Wednesday 22 May 2019

Vs Sydney FC (away) 21/5/19 - ACL Group Stage Match 6

  Sydney FC 0 - 4 Kawasaki Frontale

Another ACL campaign is over and done with. This year we went out with a bang which will probably give us all some thoughts of what might have been. But to be honest, it’s one good result covering up a series of lacklustre performances and a bit of bad luck. I’m not going to go into any detail about this match as once again, I was unable to watch this game. This year the ACL scheduling has been very cruel to me. Tuesday night kick offs at 19:00 make it difficult for many people to get to these games. Though saying that, we had some decent attendances for our home games.

So, what went wrong in the ACL this year? Of course already people are taking about mental weakness and us not taking the competition seriously. I think both of these are lazy assumptions and aren’t accurate but of course, people like to say these kind of things. It’s clear that after winning two titles we are not chokers anymore. You also can’t say that we didn’t prioritise this competition. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty clear that some of our early league games were affected by us saving players for ACL games. Leandro Damiao was apparently a player who we bought with the ACL in mind. Although in our first ACL game he came on in the 89th minute just after we’d conceded, so read into that what you want. More likely the main problem was more to do with our notoriously slow starts to seasons. At the start of the year, plenty of what Oniki seems to consider to be his starting eleven were just playing terribly. Some still haven’t really started playing well either. Ienaga, Morita, Nakamura, Kobayashi all had very slow starts to the season. Combine this with Oniki being reluctant to give players outside of his preferred eleven anything for than 10 or 15 minutes of pitch time and you can understand why we didn’t play very well.

Our opposition in the group had some bearing on the results too. A group made up of three league champions and one team who had reinforced well in the off-season and could well be the K League champions this year was never going to be easy. Although saying this, neither Shanghai or Ulsan looked particularly good, but we still contrived to look worse. Also, injuries didn’t help our cause. We still have plenty of players on the sidelines and we lost some important players for important games. Although some of these players were the ones who I think have been playing pretty badly this year. Even so, the injuries have got to be taken into account I think. Then there was good old fashioned bad luck. Morita giving away the penalty in the first game was unfortunate. If we’d picked up a point away at Shanghai instead of starting our campaign with an unfortunate loss who knows what might have happened. If everything panned out as it did, we would have gone through ahead of Shanghai in the group. Away at Ulsan, you can’t really say we were unlucky. We totally dominated the game, but failed to score due to woeful shooting and then failed to defend at the death. Two home draws with the same two teams came because of more dodgy defending and more failures to put shots away. Apparently against Ulsan at home we only had 4 out of 21 shots on target. They had 3 of their 4 and the game finished 2-2. Against Shanghai, they had 2 shots on target and scored twice (although we only had 3 and also scored twice, so that probably says something about the quality on show). Two wins against what looked like a very poor Sydney team have added a bit of gloss to the final standings, but the home game against them, the only ACL game I managed to see live this year, was one of the worst performances I’ve seen us put in all season and we’ve had some stinkers.If we manage to qualify for the competition next year, Oniki really has to address the slow starts we’re making to campaigns. How he manages to make experienced players avoid being quite so unprepared and rusty, I don’t know. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to sit and moan instead of having to try and think how to sort out a situation.

But let’s finish by looking on the bright side. This game saw another goal from Leandro Damiao, two more from Wakizaka and another from Ao with us coming racing out of the traps and establishing a big lead in the first half. We could do with some of that form transferring over into the league, where we need to get a poor performance against Nagoya out of our systems and get back to winning ways, preferably playing a bit better than we have been. One other positive is that now we can have no doubt over what our priority might be and therefore we will presumably see what Oniki considers to be our best available eleven in our next match. We’ve got quite a bit of ground to make up and now have no distractions (until the Emperor’s Cup comes round). So, let’s look forward to that, and also look forward to a nice way trip to Oita on Sunday. I’ve heard it’s going to be pretty hot and sunny. Three points are a must, I think.


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya
MF 19. SAITO Manabu

GK 21. ARAI Shota
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki (on for SAITO 62')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for TANIGUCHI 83')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for LEANDRO DAMIAO 70')
MF 27. SUZUKI Yuto

WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 9' 0-1
WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 20' 0-2
TANAKA (Frontale) 28' 0-3
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 59' 0-4


No comments:

Post a Comment