Monday 29 August 2016

Vs Kashiwa Reysol (home) 27/8/16 - 2nd stage match 10

  Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 5 Kashiwa Reysol 

I'd been looking forward to this game after missing three matches and after the excitement of beating Urawa in their own backyard. The excitement ran away quite quickly into the game though. To be precise, probably in the fifth minute when we decided that a one goal headstart wasn't generous enough. Normally at two down I would still have some confidence that we could get something from the match, but the woeful performance we were putting in made optimism a little difficult to come by. In short, this was nothing but a total disaster and one which was fully deserved.

Admittedly, we have a lot of injuries at the moment and for this game we were also without the services of Eduardo as he is on loan from Kashiwa and couldn't play as part of the loan agreement. But we still had enough players to put out a pretty strong team which has done us pretty well recently. But not on Saturday evening against Kashiwa. Right from the start we were giving the ball away constantly and it didn't take long for them to punish us. However, their first goal was a bit lucky. I can't believe it has gone down as a Diego goal. The deflection was huge and that makes it an own goal in my book but I don't particularly want Taniguchi to have it against his name. Can't really blame Sung-Ryong for it. He had no chance as he was totally wrong-footed by the deflection. But the fact that their star striker can get a free header standing on the penalty spot in loads of space with no Frontale player anywhere near him says something. Don't like to say it, but it was probably Neto's fault. I always knew we are pretty bad at scoring from corners but had never considered our defending corners skills. Pretty much non-existent judging by this goal. 

Their second goal was a sucker punch, scored pretty much from the restart (obviously our restart… but we lost the ball pretty quickly). A ball down the wing looked to have been dealt with by Elsinho but he messed it up and they were able to pass the ball to the invisible man (at least to Frontale defenders…) Diego who had no trouble making it two. This was pretty shocking but we’ve come back from these positions before so whilst they had started pretty well, we could still hold on to a thread of confidence. And this thread was reinforced by Elsinho redeeming himself for his mistake on the second goal by playing a nice ball to Moriya who hit a first time curling finish into the net from just inside the box. At this stage it felt like we’d might be settling and be able to recover from the terrible start. But as soon as the thread was reinforced it got severed. A Cristiano free kick resulted in a header off the bar and once again there was a complete absence of marking and the Kashiwa right back could just pass the ball into the net. This one looked like Igawa should have done something. The look on the celebrating Kashiwa players’ faces says a lot. Disbelief that it was all so easy I think. The fourth came from another set piece, this time a corner. Once again no marking whatsoever. Much, much too easy.

Either side of half time, two injuries meant that maybe we were spared total humiliation (as opposed to the medium humiliation we got). Igawa left the pitch on a stretcher just before the whistle (replaced by Takeoka and we looked a bit more solid afterwards). And then shortly after the restart Diego was stretchered off (probably the first time many of the Frontale team had spotted him). On 55 minutes Nakano replaced Moriya and we started to come into the game a little bit. Nakano was seeing a lot of the ball and his running at the Kashiwa back line gave us some hope. They seemed to be having a lot of trouble containing him, but unfortunately his final ball was always a little off. Guess this is due to having hardly played this season. I also think that Okubo’s presence always causes issues for the younger players around him. There was a time that Nakano was through on goal and last season would probably have shot but he seemed to feel the need to pass to Okubo and that was the end of another good opportunity. When Miyoshi came on on 67 minutes for Neto we stepped up another gear. The combination of Nakano and Miyoshi looked like it could do some damage. But we were three goals behind and Kashiwa could afford to put everyone behind the ball and wait to hit us on the break. Which is exactly what they did. Can’t complain too much about this. We had to push forward and it was always going to be a risk if we gave the ball away. We did finally get a goal back, but way too late. On 82 minutes Miyoshi fired in a rebound from a Kobayashi header from a Nakano cross. But, yeah, too little, too late.

Some overall impressions of the game have to start with the fact that in the first half we defended terribly and when we weren’t defending our attacks almost always broke down with us giving the ball away cheaply. We were totally hopeless and it was as big a defensive horror show as I have ever seen at Frontale I think. I know we are much more focussed on attacking, but when you have conceded this many goals cheaply it’s difficult to score one more than the opposition. When we did make it into the opposition half we were invariably caught offside. I guess this was a Kashiwa game plan that we couldn’t deal with. Okubo was terrible. I don’t know if we are still not playing to the system that he wants us to, but he looked uninterested and shockingly out of form. It’s controversial, but I feel that when we play with him at the moment we are basically playing with 10 men. Or maybe even less as I feel he sometimes negatively influences some of the other players around him. The second half we looked better, but still not good enough and we were way too far behind at that stage to be able to get anything from the game. You can’t fault Kashiwa for sitting back and time wasting for 45 minutes. After all, they were hammering the team who are top of the league. I don’t know what happened between the Urawa and
Kashiwa games. Or maybe that comparison isn’t fair, but these are pretty much the same players who were playing with loads of confidence and skill a month or so ago. I hope we were just unlucky or all having a bad day at the same time. I’m worried that we may have been found out and might struggle for the rest of the season. Hope this isn’t the case. Anyway, something needs to be sorted out this week as our season’s bogey team are up next and if we lose to Fukuoka I think it’s all over for us. Finally one thing which baffles me a little is the reaction of the fans to this. I don’t believe in booing your own team, particularly during the game, but why we greeted a totally hopeless performance and huge defeat with ten minutes of singing to the team I don’t know. I know a defeat like this hurts the players as much as it hurts the fans, but I have to admire how much the fans could deal with such a rotten performance in this way, as I certainly couldn’t do it. I couldn't even bring myself to take many photos as this was a thoroughly disheartening day out. So you'll have to make do with the one above and this one, which incidentally was probably one of the highlights of the game from a Frontale point of view.

Positives and negatives. Well certainly more negatives. Pretty much every word written above. Positives, and very slight positives they are, a slightly improved second half performance, Nakano and Miyoshi looking like they might be able to do something that more senior players couldn’t. And the biggest positive, Urawa lost again so unbelievably we are still top. But unless we do some serious sorting out this week we won’t be for long.

Up next in the league are Avispa Fukuoka, who beat us in the Nabisco cup and ruined our first stage chances. Last week I mentioned that Kashiwa might want to avenge us giving them a pasting earlier in the season. Surely this means that we owe Avispa one. I think that a comfortable victory is pretty much essential if we are going to survive at the top of the league for much longer. Low confidence has to be rebuilt and we need to bounce back (again!). Before that we have the magnificently named Blaublitz Akita in the Emperor's Cup but we probably can't really read too much into that, unless we lose... Anyway, I’m not sure any of you are enjoying reading this any more than I enjoyed writing it, or watching the game, so I’ll shut up now and keep everything crossed that we can sort something out this week.


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 18. ELSINHO (Yellow card 28')
DF 4. IGAWA Yusuke
DF 20. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota 
MF 22. MORIYA Kentaro
FW 13. OKUBO Yoshito (Yellow card 61')

GK 30. A
RAI Shota
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
MF 22. NAKANO Yoshihiro (on for MORIYA 55')
DF 17. TAKEOKA Yuto (on for IGAWA 45+3')
MF 26. MIYOSHI Koji (on for NETO 67')
MF 32. DUKE Carlos


DIEGO (Kashiwa) 4'  0-1
DIEGO (Kashiwa) 5'  0-2
MORIYA (Frontale) 17'  1-2
BARADA (Kashiwa) 29'  1-3 
DIEGO (Kashiwa) 32'  1-4
NAKAGAWA (Kashiwa) 75'  1-5
MIYOSHI (Frontale) 82'  2-5    


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