Tuesday 16 May 2017

Vs Jubilo Iwata (away) 14/5/17, J-League match 11

Jubilo Iwata 0 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale

So the good run continues. Three wins in a row now, no goals conceded and nine goals scored. Can’t really complain about that! Iwata were probably the strongest of the teams that we have faced in this run of three games and possibly the result flattered us a bit. But a good team is a lucky team and things have been falling our way a little recently. I didn’t attend this game (hence no photos), so this post is again going to be pretty short. It was my first opportunity to watch a Frontale game on Dazn. I’ve heard quite a few negative things about their coverage but it was on the whole, not too bad. One thing that really stood out was the DAZN sound man who seemed to be really riding the faders, with both teams chanting rising and falling and mixing in with each other like sound kind of musique concrète performance piece. The weird thing is, I thought that watching the game on TV would give me a better understanding of what was going on, given that I usually can’t work out what’s going on at the other end of the pitch. But I came away from the experience having less appreciation of what was going on rather than any more. I guess the moral of the story is for me to go to more games, but it was quite nice to have a weekend off as the schedule has been pretty intense recently.

The formation for this game was the same as usual but there were a few changes in personnel. Takeoka made his first start of the season at right back with the rest of the defence being Taniguchi and Edu in the middle and Kurumaya on the left, all in front of Sung-Ryong. The defensive midfield was the reassuring pairing of Neto and Oshima. Up front the line was led by Kobayashi with Kengo behind him, Rhayner on the right and Abe on the left. After making his recovery from injury, Ienaga is now sick. I wonder if this will be a real stop-start season for him. The bench was Arai, Noborizato, Nara, Tasaka, Morimoto, Hasegawa and Moriya. We didn’t make the best of starts, giving them a few early chances with some sloppy passing. But they didn’t score, (thank you crossbar!) and this gave us something to build on. We made a few chances but there never seemed to be anyone in the box to receive a pass or cross. It’s weird that even though we’re playing with four forwards and are generally speaking doing a very slow build up that by the time we get to the part of the pitch where we can cause them some trouble we don’t seem to have anyone in the right place. Although Kobayashi started up front there seemed to be some kind of rotation going on with Rhayner, Abe and Kobayashi all taking turns to lead the line. As usual we were dominating possession but on the whole I’d say the first half was fairly even.

We started the second half with a substitution. Rhayner was replaced by Hasegawa. I quite like the fact that Oniki is not afraid of changing things up at half time. Kazama seemed to always wait till around 60 minutes to do anything. Not sure Rhayner had done anything wrong but he had been booked again, for ‘rough play’ apparently, which is ironic as he always seems to get smashed around and not even win free kicks. Not long into the second half we went ahead and it was a nice move. As has been the case so often recently, Kobayashi was the provider and Abe the finisher. The Jubilo defenders were claiming offside but it was definitely onside. Abe had timed his run perfectly and it was a tidy finish. Maybe it was the goal, but we were looking a bit better in the second half. Our passing was working nicely and we had some confidence. Neto had a great opportunity to score a second, but his clever backheel-kind-of-flick went a bit wide of the goal. I admire the fact that he always seems to be looking to score the fanciest goal over, but wish that sometimes he would just leather the ball into the back of the net. Especially when it’s only 1-0. We were attacking a lot more with a bit more directness and the whole team seemed to be in a forward thinking frame of mind. We had another lovely chance too when a nice Kobayashi back heel put Hasegawa through but he slightly scuffed the shot and it was cleared off the line with the keeper beaten. Shame! On 77 minutes, Nara came on for Kengo and then on 78 minutes, Morimoto for Kobayashi. It made sense to give both of them a rest. I can’t say what happened to the shape as I was in a slight panic rushing to get ready for work at this stage. What I can say though is that Morimoto has got hair now and it’s orange! Long may that continue. I hope it will be his lucky charm. Once again, chance wise the second half was fairly even, but unlike the first half, we were taking some of the chances. In injury time we scored another, putting a bit of a shine on the result. It came in unusual circumstances for Frontale. A huge goal kick from Sung-Ryong (nice assist) bounced once and then Hasegawa (tall, tall Hasegawa) was able to head the ball over Jubilo’s 191cm keeper who was rushing out to claim it. It was nice finish from Hasegawa who seems to have an eye for goal recently. Good for him! I guess he doesn’t score many headed goals either!

So, 2-0 which flattered us a little but it’s good to be playing ok and getting wins. Certainly preferable to playing great stuff and getting draws or losses. We’re in 7th now, but things are pretty tight at the top of the table. The first eight teams are only divided by three points so it’s very open this year. Our next game is a tough one though. Positives and negatives will be brief as, like I said, I didn’t really get much from watching the game on the laptop compared to at the stadium. First, negatives. Not much to say really. It’s a shame we keep picking up yellow cards maybe. I feel like we get more than we deserve but of course I would say that. Not a completely convincing performance and we rode our luck a bit at times but we did win. Which moves us on to the positives. A win from an average performance and this is a nice little run that we’re on at the moment. Long may that continue. Nice goals from Hasegawa and Abe. Maybe that’s about it.

Next up is Kashima away on Friday night. This will tell us where we really are. Kashima are definitely one of our bogey teams. Their dull dull football is horribly effective against us, especially when it’s crucial. Yeah, we beat them in this fixture last year, but look who won the title after knocking us out of the Championship at the first stage. A win against them and then we can really start looking at the top of the table. Sure there’s lot’s of teams involved still, but that would send a message to the others. Fingers crossed anyway. I really hope we can overcome the curse of Kashima but I’m not going to be too optimistic. After a rotten bus journey home from that game last year (in spite of the victory) I think we said we wouldn’t be going back there this season, but we seem to have match tickets and bus tickets so I guess we are. Missing the match day experience I guess! After that, we’re away in Thailand for the first leg of the ACL knockout stage against Muangthong. Couple of big games coming, so let’s hope we can keep this run going. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 22. RHAYNER (Yellow card 19')
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki

GK 30. ARAI Shota
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki (on for NAKAMURA 77')
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
FW 9. MORIMOTO Takayuki (Yellow card 88') (on for KOBAYASHI 78')
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for RHAYNER 41')
MF 19. MORIYA Kentaro

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Not sure this week. Decent performances from most of the players without anyone standing out so much, but given that he's only 164cm tall but scored with a header over a very tall keeper I'll give it to him.

HASEGAWA Tatsuya - soaring to new heights! 


ABE (Frontale) 51' 0-1
HASEGAWA (Frontale) 90+1' 0-2


The Frontale youtube channel has longer highlights provided by DAZN, but given that last year's highlights got wiped when the broadcaster got changed, I'm going to stick with the official J League ones. But you can watch the longer highlights here if you want. 

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