Tuesday 19 July 2016

Vs Jubilo Iwata (away) 17/7/16 - 2nd stage match 4

Jubilo Iwata 1 - 1 Kawasaki Frontale

Last weekend it was another away game and once again we headed west from Tokyo on the Shinkansen, this time to Hamamatsu and then on to Iwata. Shizuoka is apparently the home of Japanese football, but the prefecture seems to have been going through a relatively unsuccessful time recently. Last season Shimizu S-Pulse dropped out of J1 and were replaced by Jubilo Iwata coming up from J2. Jubilo made a decent enough go of the first stage finishing in 8th but haven’t had such a good start to the second stage. Coming into the game they had only two points from their first three games but weren’t in that 'bottom-three-draw-with-Frontale' zone. But that’s exactly what happened, but to be fair to them, I think they are in a false position at the moment as they gave us plenty of problems.
Despite being closer to Kanto than Nagoya, Iwata was a bit more of a pain to get to. Well, more accurately, to get home from. The journey to the ground from Hamamatsu involved a short train journey that looked like we were going into the countryside and then a shuttle bus that made it look like we were going into the middle of an industrial wasteland.  Obviously that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but when you get there you can see why they still have Yamaha FC on their team badge as there are Yamaha factories and industrial buildings on all sides all the way to the ground from the bus stop. The ground is a weird one with four stands that have been constructed apparently randomly. We were seated in a pretty small and quite cramped stand on the second floor behind one of the goals. The first floor seemed to only be two or three rows of Jubilo fans. Interesting design. To our left there was a very impressive steep bank of seats that held the majority of the Jubilo fans. The other end looked pretty normal and then to our right was what I guess is the main stand as it had a roof and the press boxes, changing rooms and all that but was pretty tiny. I guess maybe they have limited space and it certainly is interesting, but the away fan experience wasn’t that great to be honest. At the back of our stand you couldn’t really see the goal particularly well, which has got to go down as more than a slight drawback. And there seemed to be a lot of people who couldn’t sit down, which was a bit weird. Anyway, I’ve written a lot already and haven’t even got to the game yet…

You know the score already I guess, but the game was a bit of a weird one. Before the game I would have been disappointed with a draw, but to be honest, Jubilo did a pretty good job on us. The first half was fairly uneventful. We were playing some nice football going forwards, but the last ball always went awry. Kobayashi hit the post and we had a goal ruled out for offside from Otsuka. As it was at the other end of the pitch I can’t really comment on how accurate it was. Jay Bothroyd had a good game knocking people about for them. I think he thinks he’s still playing in the Championship in England as he had a pretty physical game. About ten minutes in he was so furious about a tackle from Neto (which the ref gave as a foul by Bothroyd against Neto I think) that immediately from the restart as soon as Neto got the ball ‘Jay’ came clattering into him and got himself a booking. I know it’s not in the rules, but I reckon when you can’t stop yourself from doing something so predictably stupid you should just be sent off. But then again, of course I would say that. It was fun to give him some abuse in his own language though. He seemed to be staring in our direction, so maybe he heard. Apologies to those sitting around me, but I guess many wouldn’t have understood my specific English football abuse vocabulary. After this early act of insanity, he did unfortunately seem to calm down and concentrate on giving us a tough time and judging by his twitter feed he does seem to be quite a nice guy. So apologies to him too.
Inevitably, early on in the second half he scored their goal when he received the ball completely unmarked from a cross from the edge of the box. Whether this was amazing movement off the ball from him or bad marking from us, I’m not sure, but I would probably go with the latter. It was a decent finish though. They also hit the bar bit later in the second half, but to be honest they didn’t have many other chances. Once again we were making chances but not quite getting the last ball in the right place. Kazama did his usual first sub, replacing Otsuka, who had been a bit quiet but did a decent enough job, with Takeoka. And then, finally we scored. Kobayashi! (Again!) It was a great pass through from Oshima and Kobayashi took a touch and then lifted it over the onrushing keeper. Nice! We had another couple of goals ruled out for offside in the second half too. And also we were caught offside loads of times. Either Jubilo were playing a great offside trap or the officials were incompetent. Once again, I prefer the latter. The second substitution came ten minutes later and was equally predictable. Elsinho off and Miyoshi on. Poor Miyoshi had a bit of a stinker though. He misplaced a few early passes and fell over a few times. It seemed that it wasn’t really going to be his day. 

There was a fair bit of Jubilo time wasting but when they finally managed to get round to taking their goal kicks the game was quite stretched and either side could probably have scored. Our final substitution came on 84 minutes and was Edu on for Hashimoto. I was delighted to see Edu back on the bench, but a little confused to see this substitution. Edu went in at centre back and Taniguchi was pushed up on the wing (which really hasn’t worked in the past, and didn’t at this game either). Hashimoto had been playing pretty well I think and was causing them some problems on the wing. At this stage I was happy settling for the draw as I think our shape got a bit confused. Towards the end it seemed as it we were either playing some kind of total football or everyone was just charging forwards. I remember seeing Igawa make a lung-busting run to the opposition penalty box and was contemplating the concept of a Igawa wonder-goal winner but it wasn’t to be. Edu seemed to be appearing on the right wing too. We were definitely giving it a good go, but it wasn’t to be. The final whistle went and players from both teams dropped to the ground. At the time, it was disappointing but on reflection, and having seen the other results, it seems not so bad after all. Much better than the bus journey back to the station.

On balance probably a fair result, although I would like to be able to see replays of the ‘goals’ we had ruled out. Given that we now lose Oshima and Harakawa to the Olympics it might have been an opportunity missed. Our next games are going to be tougher given the players we have to pick from. But maybe this will be a good opportunity for some people who haven’t shown what they can do so far this season to make their mark. That’s a nice optimistic way to look at it anyway. Positives… Edu is back, but I hope this doesn’t mean Taniguchi will be back on the wing. He’s done really well at the back recently. Maybe he should replace Oshima in the middle instead.  Hmmm, maybe that’s it for positives. Although I guess the fact that pretty much everyone else in the league drew as well is also a decent positive. Negatives… Okubo still looks like a shadow of the player he is. Not many shots and the ones that he had were either hit well wide or straight at the keeper. We can only hope he gets his form back soon. The players going to the Olympics soon, so even less to chose from. Distinctly average performances from most of the team. The bus ride back to the station.
So, next we have FC Tokyo at home. The Tamagawa Classico! That should hopefully bring out something from the team. We did a good job on them at the Ajinomoto earlier this season, so hopefully we can repeat the result at home. Who knows who will play? Maybe we will have some surprise recovery from injury, but I think it’s still too early for most of the injured players. Let’s hope we can get three points to put us back on track. I’m sure FC Tokyo wouldn’t mind losing to us twice in a season, would they?


GK 1. S
ung-Ryong JUNG
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo (Yellow card 27')
DF 4. IGAWA Yusuke
DF 20. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 27. OTSUKA Shohei
FW 13. OKUBO Yoshito

GK 30. A
RAI Shota
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
DF 17. TAKEOKA Yuto (on for OTSUKA 60')
DF 23. EDUARDO (on for HASHIMOTO 84')
MF 26. MIYOSHI Koji (on for ELSINHO 76')

JAY (Jubilo) 53'  1-0
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 64'  1-1


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