Friday 26 October 2018

Vs Montedio Yamagata (officially home but actually away) 24/10/18 - Emperor's Cup Quarter Final

Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 3 Montedio Yamagata

From the dizzy heights of our second half demolition of Kobe, we’re back into the depths with another totally limp cup exit. It’s fair to say that this hasn’t been our year cup-wise, and it’s also true that we’d scraped our way to this stage with a comeback against Sony Sendai and only managing to defeat Mito on penalties. Sadly, on this occasion we weren’t able to muster the kind of comeback that we’ve relied on heavily in some of our games this season. Whilst recently when we’ve gone behind it has seemed likely that we’ll eventually get back into the game, for most of the first half on this occasion it looked like we’d not even be able to score even one, let alone three or four. Chinen gave us a lifeline bringing the score back to 3-1 but it looked like the red card would finish us off. Surprisingly, it actually seemed to spur us on, and in the end we could probably feel that we were unlucky to not take it to extra time. But for every opportunity to score we had, we gifted one to Montedio, and we can’t have any complaints about exiting the competition at this stage.

So, what went wrong? I don’t want to point the finger solely at one player, but Taniguchi had a nightmare. He was probably at least partly at fault for all three goals. I’ve referred to him before as one of Oniki’s undroppables, and I know I’m biased in this respect, but he’s been saved by Nara time after time recently. I don’t know if something’s on his mind, but he appears to have lost all form and confidence. It’s something of a mystery as to how a J2 side can so completely outsmart us at set pieces and yet we’re top of J1. You've got to hope that this was a blip, but if you want to be pessimistic, our best eleven has conceded six goals in the last two games. Hopefully none of our upcoming league opponents were watching and taking tips from this game. Aside from Taniguchi, our left side in the first half was awful. Nobori and Saito looked like they’d never met, let alone played together before. Hasegawa was a big improvement in the second half but the damage had already been done. Kobayashi again didn’t have the best of nights, Ienaga was pretty quiet. Sung-Ryong can’t be blamed too much for the goals, but the red card was a bit rash. He gave the forward an opportunity to drag his leg and go down. Apparently he’ll now be banned for our next league game. Since when does it work like that? Seems a bit stupid to me, but those are apparently the rules. Basically, too many players had off days at the same time. Perhaps they underestimated the opposition after getting a lot of praise for the second half performance against Kobe. Full credit to Montedio though. They came with a game plan to put men behind the ball and hit us on counter attacks and from set pieces and that’s exactly what they did. And they did it better than a lot of J1 teams have. Also, they didn’t seem to time-waste at all, which is almost unheard of recently. I wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season. Also, in the past rarer than a J League ref having a good game, but becoming something of a common Frontale Rabbit trope recently is the fact that I think Oniki made all the right decisions in this game. Can’t blame him, certainly from a tactical point of view. You’ve just got to put it at the feet of the players. Yamagata was a fun trip, aside from the football, and seems like a nice place. Just a shame that the result and game were so rotten.

We now have a week and a half off till our next league game, home against Kashiwa next Saturday. Easier said than done, but we’ve got to try and put this out of our minds and get back to the second half against Kobe form. It would be nice if we didn’t give the opposition a couple of goals head start in our remaining games. Now we’re top and have a lead, we’ve got to avoid doing a Hiroshima, and letting Hiroshima back in. Hopefully, Hiroshima will continue doing a Hiroshima for the next four games, but I’d rather it was us taking some strides towards winning the title, rather than wishing the games away and clinging on. Fingers crossed, eh?


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG (red card 64')
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 25. MORITA Hidemasa
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro
MF 37. SAITO Manabu

GK 30. ARAI Shota (on for OSHIMA 67')
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for SAITO 56')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for MORITA 46')
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 27. SUZUKI Yuto

My Frontale Man Of The Match

In situations like this I normally would sulkily give it to no-one but instead I’m going to split it three ways between the three people who did a decent job when all around them were doing less than mediocre jobs. So, step forward for your rosettes...

CHINEN Kei, HASEGAWA Tatsuya and ONIKI Toru - Chinen put the ball in the net. The goals weren’t the most beautiful but he was in the right position more often than not and gave us a lifeline. Hasegawa shook things up on the left and that was where all of our opportunities were coming from in the second half. He clicked much better with Nobori than Manabu had and you couldn’t argue with him starting the next game if Abe is still absent. And Oniki, as I said above seemed to do the right things but was let down by the players. I’ve given him plenty of stick recently so it only seems fair that I give him some praise when he seems to make what are in my opinion the right calls. Probably criticised him too much then and am praising him too much now, but you know, aiming for some balance.


KOBAYASHI (Montedio) 2' 0-1
SAKAI (Montedio) 36' 0-2
SAKANO (Montedio) 49' 0-3
CHINEN (Frontale) 60' 1-3
CHINEN (Frontale) 69' 2-3



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