Sunday 4 October 2020

Vs Cerezo Osaka (away) 3/10/20 - J League match 20

 Cerezo Osaka 1 - 3 Kawasaki Frontale

Lovely stuff! This was probably on paper our most difficult game of the season so far. Away to a recent bogey team who also happened to be directly behind us in second place in the league table and who are playing and doing a lot better this year than in previous years when they always seemed to frustrate us. But we passed another big test and now have a 14 point lead at the top of the table with 13 games left to play. It’s a bit early to be thinking like this, but if we win nine more games we will be certain of winning the league. Of course if other teams drop points it won’t be necessary to win nine more times. Also looking at the table and for the time being ignoring the fact that teams have played all sorts of different numbers of games, we have scored the most goals and conceded the least. It’s a great time to be a Frontale fan, isn’t it? Although nothing is in the bag yet though, so we shouldn’t get complacent. Cerezo were a tricky opponent for the majority of the game. I would have probably have been satisfied with a draw in this game, particularly considering our recent record in this fixture. But perhaps we’ve put that to bed now. We’ve played one of our bogey teams twice in the league this year and come away with an aggregate score of 8-2 which is delightful! Of course there’s still a possibility that we’ll play them in the Emperor’s Cup later in the season with them desperate for revenge and perhaps will lose another final to them. But as things stand at the moment, we’ve had a pretty good season against them. But let’s not think about potential future defeats and instead enjoy the buzz of satisfaction this game has given us. Lovely! Here are some bullet points on various things with hopefully not much moaning

A tough game! - 

As mentioned above, this was by means an easy game for us and the scoreline perhaps flatters us a little. It didn’t really feel like a 3-1 as for large parts of the game Cerezo were causing us some trouble. In fact long periods of the game consisted of one team or the other having some good possession but not quite being able to break through and turn the possession into meaningful chances. According to the stats I’ve seen, both teams had 13 chances in the game with us having six on target and them three. So this gives some idea of what kind of match it was. Defence was on top, (not surprising considering Cerezo spent most of the match with everyone behind the ball and usually eight players in their own penalty box. We had a lot more possession than them, but given that we love a sideways pass and they love a quick break counter attack there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. The big difference seems to be that we have an ability this year to score goals in clusters and it’s pretty tricky to come back when you concede a couple quickly. I don’t know why this is happening and whether it’s a tactic but it has happened quite a few times. Of course, we’ve also conceded shortly after scoring too, so perhaps it’s not quite as clear cut as I might think, but I guess this might suggest that we are pursuing a plan of not sitting back after scoring and trying to strike while the iron’s hot, sometimes ending up getting burnt, but thankfully not so often. Again it felt a little bit like our first half was more about probing and seeing what’s going on and then the second about keeping it steady aside from a brief explosion of goals. Again the starting striker toiled and huffed and puffed to not much success. Kobayashi had a few good chances but it seemed like nothing we tried was going to get past Kim in the Cerezo goal. It was fortunate then that Cerezo put one in for us and what a finish it was! To be fair to the defender, if he hadn’t done anything about it, Kobayashi was free and in plenty of space behind him. Lovely pass from Nobori to Wakizaka to set up Seko for the own goal though. Similarly, Cerezo’s goal was pretty unstoppable, a nice cross to a player who was right between our two central defenders and it was finished perfectly. Thankfully we could get a couple of quick fire close range bangers to claim the points. Lovely!

Our old friend Tojo - 

Once again, we were reunited with our old friend Tojo, who took charge of the game. Can’t say I’m particularly upset about anything he did but it seems some of the Cerezo fans feel differently. For the record, in my notes I wrote that I definitely didn’t think it was a penalty. Nobori took the ball cleanly I thought. The camera angle that the clip that’s going round was filmed from seems to suggest otherwise, but I wouldn’t really say it’s clear. It’s one of those ones that you watch over and over and the more you watch it the less you can see. Would like to see it from another angle again in order to reinforce the opinion that is already lodged in my head although I’m currently happy with the way I see it. Not sure why Tojo booked Oshima for fouling the Cerezo keeper. Or rather I guess I know why he did, but I’m not sure he should have. Anywhere else on the pitch and the challenge wouldn’t have been a yellow but because it’s the keeper Oshima was booked. I don’t think it’s particularly fair, as if teams are going to use their keeper as an extra defender I think they shouldn’t get special treatment when it comes to tackles. Just to clarify. I’m not disputing that it was a foul. Just don’t think it should have been a yellow. It was great to see Oshima back though. It’s probably no coincidence that our recent slightly dodgy performances have coincided with his absence.

Damiao finally the hero, and the return of the Mitoma we love? - 

Finally, Damiao is the hero, scoring the decisive goal with his first touch. Again it was a real poacher’s goal, but the fact that he was aware enough to be in the right place to slot home a rebound from Hatate’s shot shows he’s doing the right thing. He seemed so happy during his post match interview and I enjoyed his ‘arigato gozaimasu’ a lot. The scorer of our third goal could also be said to be significant too. To the casual viewer it would come as no surprise to see Mitoma scoring, but if you’ve been watching closely he’s definitely been a bit off the pace recently. It feels that in the last month or so that he’d come on, dribble a bit, not get his cross or shot off properly and then fade out of the game. Thankfully that wasn’t the case in this match. This probably is a comment made with slightly rose-tinted glasses though as if he hadn’t scored maybe I’d be saying the same thing again. Hopefully the goal will restore some of his confidence as he’s been a crucial player for us so far this year and will be for the rest of the season too hopefully. Guess we have to congratulate Oniki on his subs, as they immediately changed the game. We were set to take the corner we scored from before the subs were made, but Oniki rushed them on and then Damiao was there to smack it home.

Nonsense - 

Yamane, what a mystery! I’d love to see his positional heat map as he doesn’t seem to spend much time in normal right back kind of positions. More power to him though! I don’t think I remember seeing a right back who makes so many runs into the box. Definitely deep down inside, he’s a frustrated forward or winger. As long as Morita or one of the midfielders is there to cover his adventures forward, all is good though! 

Oh, and as you know I like to put one stupid throwaway joke in every post, my groundbreaking observation on this game is that Desabato and Jonjic are the same pokemon, before and after evolving. I have to admit my knowledge of Pokemon is close to non existent, but I’m pretty sure that if you get two Desabato’s and merge them you get the taller and more fully bearded Jonjic. Is that how it works? I wonder if that’s what has happened to some of the players who are apparently in our squad that we never see anything of. Maybe Koki Harada has been used to power up Yamane’s attacking. Has Issaka Zain been grafted on to Sung-Ryong to improve his passing? Until I see any evidence suggesting otherwise, I’m going to keep an open mind.

Well, that was fun. Guess we’ll now throw in some stinkers in a couple of what might be considered our easier upcoming league games. Got my eye on the out of form Vegalta Sendai who we face next in the league next Saturday. Before then we face FC Tokyo at home on Wednesday in the Levain Cup semi final. The league is definitely more important to me, but of course I really want us to give FC Tokyo another pasting and get through to a final at the new national stadium. Would make a nice change from schlepping up to Urawa. Fingers crossed! Also it seems that we might be able to attend some away games soon which is very exciting for me. Will be a bit weird with no singing or shouting though, but it will still be good to watch some football somewhere away from Todoroki. Fingers crossed for that too. Keep it up lads, keep it up Oniki and GO FRONTALE!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG 

DF 13. YAMANE Miki 

DF 4. JESIEL (Yellow card 14')



MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa



FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro


FW 19. SAITO Manabu


GK 27. TANNO Kenta 

DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for NOBORIZATO 73')


MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota (on for WAKIZAKA 63')  (Yellow card 71')

FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru (on for SAITO 63')

FW 20. MIYASHIRO Taisei 

FW 30. HATATE Reo  (on for TANAKA 73')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Solid performances all over the pitch again, with of course the occasional blunder. But one player just seems to plough on being a different class in almost every game he plays. I’ll give it to….

IENAGA Akihiro - seems to be able to shrug off three opposition players at the same time, passing classily, all while chewing gum and keeping his hair style intact. What’s not to love?


OWN GOAL (Frontale) 37' 0-1
OKUNO (Cerezo) 62' 1-1
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 83' 1-2
MITOMA (Frontale) 84' 1-3


No comments:

Post a Comment