Kawasaki Frontale 1 - 0 Sagan Tosu
This was a very welcome result in a game we usually struggle in. Hopefully this post will be a bit more informative than the last one, but it will also be less decorative as we were back in our usual seats. This might have contributed to me enjoying the game a little more to be honest but doesn’t work so well for good photos. Another game is fast approaching and I’m still busy so let’s get on with this with three brutally to the point bullet point titles.
A few changes in the team again. My towel curse continues to afflict Tsukagawa. Also, I guess someone heard that I’ve ordered a Hatate short as he too was dropped from the squad. To be fair, he probably deserved a rest, but with it coinciding with both my purchase and his apparent frustration at being subbed in the last match I hope it’s nothing more than a rest. If only Oniki could work out how to give Yamane a rest. He really needs it. I really like him as a player and he’s done some great stuff for us but I really don’t think he should be playing every game. You could say we have a lack of options there, but in reality we have options but just a manager unwilling to try them. Kamiya, Issaka and Tanabe could all potentially play there, but instead it seems we’re going to run Yamane into the ground before making any kind to change. And that change will probably be to play a midfielder there. I think the time has come though. It’s unfortunate that the next game is the away fixture against FC Chofu as we need to do it sooner rather than later. Yamane’s passing was pretty dodgy in this game. Also, I’m not that happy to see him all over the pitch and Kobayashi having to cover his defensive duties. Apparently Oniki gives him full backs licence to roam and do what they want, (in apparent contrast to the strict things he demands from his centre backs), but I can now fully understand why Kobayashi might not want to play on the right if he’s going to spend a lot of the game covering for Yamane and defending. Let’s be honest though, if he hadn’t been having a dodgy game I probably wouldn’t be complaining about him being our furthest player forward on numerous occasions, so let’s just give him a rest and get him back to his best and then we can enjoy his crazy attacking and forget about the fact that he forgets he’s a defender.
A few comments about other players to finish this section. Damiao is still ruling with his pressing of opposition keepers. He also is definitely now obsessed with long range shots. And he got another backheeled assist in this game. How many obsessions can one player have?! No bicycle kicks in this game though. It was good to see Ao back and I think he firmed things up. Once again, I still only seem to notice Wakizaka when he does something wrong. Jesiel was rock solid at the back and it was a nice finish from Tono for the goal. I like the combination of Kobayashi on the right and Damiao in the middle but it didn’t quite work as well in this game as it has previously.
It would be easy to just dismiss this as another unspectacular win. Certainly some people seemed to think that this game was less exciting than the 2-0 against Oita last weekend. Perhaps due to the lower amount of alcohol consumed before the match, I actually enjoyed this game a bit more. Sure, we weren’t exactly scintillatingly free flowing and expansive but this was a win against Sagan Tosu, the only team we failed to beat last year, and this is the fixture that recently has pretty much always been a frustrating 0-0. Admittedly we only scored once and a 1-0 is the closest possible score to 0-0 you can get, but I think this was an important monkey to get off our back. Perhaps we were helped by the fact that Sagan Tosu are doing much better this year. I’m not sure it particularly changed their game plan from previous seasons as they were still pretty resolute at the back. But in previous years this defensive stinginess seemed to be enhanced when they played us. This was only the second goal they have conceded in eight games, so we should take some satisfaction from breaking down a tough defence. The absence of one of their best defenders due to suspension possibly helped. As did the red card which reduced them to ten men for most of the second half. But whereas in the past losing a man would make their defending more resolute and our attacking somehow blunter, on this occasion we managed to get a goal and take the win. Finally on Tosu, it was nice to see that Edu is doing well there and also nice to see Nakano again. I feel that maybe both haven’t quite ever shown their full potential and while I’m pleased they didn’t do so in this match, I wish them both good luck for the rest of the season apart from our away fixture against them. Oh, and once a YFM keeper, always a YFM keeper. I was disappointed we couldn’t take advantage more of some of Park’s ‘Iikura chances’ but to be honest this was because most of his distribution consisted of him booting the ball off the side of the pitch. I should have some more sympathy for him really as he seemed to get shafted a bit by our maritime neighbours, but you know, just because he’s our enemy’s enemy doesn’t necessarily mean he should be our friend.
Ref and VAR-
I thought this might have been a new ref in this game but on checking my records it seems we’ve had a few games with Yamamoto over the years. Slightly concerningly for Taniguchi, the VAR ref was Kasahara, who loves to send him off. Once again, there were thankfully not may VAR decisions. There were claims for a Tosu handball blocking a shot in the first half but looking at the incident on DAZN afterwards it would have been very harsh to give it as he was side-on with his arms by his side when the ball hit him. Tosu were quite a physical side and I think the ref should probably have got his cards out earlier. But he had no hesitation in getting the red out for the DOGSO. Sure it was a long way out, but it was 100% a foul and as the last man he had to go. At least that’s how I understand the rule. It seemed a bit crazy that Ao got booked considering what Tosu had got away with in the first half but I’m not going to moan too much as aside from being a bit lenient in the first half, I thought the ref had a reasonable game. Oh, and forgot to say, I still hate VAR.
Just about squeaking this post out before the next game which is FC Tokyo away tomorrow (Sunday). Always a big game for the fans, I hope we can keep going with the good results and hopefully the rivalry between the two clubs will create some excitement. At the Ajinomoto stadium, (where the home team atmosphere is usually mainly played over the speakers…) with Corona restrictions in place this looks like it could be a weird experience. It would be lovely if we could score a few goals and silence the already silent opposition fans. After that we’re at home again on Wednesday against Avispa Fukuoka. Could do with a break soon as the schedule is pretty full right now. Go Frontale!
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 25. TANAKA Ao (Yellow card 68')
FW 9. LEANDRO DAMIAO
GK 21. ANDO Shunsuke
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for NOBORIZATO 90+1')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for LEANDRO DAMIAO 80')
My Frontale Man Of The Match
Should have written this sooner. I've slightly forgotten, but I remember being impressed by...
JESIEL - Solid and efficient. A big contributor to us not conceding many goals this year.
TONO (Frontale) 65' 1-0
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