Vissel Kobe 1 - 1 Kawasaki Frontale
A winning run has once again been cracked away at Kobe. This time it wasn’t quite as much of a disaster as last time but it never feels nice to concede in the 100th minute of a game. Usually these blog posts after a bad result are full of sour grapes. There is some sourness here, but I think there is also an awareness that in my opinion this was just a pretty bad day at the office for us. There has been some soul-searching going on on Twitter regarding what we need to change to get back on track. I'd say it's a bit early to be calling for massive changes. We've had a few mediocre performances recently but had got away with it till now. There's stuff to be done I think, but I'm not going to go off on one at this stage. Here we go with some bullet points.
The pitch -
As usual we seemed to be unable to stay on our feet. This happens every year at Kobe away but we never seem to be able to prepare for it. From the way we were constantly slipping in the first half you would have through that we hadn’t spent 30 minutes warming up on the same turf before the game. Or was there a massive cloudburst in between the warm up and the kick off? Thankfully the chances Kobe got were mainly due to us being awful with the ball rather than slipping over, but as inevitable it is that I moan about refs, it seems I am doomed to repeat the same ‘their pitch is shit’ mantra year after year. Unfortunately it’s not a calming mantra.
The gamesmanship -
Douglas likes to roll around on the floor doesn’t he? Particularly when he’s been tackled by someone who’s on a yellow card. And Kobe do like to protest every single tackle. After our low yellow card count start to the season it was something of a surprise to pick up two in one game. More of a surprise that Kobe’s silver haired defender didn’t get one for booting Damiao out of the way in mid air as he jumped for a header. I also think that when Jesiel was injured we went to hoof the ball up the pitch and out of play to allow him to get treatment. I didn’t see this on DAZN because DAZN is DAZN and doesn’t actually show you what you want to see most of the time. I’m pretty sure Kobe stopped the ball from going into touch, waited for the ref to blow and then didn’t return possession from the drop ball. Given the stage of the game, I’m not surprised. And given that I am only guessing this, I'm not going to moan too much about it. But my intense dislike for FC Tokyo’s SBO stems from him not giving us the ball back when we put it out for an injury against Kashima a few years ago. There was some immediate payback in that game when we won it back and went up the other end and scored. Just saying, if I ever see a replay and I’m right, there might be a new three initial name for a Kobe player. Although that seems a bit harsh for a 'first offence'. SBO had done plenty before to justify the dislike! After last season though, we clearly have a target on our back so shouldn't be surprised if teams use whatever tactics they can to try to disrupt us and score against us.
The ref and VAR -
As I hinted at above, I felt the ref gave us nothing in this game. But then again I would, wouldn't I? Actually, for long periods of the second half he was giving no-one anything and the game seemed to be degenerating into a kicking contest. VAR is still shit. The two decisions both seemed pretty obvious to me from the briefest DAZN replay (of course that’s singular, as once they realized something might be up they stopped showing any replays). Quite how the linesman didn’t spot the first one I don’t know. He didn’t raise his flag at the time or at the end of the move so as far as I know that means he thought it was clearly onside. It was clearly offside for me. Think he got the second one wrong too, didn't he? Maybe that's why we have VAR to stop these inaccuracies but that's a clear case and a very easy sum for the argument that things even themselves out. Both decisions seemed to take an eternity. Both were right, but I blame the extended VAR break for us conceding late in the game. Yes, I know that he wouldn’t have added the extra time if there hadn’t been stoppages. But in the same way that I’m against VAR coming to the right conclusion after interminable delays, I am happy for myself to jump to an illogical conclusion about conceding in added time immediately. Once again we could 'enjoy' the thrill of a delayed VAR goal celebration! Screw VAR and its right decisions, life is full of mistakes.
The dodgy performances -
We were definitely average in this game. You could have been forgiven for thinking that we had the reserve defenders out as both Taniguchi and Jesiel had some very dodgy moments. Taniguchi lost his man for the goal as well as almost giving Vissel an equaliser a few minutes earlier. All over the pitch we looked tired and out of form. We’ve managed to get 16 points out of 18 but I don’t think anyone would say we’ve been playing exciting stuff in the last few matches. Kobe did a decent job of dealing with our attacks and we once again did a decent job of making glaring errors when it came to shooting. Today’s open goal misser was Damiao who headed wide under not much pressure. It looked like the defender had got to it, but no, he just headed well wide. Damiao’s two 'goal' finishes were nice. I don’t know how the stats work, but if the disallowed goal counts as a shot on target he had both of our shots on target. Two on target out of 13! Oniki seemed to make some kind of tactical change with Hatate in the second half, as he spent a lot of it wandering all over the pitch. I couldn’t work out if we'd gone to three at the back or if he was just wandering. Yamane looks very tired. The other ever present Sung-Ryong had a pretty good game I thought. Can’t really be blamed for the goal and saved us on a few occasions. There definitely seems to be a bit of malaise about us though. Need to sort that out quickly.
Still, it’s been a much better start to the season points wise than we usually get. I hope Oniki shakes things up a little at the weekend against Urawa as we’ve been going through the motions a little recently. Credit to Kobe for doing a job on us. As irritated as I am about us conceding late and the ref not giving certain decisions, I know that I am not impartial and I know that if we hadn’t been so off target for the majority of the game a 100th minute goal conceded wouldn’t have mattered. After the Urawa game on Sunday we have a couple of weeks off which will be nice. But this kind of begs the question of why we have been playing so many games so regularly so far this year. Perhaps they are trying to get games played to prevent future Corona or ACL fixture congestion. But never mind, eh? Pick ourselves up and hopefully we can get three points on Sunday. Go Frontale!
GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 4. JESIEL (Yellow card 35')
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 47. HATATE Reo
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT
MF 25. TANAKA Ao (Yellow card 51')
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 9. LEANDRO DAMIAO
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
MF 3. TSUKAGAWA Koki (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 77')
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for HATATE 90')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for LEANDRO DAMIAO 90')
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
FW 19. TONO Daiya (on for IENAGA 64')
MF 22. TACHIBANADA Kento (on for WAKIZAKA 77')
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 72' 0-1
KIKUCHI (Kobe) 90+10' 1-1
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