Monday, 3 April 2023

Vs Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (away) 1/4/23 J League match 6

Consadole Sapporo 3 - 4 Kawasaki Frontale

Trips to play Consadole are always exciting, but in the past the games didn’t quite live up to the fun of the trip itself. For the neutral the games of the last two years must have been very exciting. This year they once again had their Consadole mascot pony in the stadium, once again in its own pony shirt. We countered with a very big flag which must be been quite tricky to fit in a suitcase, (if I remember correctly that thing about only being able to fold a piece of paper in half a certain amount of times). Maybe it came in one of the Frontale team trucks. That must have been a hell of a drive and not much fun. But probably not as bad as the drive back last year. For a Frontale fan or staff member, the 2022 trip was an absolute disaster where we kept shooting ourselves in our left foot while fate stood next to us and deployed its weapon into our right foot. This year, we had the same crazy backwards and forwards nature of the game but the result went our way. It’s certainly more fun to be involved in a 4-3 game when your team gets the four. Much like last year we came into the game with some players surprisingly returning to the match day squad after injury. Much like last year we had an awful ref. Much like last year a player angrily threw the ball into the ground. Unlike last year when, quoting myself here a ‘petulant little shit’ did it for Consadole and escaped a booking, Kurumaya got a yellow this year. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with him getting one, and can totally understand his frustration as once again Yamamoto was an absolute disaster of a ref). Much like last year we finished the game effectively a man down due to getting an injury after we’d used all of our subs. Actually, last year we were two down as at the same time as Tachibanada got his red card Sung-Ryong was injured by an opposition player. On that occasion our injured player stayed on the pitch as perhaps an outfield player in goal with only eight of his colleagues in front of him might have caused us to lose the game. Oh… actually we did anyway. Ok, might have caused us to lose the game sooner than in the 102nd minute. On this occasion it was Kobayashi who pulled up with what looked like another muscle injury, causing us to nervily hang on for the last few minutes. As an aside, what is going on with all of those muscle injuries? I guess muscle injuries are probably the most common kind of injury a footballer gets, but just how many are we getting recently? Marcinho looked to be injured in the last game but managed to play on and is now out for eight weeks. Kobayashi, recently back from a muscle injury has another muscle injury now. Oshima… well, who knows really? The prognosis always seems to be ‘out for eight weeks’ for some reason. Well apart from for Jesiel, who is more of an ‘returning to Brazil for surgery and out for the season’ kind of guy. I know even less about medicine than I do about football so have no idea what’s going on, but it does seem that either we’re doing something wrong when it comes to fitness or preparation, or someone behind the scenes dropped a whole box of mirrors destined for a training facility renovation and now we’re cursed for 140 years of bad luck. But anyway, let’s get on with this post with some new bullet points.

OH MY GOD!!! -

We scored! We scored again! And again! And again! Admittedly, two of the goals were absolute gifts, so it’s nice to see that Consadole also thought that luck was on their side last year and that this year we should balance things out a bit. It was a bit difficult to see what exactly had gone on for our first goal from the other end of the pitch, but it was clear that it was a cock up from their keeper. I’ve watched the replay and am still not sure exactly what he was thinking. Nice header from Miyashiro though to put the ball in the net from a bit of a distance. Of course we immediately allowed them to retake the lead pratically from the kick off though. I feel like out second was a bit of a gift too as although Yamada did well to outmuscle the defender, it looked like pretty bad defending. Quite what Yamane was doing in the box waiting to slot the ball home, I’m not sure, but I’m grateful for him for being there. I like to think I’d inspired him to score with my constant slagging of him. More on that later. The third was a lovely chip from Ienaga. Not sure why they call them loop shots in Japan as clearly there’s not going to be anymore than half a loop involved. How about renaming them rainbow shots? Or half McDonald’s golden arch shots and get some sponsorship in? Our last goal was nice too. What a ball from Tanabe! What a header from Segawa! What a scream from me that has, (temporally I hope), removed the higher octaves from my vocal range. Seko played the whole 90 minutes and did a pretty good job I thought. He made a few errors but he must be wildly out of practice given how much match time he’s had in the last year and a half, so the more time he plays the better I think. Yamada got two assists. Miyashiro scored from open play. WE WON A GAME! I think the last point will be the most important. It was far from an assured performance, but the thing we need the most was a bit of a boost and some confidence. It’s telling that at the end of the match, Kamifukumoto looked confused as to what was going on. We’ve won only the once since he arrived so it’s no surprise that he didn’t know what the players do at the end of the game. We celebrated like we’d won the league which was probably a bit extreme. But we have been so crap/mediocre, (delete as to your preferred description), this year that it did feel like perhaps a corner might have been turned and we got a monkey off our back. There might be a few more of his simian colleagues there still though. Well, I guess it all depends on what happens in the next couple of games I suppose.

oh my god… -

They scored. They scored again. And again. Our defensive solidity that came from the much maligned (by me) double defensive midfield is on the floor in tatters. But then again Consadole are a bit of a difficult team for us to play usually. As I’ve said numerous times, the double defensive midfield meant that we don’t score, so I guess we had to decide whether we wanted to draw 0-0 every week or actually try to win a match. I’m glad we went for the latter. I was excited to see Miyashiro and Yamada play together in what I thought would be a 4-4-2. And it was! Except Miyashiro and Yamada seemed to be playing on the wing and Ienaga and Tono were up front instead. Not exactly the way I hoped we could use both of our young attacking talents together, but well, maybe it worked. Maybe. Perhaps Oniki thought he could rely more on Yamada an Miyashiro to stay wide and do the running than if Ienaga played there. And certainly Miyashiro and Yamada seemed to be happy to put themselves about a bit. Not sure if this is going to work against teams other than Consadole though, so I’m not holding my breath that it’s the end of our worries. I still have a problem with Yamane. Yes, he scored, but I’m not sure he did any defending. His gesture when we conceded our second goal didn’t look particularly helpful. He was definitely moaning and blaming. When we conceded the first and third which I thought were down to him he didn’t seem to be throwing blame around so much. I don’t particularly want to see Miyashiro or Yamada defending at right back whilst Yamane looks on from the opposition half where he’s just lost the ball but hasn’t bothered to run back. But I don’t know, maybe I’ve moaned a bit too much about Yamane recently, so I should probably give it a rest. Yamamoto the ref though, well that’s another matter. Being apparently anointed the new chosen one of J League refs seems to have given him a truly unbelievable and wholly undeserved boost of confidence. I think he’s pretty useless. I wish I didn’t know the refs’ names. Nobody remembers a boring ref. It’s just when they are really awful that the name sticks in the head. And how they stick. I hope we don’t get this golden boy again for a long time. He clearly thinks he’s better than he actually is. One final word for the Consadole fans, who sang and drummed through our team announcement, and spent a lot of the first half when they were 2-1 up cheering their passes from side to side across their defence. Fair enough, they were deservedly taking the piss out of us and who can blame them really? Not sure how they felt about that cheering after the game though, but thanks for the three points guys.

All in all a bit of a random blog post, which I think perfectly reflects the game! Next up we have Urawa in the Levain Cup. Can we make it one win, one draw and one loss in the competition this year? They’re in good form at the moment so it won’t be easy. We need to start a run of some kind of half decent form if we don’t want this year to be a total failure by the summer. After that we’re away at Gamba on Sunday in the league. They love a draw, perhaps thanks to their new manager, but contrived to lose heavily to Shonan last weekend. As that was our speciality last year, it could be a tight match. A real bottom half of the table slugfest. There’s a chance that if we win we might be able to make it into the top half of the table! That’s a big if though. So fingers crossed! 

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 13. YAMANE Miki (Yellow card 68')
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma
DF 15. TANABE Shuto
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (Yellow card 58')
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 17. TONO Daiya
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (Yellow card 81') (on for YAMADA 72')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for MIYASHIRO 67')
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 30. SEGAWA Yusuke (on for TONO 67')

My Frontale Man Of The Match
I kind of want to give this to Seko, who I think probably got his first 90 minutes for us and did well I thought, in spite of what some around me seemed to be thinking at the game. But two assists when you’re playing our of position probably means it should go to…

YAMADA Shin - yeah, two assists, but mainly given to him for the dummy he did when he picked up the loud hailer for the Vai La De Frontale and then just belted it out with his chest puffed out and the loud hailer by his side. Loved it then and still love watching it now!

OKAMURA (Consadole) 7' 1-0
MIYASHIRO (Frontale) 25' 1-1
ASANO (Consadole) 27' 2-1
YAMANE (Frontale) 39' 2-2
IENAGA (Frontale) 45+1' 2-3
KIM (Consadole) 59' 3-3
SEGAWA (Frontale) 86' 3-4

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