Monday 8 October 2018

Vs Kashima Antlers (away) 7/10/18 - J League match 29

Kashima Antlers 0 - 0 Kawasaki Frontale

As the end of the season approaches, things are getting serious. It’s a tense time. We are leading the league for the first time this year. Some people have put as down as nailed on champions but I wish I had the same confidence. I think I said a few games ago, that I thought that there was no way Hiroshima would win all their remaining games and it looks like their form is disintegrating. Likewise, I didn’t think we would win all of our games, and we didn’t won this one. But it was a decent point to pick up in a tough game against rapidly improving opposition. I was hoping that they would play the kids, given that they are still involved in four competitions. Sadly they didn’t, and this was a battle. In keeping somehow with the increasing tension, these blog posts seem to be getting more jumbled and lighter on detail. I’d be delighted if the season finished now (unsurprisingly, given that we’re top). This tension is affecting the way I’m watching games. And I think perhaps there was an element of the pressure being on us rather than Hiroshima and this adversely affected our performance. I guess we’ll see if this manifests in the next game too. This was a frustrating, irritating, yet somehow satisfying afternoon. I think, looking back in a positive way, we’ve come through what looked like being, and turned out to be a challenging fixture. Obviously, three points would have been lovely, but I think on balance, we should be satisfied with one.

The most notable thing about this game was the insane weather. It’s October, but it was very hot. We were totally exposed to the sun in the stand behind the goal, so much so that most people spent the majority of the three hours before kick off, hiding in the concourse area. I had left a sandwich in my bag on my seat and when I returned to eat it, it seemed that it had been slightly toasted. These conditions may have contributed to the general lack of quality in the game. There was a lot more grit than style in this match. Kashima were a very dirty team, (of course I’d say that...), and Leo Silva and Jung were both lucky to have not been sent off. Jung in particular, as he spent the majority of the match kicking lumps out of Kobayashi and gave away the penalty which he can have no complaints about. His only yellow though was for a push at a corner. Again, no surprise for me to say this, but Kashima are a very unlikeable team. And their fans aren’t much better, spending the majority of the first half booing our possession. We started pretty well, hitting the post early on and with plenty of the ball. Sadly though we were lacking a cutting edge up front. I think Oniki made a mistake putting Abe on the right and Kobayashi up front. The opposite would surely have made more sense, but like with his undroppable favourite players, Oniki also seems set on playing Kobayashi up front at all costs, in spite of the evidence that Abe up front and Kobayashi on the right always works better. It wasn’t really Kobayashi’s day. The penalty miss was another rotter. If you’re going to put it low into the corner, you’ve got to find the corner and he made it far too easy for the keeper. Admittedly not as easy as last time when he kicked it straight at the Shonan keeper who didn’t even have to move, but still it wasn’t exactly a tough save if the keeper guessed the right way. There was a ridiculous amount of interference and mind games from Kashima as Kobayashi was waiting to take the penalty which can’t have helped. The keeper in particular was really taking the piss but the ref did nothing. Perhaps, however these misses can be blamed on me. I’m never confident when we win a penalty and always hope that someone else will take it rather than Kobayashi. Surely there must be another option? Fair play to him for stepping up after the last miss, but I’m not sure where we go from here. Do we keep letting him step up until he scores one? Personally, I’d rather someone else took them. It would be fair to say that his penalty misses have cost us four points in the last month. Kashima felt cheated that they didn’t get a penalty for a Taniguchi handball. It was at the other end of the pitch so I’ve only seen it on replays and I’ve seen them given and not given. I think the ref was right on this occasion, as his hand is in front of his body and the ball is blasted straight at him. Kashima disagreed though and at the end of the game booed the ref off. I laughed as I thought he had given pretty much everything else their way. It was another rotten refereeing performance to be honest. He lost control of the game early on and if he was consistent with his decisions Kashima would have been down to nine men for a significant portion of the game. Instead it was us who had a player sent off, (that notorious bad boy Abe...), and although it was pretty late on, it made for a nervy end to the game. Can’t argue with either of the yellow cards. The first was a bit silly and for the second, he took one for the team, stopping a potentially dangerous break with a foul. Unfortunately, this means he won’t be available for the next game. Neither will Morita, who picked up his fourth yellow, so we’ll have some changes again. Ienaga will be back though.

Briefly returning to my old ‘positives and negatives’, with positives first. We took a point from a tough game and one in which we were really under pressure in the second half. And Hiroshima lost again. Negatives, the penalty miss, the lack of chances and some weird subs. Given the booking and the fact he was playing out of position, Oniki should have probably have taken Abe off when Suzuki came on. I guess though his hand was forced a little by the two previous subs given that both Morita and Kobayashi had to leave the pitch due to injury. Hopefully neither of them are serious and Morita will at least have some time to recover given that he’ll miss the next game due to suspension. I feel for Abe though. He can play either on the left or up front, but he spent almost the whole game on the right out of position and then when he finally made it onto the left, got sent off chasing back to cover from one of our own corners which we’d fluffed. It seems like I’m moaning a lot again, but I was fairly satisfied with the result, if not the manner in which it came about. Guess it’s just that I really don’t like Kashima!

Next up, Kobe at home but it’s not for a couple of weeks so hopefully we can all have a bit of a rest! Whether a certain Mr. Iniesta will play, I’m not sure. I hope so, for Kengo’s sake, as he is apparently a big fan of him, but I’d rather he didn’t and they continue their fantastic run of six defeats in their last seven matches. That game is a must win. They are a club in some turmoil and we need to get back to winning ways. Hopefully the two weeks will do us good and we can turn in a good performance. Go Frontale!




GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (Yellow card 89')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 25. MORITA Hidemasa (Yellow card 52')
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki (Yellow card 28', second yellow/red card 90+1')

GK 30. ARAI Shota
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for KOBAYASHI 82')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for MORITA 66')
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 27. SUZUKI Yuto (on for NOBORIZATO 85')
MF 37. SAITO Manabu

My Frontale Man Of The Match

This wasn’t the most dynamic of attacking performances so I’m looking at the other end of the pitch for this. Taniguchi didn’t have the best of games again, and I think he’s being carried by Nara at the moment. Perhaps he’s tired. I’d love to give it to Nara, but everyone would think I’m biased so it will go to….

OSHIMA Ryota - did a great job in the middle of the pitch, winning the ball fairly and not having to resort to the dirty tactics Kashima’s midfield used. Shows much more strength than you’d imagine he has and his control was perfect in this game. Bravo!




The Frontale youtube channel usually has longer highlights provided by DAZN, but given that a previous 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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