Tuesday 5 October 2021

Vs FC Tokyo (home) 2/10/21 J League match 31


Kawasaki Frontale 1 - 0 FC Tokyo 

A delightful win against one of our biggest rivals. When you play a big rival the best possible result to get would be to give them an absolute thumping. Perhaps the second best option would be to snatch a 1-0 win from a pretty rotten game, particularly when the opposition think they should have won. I’m not saying that’s what happened (well, maybe I will later), but right now I am enjoying us getting though another ridiculous run of games with very little break between them with a squad that is already pretty much on their knees. And I’m also enjoying us not being in a state of emergency any more. That goes part of the way towards explaining why this blog post is a bit tardy as we can now 'do stuff'. With no games for three weeks the urgency to get a blog post done fades away, perhaps alongside my memories of the game itself. I did make some notes. But they did mainly consist of different offensive words for different FC Tokyo players for a variety of reasons, and one for the team as a whole. It’s always fun when you play your neighbours I guess! We'll go with the old usual four headings, (but with two mashed into one), for this blog post and then when they are done, we’ll have a nice lie down and somewhat paradoxically make the most of our opportunities to go out again. Guess I’m saying I’ll go out somewhere and lie down there. Lovely!

Us -

Again no Schmidt or Hasegawa in the squad. Bit strange. And maybe getting stranger game by game. Marcinho has made quite an impact since he arrived but I get the feeling that he’s not exactly Oniki’s kind of player. Definitely he seems to be quite focused on the goal and perhaps at times if he’d passed rather than going for goal we would have scored a few more. I don’t want to take anything away from him though as he’s made us quite a few goals already with his pace and trickery. Miyagi has slightly reverted to his old form after his wonderful goal against Kashima. I feel that he’s best used as a substitute at the moment. Which I suppose means that Oniki has to choose between Marcinho and Hasegawa as the starter on the left up front, and if that’s the choice you’ve probably got to go with Marcinho at the moment. Schmidt, I have no idea what’s going on there. Tachibanada does a good job in that spot, but you can’t say Taniguchi is a better bet, although it seems that recently Oniki recently thinks so. Perhaps there are unknown injuries. Certainly it wouldn’t be the first time and won’t be the last that has happened. What was something of a surprise was the fact that Taniguchi was on the bench and Kurumaya started at centre back. Obviously all the players have been getting a bit knackered recently with the horrible schedule. Finally they are now actually allowed to go home which should help somewhat with the fatigue I guess. But Taniguchi has been injured so in theory should be in a bit better condition with regards to fatigue than some of the other players. Or maybe that's not how it works and I’m being stupid. Again I guess it could be a niggle which prevented him from starting. But you would have thought with this being our last game for three weeks that we would have put our best team possible out, aside from anyone who couldn’t stand up. I really hope that this doesn’t mark the start of Oniki taking his pet project of transforming Taniguchi into a midfielder to the next level. I just don’t think there is any reason to do this and the longer he experiments with it, the more we will be dodging bullets when it comes to avoiding defeats. You would have thought the first half against Shonan would have been enough to make anyone realise that some experiments are doomed to fail and should never be repeated but it seems that’s not the case. When Oniki’s prolonged positional chess game reached its conclusion with Yamamura coming on in midfield and pushing Taniguchi back into defence, we unsurprisingly looked better. But to be honest, on the whole this was another very tired performance that we got away with. And we were definitely more on the back foot after we made our subs. I’m not moaning too much about this though as so many players are so tired, so it’s difficult to work out how you can get round this obstacle. Of course there is an easy option which is play the numerous players who have had hardly any pitch time, but that definitely doesn’t seem like it will ever happen with Oniki unless it’s an emergency and it is absolutely necessary. It was said to me that we were very lucky to win this game and whilst I have a little bit of sympathy with this opinion, I think this was a game with two tired teams putting in very average performances. Certainly FC Tokyo had a lot more shots than us (18 to 7), but the damning thing for them is that we had double the amount of shots on target as they did. The only time they managed to hit the target was the one that Jesiel had to clear from just in front of the line after the striker had gone round Sung-Ryong. Of course stats never really tell the whole story, but to have 18 shots and only get one on target doesn’t exactly scream out ‘we were robbed’ to me. Our guys just about managed to do what was needed and get over the line. Our goal came from a nice move with a gut busting run from Nobori, (just after I’d written a note saying he looked very tired and out of sorts), and a nice headed finish from Damiao. Not much else happened for us, but what did happen was enough to get us the three points and take us to needing three wins and a draw to take the title. Irritatingly, YFM beat Shonan having one shot on target on Friday night otherwise that would have been only the three wins. Of course we can take the moral high ground, as in our game we won by having a massive two shots on target. 

Them and the ref -

An unusual combination which suggests that I am about to write that he was on their side. But that’s not what I mean. The reason these two things have been mashed together is because of the ridiculous incident that happened at the end of the game. FC Tokyo got a free kick from what looks to me quite like a dive from the always horribly arseholeish Mita and was certainly an attempt to get whatever challenge was made to look like it was in the box to win a penalty. Fair enough that they got the free kick though. They then proceeded to take about three minutes to actually take the free kick after endless ridiculous arguments about the distance of the wall. The ref paced it out three times with very little change apart from to the end of the wall and we ended up with a curved line in order to placate FC Tokyo whingers. To be honest, I’m not sure why the ref put up with it. Particularly after he’d paced it out the second time. I would have started waving some cards around. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? Perhaps he should also have just blown the whistle for full time as we ended up going three minutes past the allotted four minutes of injury time. That would have been quite amusing and got the ref a bit of a reputation and some notoriety. After all the procrastination and deliberation and recalculation (…) they blasted the ball against a jumping Yamane who’d twisted and had his arm by his side but they still thought it should be a penalty. I probably would have said the same if it were my team, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it 100% wasn’t a penalty. It was impressive how many FC Tokyo players got involved in the various pathetic stages of their argument with the ref. And it has certainly given me plenty more hate figures in their squad, which let’s be honest, already has more than its fair share of despicable people in it. My main new hate figure in this game was Oumari who was just basically a general moaner but the thing that got me the most was when he flew to the floor and rolled around clutching his face after a shoulder to shoulder challenge. Perhaps in their practice sessions they combine Leandro’s elbowing and punching practice drills with diving and play-acting practice. Morishige was pretty annoying too for his endless whinging at the end. And Diego Oliveira definitely went in a bit hard on Sung-Ryong who’d dived and was holding the ball. But the ref seemed to have forgotten his cards. However, you probably would expect a Frontale fan to find something annoying about most if not all of the FC Tokyo team, wouldn’t you? So I hope I didn’t disappoint.  Oh and a final word for our old friend Takahagi, who I think since he said he’d never lost a Tamagawa Classico, might have lost pretty much all of the Tamagawa Classicos. I didn’t find him particularly annoying in this game, but there was a great moment where he attempted to clear a stray ball off the pitch and instead of just rolling it off, tried to chip it over the advertising hoardings to the ball boy but messed it up, beautifully chipping it onto the face of the hoarding which it bounced off and rolled back onto the pitch. I would love to have put this down to some shithousery time wasting but they were actually losing at the time so I suspect it wasn’t. It was definitely an amusing incident though.

Other stuff -

Two other main points of excitement in this game. First, we were back to 10000 capacity and what a difference it made. It’s difficult to exactly work out the effect of the extra numbers as our supporter call leader group declined to drum or lead calls during the state of emergency. I’m sure their presence with a crowd of 5000 would have been a massive improvement on the extremely flaccid atmospheres we’ve had recently. But now with 10000 it’s actually fun again! Sure the queues for the toilets aren't as short as they were but I’ll trade that off against actually having a good atmosphere. And perhaps we’re lucky that they random factor ticket purchasing system has probably spread the supporters who get involved around the stadium a bit more evenly so there was some noise coming from everywhere. I still miss the singing, but this was a much better atmosphere. Actually, more accurately, it was an atmosphere, whereas previously there was no atmosphere. However, our first ‘Avante’ victory song of non state of emergency times was started way too early for my liking. It looked very likely that we might concede whilst singing it. Thankfully we got away with it. The other major talking point was the engagement of Cabrera to the mascot of Rikuzentakata which happened after he scored a penalty on the second time of asking into a tiny goal. I know lots of people don’t like this kind of thing, but I don’t care what they think because I do like it. It’s particularly nice when it secures the bond between us and Rikuzentakata, which let’s be honest, is a little out of our normal catchment zone (maybe over 400km out of it…). When we went to Rikuzentakata I was delighted to see the Frontale flags near the station. I like us being this kind of caring club with hopefully nice fans. As much as I enjoy moaning about refs and opposition players and calling them all sorts of names I still try to remember that they are human beings The best part of going to some away games is the reception from opposition fans and from locals. Plenty of them are slightly bewildered that we’ve traveled so far to watch Frontale, but there is always a kind welcome alongside the bewilderment. The away game experience is definitely 100% better than the home game one. Not knocking our home game activities at all as they are definitely infinitely preferable to for example having to go into the middle of nowhere to the Kashima stadium on a coach every home game. But it’s great that hopefully we’ll be able to get a couple of decent away trips (Sagan Tosu, Cerezo Osaka) in before the end of this season as we’ve missed way too many potentially good ones in recent times.

So that’s it for a few weeks now. We have no game till the 24th so we can all have a nice rest. YFM have a home game against Consadole in the meantime, so there is the potential that we can cross off another of those wins we need before we restart our campaign. Come on Consadole! We restart on the 24th at home to Shimizu. But there’s plenty of time to worry about that later. For now, let’s just enjoy having the opportunity to get a little break. Go Frontale!

GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 23. MARCINHO (Yellow card 13')

GK 27. TANNO Kenta 
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo (on for WAKIZAKA 63')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for MARCINHO 63')
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for LEANDRO DAMIAO 63')
DF 28. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for NOBORIZATO 81')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Hmmm. Left this a bit too late. I can’t remember much and to be honest it wasn’t a glistening performance. I’ll keep it fairly obvious and give it to…

JESIEL - we didn’t concede and this was mainly thanks to him sliding to stop Nagai’s shot before it crossed the line. As they didn’t manage to hit the target aside from this, I guess the win is all down to him.
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 45+1' 1-0


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