Thursday 17 December 2020

Vs Urawa Reds (home) 16/12/20 - J League match 33


Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 1 Urawa Reds

So our home league campaign for 2020 is finished and we’ve only got a trip to Kashiwa left before we can sit back and enjoy what we’ve achieved in the league this year. Of course there is still the small matter of an Emperor’s Cup semi-final to play at Todoroki, so this ‘last Kengo home game’ will actually probably be the second from last Kengo home game. But that doesn’t sound as exciting does it? And of course the real ceremonial aspects will be more apparent on Monday when the club are holding Kengo’s farewell do, which will also act as our end of season ceremony, with all the players apparently in attendance. For some of them this will probably be exciting, as it will be the second time they’ve been at the ground in a week. I’m talking about the youngsters who we thought might get a look in after the title was wrapped up, but of whom there has still been no sign of. Even players who’ve previously had match time have disappeared recently. I’m thinking mainly of Miyashiro, who for some reason can’t get a look in even when Kobayashi and Damiao are really struggling for goals. Hopefully his time will come though. Once again this game was Oniki sticking with what he knows rather than trying to shake some life into what has recently become a pretty plodding team. And maybe it worked, but you wouldn’t know from the first half. And let’s go into that more in this first bullet point…

Game of two halves -

It’s a total cliche, but it was absolutely the case in this game. Although not in the way that we might usually expect. Urawa were crap in both halves so for them it was more like a game of one half of them managing to defend whilst offering almost nothing up front with one half of them managing to defend except for 10 minutes and offering nothing up front.  I guess that plenty of Urawa fans will be quite pleased to see a new manager in charge next year. Perhaps not so good for opposition fans as they might be able to get themselves together a bit. From a Frontale point of view, we were pretty much carrying on from the last few games in the first half. Attacking, but being pretty useless when it came to shooting. In the first half, according to the stats, we had 14 shots on goal with only 2 of them on target. Urawa had just the one shot, which was on target and was a goal. (I presume they include the penalty in these stats. If they don’t, make that 2 and 2). To be honest, I don’t remember us having much to do at the back in the whole game. Which is a bit of a relief as the one time we did have something to do we gave away a penalty from a move which started from another dodgy Taniguchi pass. Give the man a rest!! In the stadium with no replay I thought it was an absolute disgrace of a decision. Having seen the replay, there’s not much to complain about so I’ll give the ref a rare but well deserved pat on the back and give myself and equally deserved kick in the nuts. This penalty meant that Urawa, who weren’t exactly trying to do much attacking before, decided to sit back and hang on to their lead. To be fair, Urawa’s players were probably already on the beach having nothing to play for. Little did we know though, the beach seemed to be in their own box, where they’d set up at least eight players and sun loungers at all times. In the first half this didn’t seem to bother us, as we were playing like we were winning 4-0. Nicely passing the ball along the back line, occasionally breaking into the opposition’s half before passing backwards and carrying on with that lovely sideways stuff. This is my main memory of the first half really. Ponderous, leaden play with the occasional shot. I was somewhat surprised to see we had 14 shots to be honest as it felt like a right drudge. The second half felt much more exciting but bizarrely, we had less shots (nine apparently), so it just goes to show what a nice ten minute blast of accuracy does to your interpretation of the events on the pitch.

Shooting -

I guess I’ve kind of gone into this in the above paragraph, but maybe there’s a bit more to read into the shot count from this game. Well, ours at least. There’s probably not much to say about Urawa’s 3 shots in 90 minutes. Apart from the fact that means it was exactly one every thirty minutes. Big excitement for their fans! Our second half shots on target ratio was 2 in 3 so the accuracy was greatly improved from the first half. Aside from the rampant ten minutes where we scored three times (and may I say they were three pretty nice goals!), and grabbed the game back off of Urawa, this was another 80 minutes of mediocrity. Players are tired though, so I’m not going to moan too much. But (and you knew there’d be a 'but', didn’t you?), even our game stats of 23 shots and 8 on target flatter us a little. Aside from the three goals, I can’t really remember Nishikawa having to make too many saves to be honest. Plenty of these shots on target were powder puff efforts which dribbled towards goal, or beautifully targeted balls direct to his waiting gloves. But yeah, I’m an idiot. We’ve scored 85 goals this year and I’m moaning about our shooting. I should shut up really. Morita smacking in a goal, and a beautiful one at that, means that if you are talking about players who’ve played a few games this year, only Nobori is yet to score. This was widely mentioned on twitter and on DAZN during this game, but I can’t work out who exactly they are including, as clearly Diogo and Shimoda haven’t scored either. They have played a lot less football than Nobori though. So maybe if we’re being more accurate we should say that they only players who have taken part in the league this year who haven’t scored are Nobori, Shimoda, Diogo and Sung-Ryong. Pretty impressive whichever way you look at it though. I guess this means we’ll be trying to set up those players in the next game. I did think we probably could have had more goals in this game if we really went for it. I wish we had done to be honest. Mitoma could do with another…

History -

Mitoma scored and equaled the highest goals scored by a player in their first season. This perhaps might stop us trying so hard to set him up for goals now. Although I’m sure everyone would be happy to see him get another and claim the record for himself rather than having to share it. One more game to go. Come on Kaoru! Aside from trying to set up Mitoma at every opportunity, we also seemed to be trying to get one for Kengo and he seemed pretty keen himself. He seemed happy enough with his assist for Kobayashi though. Along with Mitoma equaling the record, the other milestones we were looking at in this game (or at least I was looking at), were the most goals scored in a single stage season, most goals scored in the league this year (that one was probably wrapped up a while ago), most points in a 34 games season (that’s done already), and least goals conceded in 2020. The penalty didn’t help us at all with the last one and now Nagoya sit one goal better off than us. They play Sanfrecce at the weekend, so we can only hope that the purple ones give them a right pasting if we’re after that stat too. Probably looks tricky though as I’d imagine that Kashiwa will probably be attacking quite a lot and they do have a certain player who has scored quite a few goals this season. Honestly Kashiwa, we don’t mind if you play the kids to avoid messing things up for the Levain Cup final. I’m guessing that with these records in mind, we will probably see 90 minutes from Kengo and Mitoma with everyone trying to set them up again on Saturday. Could be quite fun. I don’t know if the fact that we have now set a points record and goals scored record means that perhaps Oniki will make some changes with our Emperor’s cup game in mind. Hahahahahaha, who am I kidding, it will be the same guys again, won’t it?

A fun night! Or at least some good moments wiping out the early frustration and leading to a fun finish. I’m pleased that we finally have managed to win a game after sewing up the title. It was starting to seem that everyone was out to put in their season best performance against the runaway champions and it was getting a bit annoying. Whether Kashiwa will do this remains to be seen. They have nothing to gain and only things to lose. Olunga has the golden boot sewn up and Kashiwa aren’t going to finish in an ACL spot so maybe they’ll play it safe with the Levain final in mind. Whether we do the same with the Emperor's Cup semi in mind, who knows? I will have another quick moan about Kashiwa being rubbish to away teams here. 190 tickets in the corner, with the away end closed. It’s never a particular great experience there anyway, so watching on DAZN will be fine for me, but it’s a shame that Kengo will play his last J League game in front of a tiny handful of his fans. Hopefully we can get a couple more games out of him in the Emperor’s Cup. Potentially three more games to go for us this year. Fingers crossed! Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG 

DF 13. YAMANE Miki




MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa


FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro


FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru


GK 27. TANNO Kenta 


MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for MITOMA 90+2')

FW 19. SAITO Manabu

MF 25. TANAKA Ao (on for IENAGA 88')

DF 30. HATATE Reo (on for WAKIZAKA 80')

DF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Not sure who to give this to to be honest. Even though we kind of dominated, I think that was probably more due to the opposition than anyone on our side. Given that the assists for two of the goals were better than the finishes and with a certain amount of sentimentality in mind, I’m going to cop out again and give it to….

NAKAMURA Kengo, YAMANE Miki and MORITA Hidemasa - two great assists, one superb finish, one ultra lame triple man of the match award decision.



KOROKI (Urawa) 11' PEN 0-1
MORITA (Frontale) 53' 1-1
MITOMA (Frontale) 59' 2-1
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 61' 3-1


No comments:

Post a Comment