Tuesday 23 August 2016

Vs Urawa Reds (away) 20/8/16 - 2nd stage match 9

 Urawa Reds 1 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale

What a game, or at least I guess it must have been a great game. I can’t be sure as I was on a plane whilst it was happening. Thanks again to Kaoru for the photos. This is the last game I will miss this season hopefully. I think I said last week that we definitely needed to bounce back in this game after the defeat against Sagan Tosu. I hoped but couldn’t have imagined that we would bounce back so well and be back on top of the league again. But we are and I hope we can stay there for the rest of the season.

Coming into the game we needed to change the starting line up again as Hashimoto and Otsuka were (and still are) injured. It seems that we also changed the formation, switching to something more approaching 3-2-4-1, instead of the usual very very loose 4-4-2 we have been playing recently. Although I guess our formations are always quite fluid so I might be reading too much into this. It seems it was three centre backs anyway, Igawa, Taniguchi and Takeoka. So, something closer to what we were playing last season and certainly it makes more sense than putting Taniguchi or Takeoka out of position at left back. The wide players were Elsinho and Nakano (pleased to see him getting a chance again and pleased it was on the wing where he plays best). Don’t know if we put an extra centre back in to counter Urawa or whether it was just because Kurumaya is still injured and we don’t have another left back. But I guess it worked, so it doesn’t really matter why it was done. There was also a newcomer on the bench, 16 year old Carlos Duke, a midfielder from our youth team.

Don’t know much about the goals other than what I have seen on the video, but the first one was another cracker from Kengo. I’m pleased that recently we seem to be shooting from a bit further out. We do sometimes seem to over-complicate things and try to pass the ball into the net. Nice to go ahead at Urawa, especially after only 15 minutes! Unfortunately they equalised around the half hour mark. We had plenty of people behind the ball but were a touch unlucky with a couple of bounces and deflections. From their cross we had a few people who could have cut it out but it ended up bouncing off a falling Takeoka and sitting up perfectly for Lee. Presumably the Urawa fans didn’t boo their striker for the goal, although they normally seem to like giving him some grief.

In the second half Urawa had some decent chances, but a combination of bad finishing and decent goalkeeping managed to keep them out. On 73 minutes we went ahead again. Oshima made a great run beating a few players and after a few passes pinged around their penalty box he got it back and fed it to Elsinho on the wing who crossed perfectly for Moriya to prod the ball into the net only a few minutes after he came on for Nakano. I remember he scored a cracker at Urawa last season and I’m delighted to see him back on the scoresheet. This goal prompted a couple of Urawa substitutions but happily they couldn’t get back into the match. Okubo had a goal disallowed for handball. It’s difficult to see from the video, but as he didn’t seem to complain, I guess it was the right call. The game finished with a 2-1 victory for us. Lovely! Cue the towel waving!

Once again, not being there, I don’t think I can really go into any detail regarding positives and negatives. The two big positives are obvious though. We beat my most hated team who are also our biggest rivals at the moment and we are back on top of the league. That’s good enough for me! I remember last season being distinctly unimpressed by Urawa’s ‘passionate’ support which basically consisted of a bit of singing before the game and then booing everything we did and remaining almost silent for the rest of the game. Of course I am biased, but it’s difficult not to intensely dislike them and their racist fans. I suppose this is probably only a minority, but it’s enough of a minority for them to get away with the ‘Japanese Only’ banner last season and the vile twitter attacks on opposition players who are foreigners. Anyway, rant over until we next play them. For now I am just going to enjoy the fact that we have beaten them and gone above them. Let’s hope they now have another mini collapse like they did at the end of the first stage!

Next up, it’s Kashiwa at home. We gave them a bit of a battering at their place earlier in the season so they will be up for taking some points off us, but hopefully we can prevail. Edu won’t be able to play this game as he is on loan from Kashiwa and it’s part of the loan agreement, but I guess recently he has only been coming on as sub anyway so hopefully it shouldn’t disrupt us too much. Three more points and plenty more goals please!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 4. IGAWA Yusuke (Yellow card 40')
MF 21. EDUARDO NETO (Yellow card 75')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 22. NAKANO Yoshihiro
FW 13. OKUBO Yoshito

GK 30. A
RAI Shota
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
MF 19. MORIYA Kentaro (on for NAKANO 71')
DF 23. EDUARDO (on for IGAWA 78')
MF 32. DUKE Carlos


NAKAMURA (Frontale) 15'  0-1
LEE (Urawa) 28'  1-1
MORIYA (Frontale) 74'  1-2


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