Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Vs Ulsan Hyundai (home) 23/4/19 - ACL Group Stage Match 4

  Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 2 Ulsan Hyundai

Fortunately I had to work when this game was on, so was unable to witness our ACL campaign continue to trundle along, underwhelming result after underwhelming result. This year has the potential to be much like last season when we started badly in the ACL, continued badly and finished averagely, each consecutive game becoming increasingly crucial until qualification was mathematically impossible, at which stage we started playing a bit better. Perhaps this year we can say we’ve been a bit unlucky at times. However, if you’re dominating possession but failing to score and it’s 0-0 going into the final five minutes, you’ve got to expect that sometimes you’ll end up losing. The fact that it’s happened twice in this group already is unfortunate, but if we’d managed to get some more shots at least on target we might not have been in the position where we were open to being unlucky. Anyway, I can’t really comment on this game as I have seen nothing more than the highlights and the game stats. From these highlights, it seems that we conceded two rotten goals. The first was from a corner with calamitous defending, or perhaps more accurately, non-existent defending with an Ulsan player poking home easily, totally free at the back post and the second showed similar inability to make a challenge and went in off Sung-Ryong’s hand. Our equalizer was a weird one. Having watched it back numerous times I’m still not sure if Chinen or Damiao got the final touch. They both appeared to scoop it in together. The website gives it to Chinen though. Again, we failed to win. At least this time it was a comeback rather than us conceding late on on the game. But this was coupled with the fact that we went from leading to trailing with some utterly crappy play. We had 68% possession! Fantastic! We had 21 goal attempts! Marvelous! Their keeper had to make two saves in the whole game… oh. This was perhaps more a mustn’t-lose than a must-win game but this draw has put us in a bit of a hole. We probably need to win our last two games, away at Sydney and at home against Shanghai. Both of these teams looked pretty average when we played them. But we have looked pretty average too so our situation doesn’t look so good.

I’m not going to moan too much about the details of this game as I am woefully unqualified to do so. However, again we have seen a player come from not even being on the bench to starting (Saito). We’ve seen Chinen (apparently our favoured striker in the league) drop to the bench, but with Kobayashi rather than Damiao replacing him. It’s good to see Kobayashi finally get off the mark this year, but I heard he missed an absolute sitter at the end which could have won us the game. Whatever Damiao did to Oniki, it’s clear that Oniki still hasn’t forgiven him. It’s still unclear as to whether the ACL is a priority for us. And it's still unclear what our best team is. To be honest, I’ve given up trying to work it out. Perhaps Oniki is rotating again. But if he is, it’s about as successful as last year when he’d just remove whole sections of the team and replace them at random. It makes a change from last year’s predictable Frontale line-ups I guess. This year, the only thing we can predict is that it will be unpredictable. 

Next up, Kobe away on Sunday. I dearly, dearly want us to win this game. I think Kobe are turning into plenty of people’s least favourite J League team. They certainly are right up there for me. Our Golden Week schedule isn’t so busy, so there’s not really any need to rest players. Perhaps we’ll see Oniki’s preferred eleven playing and perhaps we’ll be able to get a bit more insight into what’s going on this year. Perhaps… Anyway, let’s try to stay positive. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 17. MAWATARI Kazuaki (Yellow card 4')
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro
MF 19. SAITO Manabu

GK 21. ARAI Shota
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for TANAKA 46')
MF 27. SUZUKI Yuto
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (on for IENAGA 73')
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya


KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 8' 1-0
PARK Yong-Woo (Ulsan) 17' 1-1
JUNIOR NEGAO (Ulsan) 31' 1-2 
CHINEN (Frontale) 82' 2-2



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