Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Vs Yokohama F Marinos (home) 9/9/17, J-League match 25

Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 0 Yokohama F Marinos

The worrying thing about us picking up another great result like this is the fact that this year we seem to be playing great for three or four games, then throwing in a stinker of a performance. In previous years maybe this wasn't such an issue, but with us very much in the hunt on quite a few fronts this time round, one of these stinkers could see us out of one of these competitions. Even in the league, we can't really afford to not win any games as we've got six points to make up on Kashima, who scraped another 1-0 bore win this weekend. We really need someone to beat them soon. Preferably a few teams, as I'm not counting out another slip up from us. But let's not dwell on what might happen in the future and concentrate on a great performance against a Yokohama team who we shouldn't forget were above us in the table before the game. We definitely owed them one from the game at their place which was jointly ruined by an appalling ref and an appalling blip performance from us, creating a very unenjoyable afternoon for us Frontale fans.

We started with our usual line-up and no real surprises on the bench either. See below for the line-up. I seem to be typing pretty much the same opening sentences for these second paragraphs every week so I'm trying to save myself a bit of work going forward. Possibly the one slight surprise was Kano on the bench, keeping his place from the last game. He got a great reception from the crowd again. At least from our fans anyway. He's a former Marinos player, but they didn't seem to remember, either in a positive or negative way. Much like last weekends FC Tokyo smashing, the game started fairly evenly with a bit of possession for both sides. Yokohama's tactic seemed to be to play long balls down the flanks for Saito and Martinus to chase. Aaaah, Martinus. A new contender for my most disliked J League player. He did a great job against us in the last game which I don't hold against him in any way. What I do hold against him is his constant whinging, fouling and diving. I don't think he made a single fair tackle in the whole game, committing foul after foul and never picking up a yellow card. And here we come on to the next rotten performance. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you to hear me moaning about a referee, but it seems that Sato is another one of the bad ones. I'd say its pretty unusual for a local derby to end without any yellow cards being shown, and I think there definitely should have been a few dished out. It was by no means a dirty game, but when you have players committing foul after foul, slicing through opponents, it's not really usual for there to be no bookings. I wonder if our pregame scouting showed their keeper to be a bit weak with long range shots, as we were definitely more willing to have a go from distance than we usually are. And in a way this is where our first goal came from. A nice move resulted in a cross/shot from Abe being chested on by Kobayashi but not quite making it to Kengo. The ball was cleared by a defender to Oshima who smacked it in from the edge of the box. Ole! We were really coming into the game pouring forward and cutting through them time after time. They were clattering through us in the tackle. They did occasionally break but we were again doing a decent enough job at the back. Whilst the defending was at times a little seat of the pants, we were holding up sufficiently solidly. Oshima was having a pretty damn good game. He often goes a little unnoticed by me, so I guess if even I was spotting his great work, he must have been having a blinder. There's a video that has appeared on twitter of an Oshima highlights reel from this game which I guess says something. All in all, a decent first half with the greatest threat to us being a refereeing blunder or an injury from persistent hacking. Thankfully neither arose.

The second half started with Yokohama having a go at us. I guess this was an important game for both teams and they really needed to try to get something from it. Thankfully though, we were resolute at the back and were still making plenty of chances. Shockingly for us, it seems that the vast majority of our shots in this game were on target. It's definitely easier to score this way, so I'm all in favour of that. On 57 minutes we were two ahead and this time it was Kobayashi. We seemed to have lost possession in the middle of the pitch, but a blunder from Yokohama gave us the ball back and Neto was able to prod it on to Kobayashi who belted it home. At the time it looked like the keeper had made a bit of a mess of it as it seemed to be hit straight at him. However watching the replay, I think it was hit with quite some venom and with a lot of dip and bend on it. A nice finish! Martinus continued with his cheating and around this time it really looked like he was losing both his rag and his mind. I half expected him to have a swing at someone. Guess things weren't really going his way. Our third came on 70 minutes and it was Ienaga this time. Yokohama dithered in defence again and Kengo was able to nick the ball. He then got absolutely walloped (not a yellow according to the ref...) playing the ball through to Ienaga, and he gave the keeper the eyes before slotting it home at the near post. It looked like we had the game in the bag, but two thoughts came into my mind. The injury time comeback by them in this fixture last year (I know we mounted our own comeback to cancel out their comeback but it was pretty tense), and the final league game of the season last year, when Yokohama were doing us a favour against Urawa and then we stuffed it up against Gamba at home. I am praying that we don't have any similar capitulations this year. With a three goal lead Oniki was free to make some subs. First off was Oshima, replaced by Moriya. He'd had a great game and thoroughly deserved a nice sit down with a bit of ice on his ankle (hopefully just a precaution). Then Edu replaced Kengo and we seemed to switch to five at the back. I initially presume it was three at the back but we were under a bit of pressure and having trouble clearing our lines at this stage, so more often than not, it was five with the two wing backs sitting deep. The final change was Hasegawa on for Kobayashi, presumably to add a bit of pace up front for when we hoofed the ball clear. It almost paid off actually, late on, but we weren't to score any more goals. But we didn't concede either. And it was a pretty good result all things considered. If only Omiya could have got something against Kashima...

Positives and negatives. Start negative, although there's not much. Guess the fact that we're still six points behind Kashima with games running out. But I guess as long as we keep winning, we still have a chance (if they slip up). Only other negative I can come up with is the fact that we were pretty ragged at points in the second half. However, nicely segueing into the positives... we didn't concede. It's good that we have a bit more of a gutsy side to our defending this year. Plenty of the front players are doing their bit when required and whilst our defending at times isn't the prettiest, it seems to be effective most of the time. Three more goals is nice, and they were nice goals too. We really seem to be scoring for fun at the moment. (Hope that continues at Urawa on Wednesday). And it's good that some of our goals are coming from different kind of moves than usual. It seems that we've been hitting people on the counter attack a bit recently which is a nice new string to our bow. Also, a high percentage of our shots were actually on target. Quality over quantity this time I guess. Finally, an abundance of team spirit is in evidence and everyone seems to be working for one another. Fun times!

Next up are a couple of away games. Firstly, we go to Urawa on Wednesday for the second leg of our ACL quarter final, leading 3-1 from the first leg. Hopefully, as we did against Tokyo, we can score an early away goal and really put them up against it. After that we travel to Shimizu on Saturday in the league. We only got a draw against them at home earlier in the season but we'll need something more this time. It will be my first time going there and will leave me with just one more J1 ground to tick off. Exciting times! Let's hope that we can keep this run going and banish the blips. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki

GK 30. ARAI Shota
MF 6. TASAKA Yusuke
FW 9. MORIMOTO Takayuki
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for KOBAYASHI 89')
MF 19. MORIYA Kentaro (on for OSHIMA 78')
DF 23. EDUARDO (on for NAKAMURA 84')
MF 25. KANO Kenta

My Frontale Man Of The Match

This was an all round good team performance with everyone playing their part up front and at the back. Given that he has his own highlights reel from the game though (which you can see here), I guess it has to be...

OSHIMA Ryota - class act all over the pitch. Great goal, great tackling and great passing. Great stuff! Don't have the little player key ring thing for him, so you're spared any weak visual puns this time.


OSHIMA (Frontale) 14' 1-0
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 57' 2-0
IENAGA (Frontale) 75' 3-0


The Frontale youtube channel usually 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.
And we have that extra footage video again at the bottom.

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