drain us of all footballing ability.

The starting line up was similar to away in Korea. Sung-Ryong in goal, a back four made up of Tasaka on the right, Nobori on the left and Nara and Kurumaya in the middle. Taniguchi was pushed up into defensive midfield with Moriya to take Kengo’s place (yet another injury…). Abe and Miyoshi were the wide players and Otsuka played behind Kobayashi. The bench was Arai, Edu, Itakura, Kano, Hasegawa, Rhayner and Morimoto. The Cerezo stadium was nice but unfortunately there’s a running track which is always a shame. It seemed to have been coloured in by a pensioner who’s taken up pastel drawing to calm themself down. This effect was later hidden by a wall of Fuchsia shirts. One whole side of the ground was filled up with local kids' football teams which must have helped push the attendance up a bit but created a bit of a strange view as they were all wearing different kits and consequently it looked a bit confusing. Cerezo seemed to have several players who looked a bit like they were on day release from prison having been locked up for town centre brawling and were another team with a Korean goalie. Seems like there are loads in this league. Are Korean goalies great? Or Japanese goalies not very good? Today, I’d lean towards the former. As I said above, Sung-Ryong repeatedly saved us in the first half as we flapped around in defense. He made some wonder saves, plenty of regular saves and we cleared the ball off the line twice. We could easily have gone in to half time with an impossible second half task. But as it turned out, we could have gone in with an entirely undeserved lead. Right down the other end of the pitch we were awarded a penalty. Miyoshi almost had his head taken off by an attempted overhead clearance. I had no idea why the penalty was given at the time and it took a few looks at the replay to work out what was going on. I think @DauringuG explained it best on twitter when he said that anywhere else on the pitch it would have been an easy free kick to give but was a little bit surprising to see the penalty awarded. Kobayashi stepped up and placed the ball perfectly onto the top of the cross bar. He never seems to have much luck with the woodwork. It always seems to bounce away rather than bounce in for him. Probably sums up his form recently though. He seems to be struggling at the moment. So, 0-0 at half time. We were a mess. All of our clearances went straight to them and we seemed to have no real midfield which I guess would explain why the former was happening. We needed to change something.


And Oniki did. Otsuka didn’t come our for the second half and was replaced by Itakura. Otsuka hadn’t had a particularly good game so it wasn’t that much of a surprise. But then again, it probably could have been any of the outfield players who was replaced. Itakura seemed to slot into the defensive midfield spot and Moriya pushed forward. At least that’s what I guess would have happened, but it was pretty difficult to see where anyone was playing. We were still a bit of a mess to be honest. Although, we did start the second half quite brightly. We made a few chances and maybe we had some room for optimism. Rhayner came on for Miyoshi on 64 minutes. I think it was a bit harsh on Miyoshi as Abe hadn’t really done anything. Rhayner was playing all over the pitch again and any concept of formation seemed to have been abandoned. Three minutes later Cerezo went ahead. With loads of our players back, Cerezo exchanged a couple of quick passes and cut out half of our defence. Kurumaya, Nobori and Itakura all seemed rooted to the spot. It was a nice finish, but we didn’t exactly make it difficult for them. From here onward we tried to step things up a bit, but it didn’t really work. Cerezo seemed to be knocking lumps out of our players and we seemed cowed by it. In the notes I made during the game I have multiple references to how terrible the referee was but to be honest, we were worse. All our problems were of our own doing, so as much as I like to moan about officials, I probably shouldn’t on this occasion. On 87 minutes the long-expected second goal game. Again, it was down the other end of the pitch so everything I know, I know from the replay. Looks a bit like a handball initially, doesn’t it? In any case, by the time the shot came we had four players between the shooter and the goal yet it seemed like all he had to do was roll the ball home. Another soft goal. And mercifully, but unjustifiably, that’s how it ended up. Cerezo seemed pleased with the three points, but if we keep playing like this, I think teams will be disappointed to only score two against us in the future.

Positives and negatives. Two positives only. Sung-Ryong kept the score down and played well again. Can’t blame him for either of the goals. The other positive was that I was given a free notebook on the way in by a schoolchild. Beats the usual carrier bag full of adverts. Negatives… where to start? Absolutely woeful performance with no outfield player coming out of it with any kind of credit. Kobayashi seems to be really struggling, Abe was really quiet, Otsuka had his dodgy opening 10 minutes but this time for the whole first half. Oniki isn’t exempt from criticism either. I know we’re blighted by injuries but the defensive midfield pairings recently really haven’t worked. In fact in this game it appeared that we didn’t really have a midfield. Maybe we left it at home. Also it seems like the substitutions have been decided before the game. They’re pretty predictable and on Sunday seemed to mainly have the effect of breaking down the limited shape and organisation we had. I wonder if Oniki is too wedded to the system we're playing at the moment. It doesn't seem like we currently have the right players to fill the spots and it's not exactly working, so maybe we should change it. The three at the back worked ok at Sendai but was soon abandoned. That was the last league game we won, wasn't it? We can’t play two good games in a row at the moment. To be honest we can’t even play two good halves in a row. On Sunday we didn’t manage more than about 10 minutes. I really hope Kengo isn’t out for two long as even when he doesn’t play his best, he still plays a lot better than anyone did on Sunday. I know we have been, and continue to be very unlucky with injuries. And we’re playing twice a week. Both of these could be causing the problems, but put them both together and we’ve got some serious issues. We can’t rotate the team at all as the same players are playing pretty much all of the games (apart from when they get suspended). They seem tired and I understand why. I don’t understand why we haven’t done anything about it. It’s not as if the starting line-up we’re using has been getting results so why are we sticking with them? But saying that, I don’t know what I would change. Kano maybe? Or give Chinen a chance? Or Morimoto another chance…? Or swap the positions of Otsuka and Kobayashi maybe? Kobayashi plays much better when he's not the lone front man. Anyway, need to change something pretty urgently. Please come back soon Elsinho.

After playing the three promoted teams and getting two draws and a loss from them, we next face Albirex Niigata at home next Friday. A team that always seem to be flirting with relegation and it’s those kind of teams that we always seem to play badly against. I think it could be a pretty crucial indicator of how this season is going to go. We need some decent management from Oniki and some players stepping up. If we don’t get a result in this game, the wheels are really going to look like they’re coming off and our confidence is going to plummet to a new low. Get a decent win and it could just spark something and get us going. So almost certainly going to be a 1-1 draw, isn’t it? In any case, I’ll still optimistically say Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 19. MORIYA Kentaro
FW 27. OTSUKA Shohei
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki

GK 30. ARAI Shota
FW 9. MORIMOTO Takayuki
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for MORIYA 76')
MF 22. RHAYNER (on for MIYOSHI 64')
MF 25. KANO Kenta
DF 28. ITAKURA Ko (on for OTSUKA 46')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Not exactly blessed with options this week. In fact there's only one person it could be.

SUNG-RYONG - only positive in a bad team performance, sparing our embarrassment.


YAMAMURA (Cerezo) 67' 1-0
KIYOTAKE (Cerezo) 87' 2-0


The Frontale youtube channel has longer highlights provided by DAZN, but given that last year's highlights got wiped when the broadcaster got changed, I'm going to stick with the official J League ones. But you can watch the longer highlights here if you want.

No comments:

Post a Comment