Thursday 23 June 2016

Vs Avispa Fukuoka (away) 18/6/16 - 1st stage, match 16

Avispa Fukuoka 2 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale


I’d been thinking about starting this blog for a long time but this season seemed to be going a little too well. I was worried that I would jinx us by starting to write about things. But anyway, after an evening in Fukuoka that ended with us getting soaked and intense disappointment, I thought that now was the time for me to start writing with no fear of jinxing anything. After all, we seem to have messed it up for ourselves without having any kind of jinxes affect anything. It’s irritating, as I have been saying for the last month or so that we should worry more about Urawa than Kashima, as they had the potential to overtake us even if we won all of our games. Urawa’s very welcome implosion though has put them a little out of the picture and our own (hopefully short-lived) implosion in Fukuoka has put Kashima back in the driving seat. It’s particularly painful given that we’ve been above them for so long this season and it looks like we might have handed it to them on the second last game of the first stage.

Given the distance, there was an impressive number of Frontale fans present. We filled one end behind the goal and spilled over into the first third of one of the side stands. The ground was a little strange but quite nice. The two ends were not so big and not very steep. Even at the top of the stand we were still quite close to pitch level, so it was a little difficult to see what was going on at the other end of the pitch. A few thoughts about the game. We were in fairly good voice before the game and the mood seemed quite excited. This excitement was soon destroyed as Avispa scored twice directly in front of us. Given our results against teams playing in the bottom three of the table this season it shouldn’t have been so surprising, but somehow it was. When we look back on this season we really have to rue the 4-4 at home against Shonan, the 1-1 at home against Sendai and the 0-0 away to Niigata. And of course this result, the most regrettable of them all, as at the time of the game it mattered more than any of the others. In the 15 games previous to playing us, Avispa had only 10 points and scored nine goals. But we let them have a couple of goals in the first 15 minutes, and after that we were up against it. We always create a lot of chances though and this game was no exception. Unfortunately we only managed to put one of them (and a penalty) away. For the majority of the match it was one way traffic but we couldn’t quite do enough to get the ball in the net.

So, what went wrong? I dunno, but losing Kengo through injury was a big problem. Even when he isn’t playing well he definitely adds something to the team with his leadership. Not sure it was a good idea to give Yoshito the captaincy as it’s difficult for a player like him to lead the team from the front. But it was his hometown and he was the most senior player. Not sure who I would have suggested. Edu’s injury (some kind of strain and now out for five weeks…) is also a big factor. But maybe more so for the next few games rather than at Avispa as when he went off we were already losing and Igawa looked alright when he came on. Think the big problem was that we just weren’t troubling their keeper enough. Too many shots were hit straight at him, were off target or just dribbled through without much danger. The keeper did seem to be a particularly irritating character. His behaviour before the penalty was pretty pathetic and I would have (obviously) loved to have seen him picking the ball out the back of the net in the 94th minute but it wasn’t to be. Maybe we needed to be a bit more willing to shoot from distance as we have people who can hit a good shot but at times it looked like we felt we had to pass the ball into the net.

Any positives…. hmmmm. We got our plane tickets on air miles… erm…. Otsuka did a decent job of replacing Kengo but I wonder if we would have been better with a midfielder in there like Harakawa and then we would have had the option to bring on Otsuka later on. Kurumaya was decent and never really seems to get the praise I think he deserves. Tasaka made a few good chances when he came on. But there just seemed to be a bit of inevitability about this happening. When we were in the position of having to win three games to take the first stage and we were left with Yokohama (local derby), Fukuoka (rock bottom, playing badly) and Omiya (doing pretty well) the game against Fukuoka seemed like the one we’d mess up. But obviously it’s easy to say that in hindsight.

So, we still have a chance if Fukuoka can do us a favour and get something against Kashima on Saturday. Seems unlikely though. And we also still have to beat Omiya. I’m more worried about the amount of injuries we have in important positions. Long term ones for Nara, Morimoto, Komiyama. Kengo maybe still out, Edu out for five weeks. We have tons of midfielders but not much cover at all at the back or up front. I really hope that the next post will be reporting on the miracle of us managing to secure the first stage after all, but I also hope that I will win the lottery and never have to work again and for world peace and an end to all suffering but I’m not sure how likely any of these are to happen. If the inevitable happens and Kashima take the first stage, I really hope we can regroup and bounce back for the second as I think this has definitely been a bit of a blow to the morale of both the players and the fans. The silence that greeted the final whistle was pretty depressing. But let's try to stay positive and hope for a nice surprise on Saturday.


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 20. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 27. OTSUKA Shohei
FW 13. OKUBO Yoshito

GK 30. ARAI Shota
DF 4. IGAWA Yusuke (on for EDUARDO 22')
MF 22. NAKANO Yoshihiro
DF 17. TAKEOKA Yuto (on for NOBORIZATO 46')
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke (on for ELSINHO 79')


KANAMORI (Avispa) 09'     1-0
KANAMORI (Avispa) 15'    2-0
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 42'     2-1
OKUBO (Frontale) 73' Pen.    2-2


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