Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Vs United City FC 6/7/21 ACL Group stage game 4

United City FC 0 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale

This is a difficult blog post to write. And that’s not because we have recently got used to massive victories in this competition and this failed to live up to those standards. It’s more that I used up all my ‘witty’ observations about United City in the last post. And also because this was a pretty bad game that was quite difficult to concentrate on. Thankfully it was an 11pm kick off rather than a 1am one as that would have really put the cherry on the cake, frustration wise. To be honest I’m going to rush through this post as there’s not much to say. It was a case of job done (in the least exciting fashion possible, which is a bizarre observation considering we had 25 shots, but it just felt like a bit of a borefest), and hopefully was a case of us doing what was necessary and not exerting ourselves to do much more. I’m pleased we managed to get the second goal as until then the game was so one-sided but still at 1-0 that the only possible outcome seemed to be a last minute own goal equaliser disaster.

Both teams changed their starting line ups quite a lot. Again this was a case of us playing the reserves and you could say it showed a bit. I don’t know where their starting 11 ranked on the first team/reserves axis but they did a lot better than the previous line up did. Well, from a results point of view anyway. They still didn’t really offer anything going forward aside from one goalmouth scramble, but they considerably reduced the amount of goals they conceded. The weird thing is that we had more shots in this game than in the 8-0 victory. We also had almost the same amount of shots on target. However, the important stat is that in the 8-0 game 8 out of 15 went in and in this game 2 out of 12 went in. I saw someone on Twitter wondering whether the United City keeper could do a job in the J League. I can only presume they weren’t watching the game. Not dissing him, but definitely the reduced number of shots going in had a lot more to do with our dull finishing than any goal keeping heroics. Heroics is a good word though, as their keeper Pinthus does seem to like an overly dramatic flying save. Well done to him though. He did better than Langerak did in the two games we’ve played against Nagoya so far this year. (Now I’ve said that I bet we’ll get them in the next round and lose…). Much like in the first game between these two teams, United City did a good job of defending and holding out sternly for the first part of the game. Significantly, in this game the collapse never came. Credit to them! Slightly bizarrely, the other group game seemed to go a similar way. Perhaps this is the natural pattern in that both of the ‘weaker’ teams in the group got spanked by the two ‘stronger’ teams in their first encounter and then managed to stem the flow somewhat in the following fixture. When the final group game comes round we’ll see if that applies to the other fixtures that were previously whallopings. In the mean time we have the crucial fixture of the group stage when we face Daegu in the next match. Hopefully we won’t be as generous at the back as we were in the first fixture. And hopefully we won’t be so wasteful up front as we were in this game. I presume the ‘first team’ will be back for that game, although some of them were called on to try to make this game safe about halfway through the second half.

Some final little comments. The foul count in this match ended up pretty even, which is weird considering how one sided it was in the previous two games. I can’t quite make a clear connection between playing well and giving away fouls so that will remain something of a mystery. I’ve noticed that our Forza Frontale flag changes end in the matches depending on whether we are ‘home’ or ‘away’. A nice touch perhaps, or maybe just a slightly obsessively weird request from the Kazoku. A quick mention of the goals. Chinen’s was a nice tidy finish, Hasegawa’s was perhaps one of the sloppiest and least exciting goals ever, being a close range scuff. Even that makes it sound more exciting than it was. Nobori was back but we have potentially another injury now as Tsukagawa had to leave the pitch on a stretcher, perhaps due to a previous head injury. I’m not sure if he went down because he was wobbly a few minutes after the clash of heads or whether the stretcher and substitution were precautions due to the fact that he’d had the clash of heads and his injury was unrelated. Either way, I obviously wish him all the best. It’s the second time he’s had to be substituted due to a head injury in his brief Frontale career which shows he really does like to get stuck in. Oh and finally, credit where credit’s due, and a slap in the face to Einstein, as Taniguchi came on for Tsukagawa in midfield and he actually seemed to do a pretty good job there! The evidence still points to it not being a good idea, but I can’t complain about it on this occasion aside from complaining that it makes my previous comments that he’s terrible there look stupid… unless you look at any of the previous occasions he’s played there. But on this occasion, well done Shogo!

Next up is Daegu at 1am on Friday night. We get to go to the other Tashkent stadium for once. Not the nicest of kick off times for perhaps the most important game of the group stage. And not sure why the more exciting games need to be played at more inconvenient times, but never mind. If we avoid defeat in that game we only need a draw against Beijing Guoan’s kids in the final game to win the group. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 28. YAMAMURA Kazuya
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki
FW 19. TONO Daiya
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
MF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo (on for TSUKAGAWA 58')
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (on for OSHIMA 46')
DF 13. YAMANE Miki (on for KOZUKA 72')
DF 15. ISSAKA Zain
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru
DF 26. KAMIYA Kaito
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro (on for TONO 72')

CHINEN (Frontale) 18' 0-1
HASEGAWA (Frontale) 78' 0-2

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