Thursday 29 April 2021

Vs Nagoya Grampus (away) 29/4/21 - J League match 22

Nagoya Grampus 0 - 4 Kawasaki Frontale

It was pretty weird decision by the J League to put our two league games against Nagoya back to back and perhaps now it looks even weirder. I guess there were reasons behind it though, and perhaps we’ll be avoiding some congestion late in the season because of it, but after this result some people are saying the title race is over already. I think that is horrendously premature to be honest. Another win in the home game against Nagoya would send quite a message though. This win has left us six points clear of Nagoya which is a great way to celebrate the start of Golden Week. Given the current state of emergency though, this Golden Week is going to be far from golden with people staying at home and brooding about what might have been for what is some people’s favourite time of the year. We had a great pub crawl in Nagoya lined up around this game which obviously got canceled by the travel restrictions. Perhaps next year instead. Although the current rate of progress in the fight against Corona in Japan might suggest that we’ll probably still be oscillating between soft lockdown and release in a year’s time. What’s certain though is that these two crucial games have been and will be played in front of small and silent crowds. Quite an underwhelming season highlight. Oh well! As is my usual style when I watch a game on DAZN, I’m not going to write too much about this and instead just make a few brief observations lumped together into one paragraph. Here we go.

We made a great start and to be honest the game was kind of over by the water break in the first half. The ‘best keeper in the J League’ (according to some), made more saves in the first 11 minutes than he had in the previous two games. Admittedly this was only one save, but he had also conceded twice by then. It was great to see Hatate start further forward again, and to get a goal too was lovely. Damiao had another great game. Well, damn good but almost great. Two goals and an assist is great. As was the striking dirty work he was having to do, winning headers and setting up others. But he could have scored at least four though if it weren’t for a couple of misses when it looked easier to score. But who cares about that? He did a great job again! Nagoya’s stingy defence got ripped to shreds by our attack. It was lovely to see. Admittedly the great start did lead to a pretty dull middle of the game as Nagoya changed to a formation with apparently three defensive midfielders and bizarrely became more of a threat going forward. They had some good moments, but two shots on target in the whole match means that even if Sung-Ryong hadn’t been there we would still have won. (This is partially a joke before anyone responds to this). I can’t blame us taking our foot off the gas as we have another important game coming up on Tuesday, when another win would really send a message. Hopefully we can get it. Oh and I should probably add that another Tono goal was a very nice sight too. It’s great to see we have players who are willing to shoot as in previous seasons we’ve suffered from being ponderous to the point of frustration. Perhaps we’ll have to be a bit more ponderous on Tuesday though. I don’t know how Nagoya will approach the game. It’s not really in their DNA to come out blazing but they do need to win. I suspect we will go with pretty much the same lineup.  It was nice that we could have a rest before this game and it certainly showed in our fast start. Yamane was again quite subdued in this game, so perhaps he wasn’t tired before, but was being encouraged to be a bit less cavalier with his attacking and focus more on his defensive duties. I guess Ienaga won’t be tracking back to cover him if he's playing on the right as he usually is just doing his own thing, so perhaps it’s just when he has Kobayashi in front of him that Yamane wanders about a bit more.

So, as stated numerous times already, next up is Nagoya at home on Tuesday. Ficcandenti was absent from this match due to a ‘sore throat’. I really hope that does not turn out to be anything more serious as by Tuesday night we’ll have spent plenty of time with the Nagoya players. It will be another DAZN watching experience for me, so expect another short blog post then too. After that, Gamba away the following weekend. Another great away trip scuppered by COVID. Fingers crossed these pretty weak government measures have some effect on bringing the numbers down a bit. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
MF 47. HATATE Reo (Yellow card 51')
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
MF 3. TSUKAGAWA Koki (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 89')
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (on for MITOMA 72')
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki (on for TANAKA 89')
FW 19. TONO Daiya (on for HATATE 77')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for LEANDRO DAMIAO 77')


HATATE (Frontale) 3' 0-1
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 11' 0-2
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 23'0-3
TONO (Frontale) 84' 0-4


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