FC Tokyo 1 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale
This will be a short post for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I'm on holiday and it's Xmas day so I don't have a great deal of time. More significantly, I wasn't able to go to the game as I'm in London so anything I write is based on the inconsistent and grainy youtube stream that I watched. (Thanks to Kaoru for the photo above). As the next round is coming round quickly, I thought I had better get this online fast. Actually, I won't even be able to watch the next round probably, so that post could be even worse than this one!
Firstly, let me admit, that I was completely wrong when I said that Okubo would probably pick up a mystery injury before this potentially awkward game against his new employers. He also seemed to actually be quite up for it in this game, which was a bit of a surprise. The starting line-up was quite different from against Kashima and given our lacklustre performance in that game, it probably needed to be. We were still playing with a back three of Tasaka, Edu and Taniguchi, at least according to the Frontale website. Seemed that Tasaka was getting forward a lot more though. The midfield was the usual Kengo/Neto combination in the middle with Elsinho and Kurumaya on the wings. And up front we had Okubo, a fit-again Kobayashi and Nobori. As I always seem to be saying, our formation seemed quite fluid though. There were a lot of players appearing where you might not expect them to. As he has been doing a bit recently, Okubo was playing deeper than we might have previously expected him to be. And as mentioned above Tasaka was attacking a lot. Neto also seemed to be in more of an attacking mode than he usually is.
Our first goal came from Yoshito. Kengo played a ball out to the right hand side, Tasaka picked it up and put in a lovely cross. Both Yoshito and Kobayashi managed to get in front of the FC Tokyo defenders and Yoshito tried to head the ball in, but I think it came off his knee and flew into the corner of the net. Nice dummy, pretending to head it! Understandably given where he'll be playing next season, he didn't celebrate particularly wildly, but I can't imagine he has scored many knee-ers in his career. We went two up a little later in the first half. A fast counter attack saw Nobori, Neto, Elsinho and Kobayashi break up the pitch. Nobori and Neto exchanged a few passes before the ball was given to Elson, who took a touch and then bent the ball into the corner of the net, past the diving keeper. Two nice goals from us! We had a few shaky moments in the first half, but I thought we were generally good value for the lead. The second half was also a bit nervy. They dropped a looping shot on to the top of the cross bar and Maeda swung and missed when it was surely easier to prod the ball home. But we had chances too. Okubo hit the post, Kobayashi had one well saved. In injury time FC Tokyo pulled one back. After all, we never like to make things too comfortable. A free kick from the left was swung in, everyone seemed to dither, we let it bounce and there was a FC Tokyo head to nod it home. So, a nervier last few minutes than we might have hoped for, but we held on and progress to the next round.
I won't do positives and negatives as I couldn't really tell from the stream I watched, but needless to say, it's a good thing we are in the next round. It was also nice that we were able to pay tribute to Arthur Maia and the Chapecoense team who lost their lives in that horrible plane crash. All our players wore black armbands, the supporters had a few flags in tribute and apparently the goals were dedicated to Arthur Maia. Of course, any plane crash is a tragedy, but the fact that an ex-player was involved brings it closer to home. And it's particularly sad, that after not really getting a chance with us last season, his career seemed to be progressing well. Rest in peace, all of the victims.
So, next we have Omiya Ardija at Yokohama's stadium. Omiya managed to overcome Shonan Bellmare 4-2 AET. You've got to feel sorry for Shonan, as they managed to come back from a goal behind whilst playing with 10 men, and even took the lead early on in extra time, before Omiya managed to overpower them. This could give us a chance to get some revenge on Omiya after they beat us in a game which I think definitely was a major part of our second stage capitulation. Let's just hope that both Okubo and our Kazoku supporters can keep their cool a bit better than they did at the stadium in Kumagaya, which was a definite low point of the season.
GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 6. TASAKA Yusuke (Yellow card 40')DF 23. EDUARDO
DF 5. TANIGUCHI ShogoMF 14. NAKAMURA Kengo
MF 21. EDUARDO NETO
MF 18. ELSINHO
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 13. OKUBO Yoshito
FW 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
GK 30. ARAI Shota
MF 19. MORIYA Kentaro
MF 22. NAKANO Yoshihiro (on for OKUBO 90')
MF 25. KANO Kenta
FW 26. MIYOSHI Koji (on for NOBORIZATO 72')DF 28. ITAKURA Ko (on for KOBAYASHI 83')
MF 27. OTSUKA Shohei
MF 27. OTSUKA Shohei
OKUBO (Frontale) 20' 0-1
ELSINHO (Frontale) 28' 0-2
HIRAYAMA (Tokyo) 90+1' 1-2