Thursday 11 April 2019

Vs Ulsan Hyundai (away) 11/4/19 - ACL Group Stage Match 3

Ulsan Hyundai 1 - 0 Kawasaki Frontale

I’m going to knock this blog post out quickly as this was once again a game I don’t want to dwell on too much. I managed to watch the game on TV in a bar in Kawasaki. But to be honest, I wish I hadn’t bothered. This season seems to be the season of draws so far, but Ulsan cruelly denied us another scintillating one with a late header which we didn’t really bother to defend. A potential injury to Taniguchi is the faecal icing on this shittiest of shitty cakes of a game. It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog to find where I place the blame for this abomination. Oniki picked a weird squad, a weird starting eleven and bench and didn’t even bother to use his third sub, presumably because he discovered he didn’t really have anything on the bench. Caio Cesar and Ao playing alongside each other in the defensive central midfield roles looked a pretty inexperienced pairing. Before this game Caio had played about two minutes of first team football for us but was selected to start. He was a bit shaky at times, but in the end did ok. The fact that he’s an attacking left-sided midfielder and he was played in the middle just in front of the back four probably hints at why his defensive play wasn’t as good as it could be.

There weren’t many bright sparks in this game. We shot and shot but once again couldn’t score. As I’ve said before, Oniki’s 2018 season lack of a plan B weakness has now disintegrated into a lack of both a plan A and a plan B. If I had access to a replay of the whole game, I would ideally get a screen grab of the shot of Oniki in the 88th minute with his magnets and whiteboard trying to work out something... anything, and then not bothering. As usual, too little too late. I would caption this screen grab ‘Oniki fiddles (with his magnets) while Frontale burns’. I think he’s well out of his depth and we could be in real trouble if something doesn’t change soon. Whether that change is to do with results or manager, things can’t really get worse in either respect. I’m not going to blame him for the mistake from Sung-Ryong and the closest defender for allowing them a free header. I will however blame him for the fact that in spite of dominating the game, we didn’t really create many chances. And we took none of the few we did. Also the fact that their tall goal scorer came on as a sub at a free kick and his marker was Maguinho suggests that we’re not really preparing very well.

Onwards and hopefully upwards. Things can’t get much worse. Perhaps a loss to a team that has only scored once this season in our next game could be one of those situations where things do get worse. We head to Sagan Tosu desperately needing a win. If I search for some positive, maybe it could be than we’ve now played our two toughest away games of the ACL group stage. But Sydney have managed two draws at home in the competition this year and last year we lost to Melbourne Victory away from home. So maybe even in my positive point, I’ve found a potential negative. Perhaps it is our fate after a couple of good seasons to have an absolute stinker of a year in all competitions. But in any case, the one bright spot for me is that on Sunday, after enjoying a local nihonshu, a local shochu and a beer on the terrace at Tosu, I probably won’t be able to remember much about the game afterwards! Drink on!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 7 KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 44. CAIO CESAR (Yellow card 41')
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (Yellow card 46')

GK 21. ARAI Shota
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei (on for KURUMAYA 70')
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki (on for TANIGUCHI 34')
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Yeah, right...


KIM Su-An (Ulsan) 90+1' 1-0



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