Friday, 6 September 2019

Vs Nagoya Grampus (home) 4/9/19 - Levain Cup, quarter final 1st leg

Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 0 Nagoya Grampus

I’m going to keep this post relatively brief as the games are coming thick and fast at the moment, and recently I’ve spent too much time whinging. Although there’s not much to whinge about regarding this game. Sure, we weren’t back to our best, and whilst there were periods we were well on top of this game, Nagoya could say the same. I think that neither side had their first choice teams out though, and whilst it seems fine for me to get totally carried away about our bad results, I’m not going to do the same after one cup victory. But it was nice to get a clean sheet, and nice to score a couple of goals, and nice to not go away from a game wanting to smash something up. Here are a couple of notable things about this match

VAR worked well - still hate it -

VAR is here and Chinen had the ‘honour’ of being the first player in Japan to score a VAR assisted goal. I’m not really sure what the rules behind the application of VAR are. I didn’t see a flag when Chinen scored (and looking at the highlights, there wasn't one), so I’m not sure why the decision was referred. Before this decision we had another VAR moment when Hasegawa was through on goal and got fouled by the last man on the edge of the box. I think pretty much everyone thought it was probably outside the box but the decision was checked. I was expecting it to be either a penalty or a red card, but in the end we got neither. I’m sure the free kick was the right decision, but I’m a bit confused as to why the defender escaped with only a yellow. Perhaps my red card knowledge is out of date though. It was a little unsettling to hear that the VAR ref was Tojo as he’s got a bit of a reputation for bad decisions, but perhaps he’s actually a decent ref when he’s watching it on TV rather than actually on the pitch. Sadly, we didn’t get to see the ref run over and have a look himself at the screen at the side of the pitch. However that was probably a blessing, as even with the decision being reviewed by someone already in front of a screen, (hopefully wearing full referee's kit!), it still seemed to take quite a long time. Quite how two VAR referrals, a goal, and a substitution added up to only 2 minutes of injury time, I’m not sure. I will say that during the review period, the atmosphere was pretty weird and understandably flat. I’ve come away from my first VAR experience feeling the same about it as I did before. I don’t like it and I think technology could be far better used in different ways. The biggest worry for me will be the fact that it seems we will never be able to actually enjoy a proper goal celebration again, as the initial excitement is tempered by the VAR review, and only after the wait, celebrations are able to resume. But it all feels a bit weird. Chinen commented on the fact that he and Hasegawa were celebrating, looked round to see everyone else just standing there and felt a bit stupid. It’s a bit of a stretch to compare that to the experience of being in the crowd, but it did feel a bit like that.

The usual point about the team and how they played but a little more positive for once -

I’m going to round up the team selection and performances in one brief point. This was probably a hybrid team selection with some first-teamers and some who are usually subs. But I guess we don’t really know who is a first-teamer recently as there has been so much chopping and changing. We were back to 4-4-2 and the front combination of Chinen and Leandro Damiao which has pretty much always failed in this formation actually worked pretty well. In the first half we were having a lot of fun playing balls in behind the high defensive line of Nagoya and Hasegawa was looking very dangerous. We did go a bit off the boil later on in the half, probably after Kazama adjusted the tactics. Yamamura did a creditable job in the back four, Taniguchi only had a couple of wobbles, the middle two of Shimoda and Morita had a decent game, although Morita is still giving the ball away a bit carelessly sometimes. Wakizaka looked good. He too gave the ball away on occasion, but you could see that he was well up for the game and that with a bit more time he is going to be a very important player for us. I’ve far less problem with him trying a clever through pass that gets cut out compared to us just passing the ball to the opposition under no pressure in the middle of the pitch. Wakizaka's goal was well taken and the pass from Leandro Damiao was fantastic. Damiao was full of running all night and whilst his finishing wasn’t quite in tune, he made a very good contribution to the game, I thought. Let’s see if it’s enough to see him retain his spot on Sunday.  Chinen looked hungry after his long absence and he too was well up for the game, taking his goal well and being a little unlucky on a couple of occasions. Whether this is all a great rebirth for us and our fortunes and a tactical coup from Oniki or just a good performance that we stumbled upon among a load of rubbish, only time will tell I guess. But I’ll take it and enjoy it while it lasts!

Next up Nagoya away on Sunday in the cup again and I guess we'll see where we are. I can’t see any reason to change the team or tactics to be honest but it will interesting to discover if Oniki the Japanese tinkerman will resist the temptation to ‘rotate’. After that, it’s home against Jubilo Iwata the following Saturday. Even though the league is over for us, I’d still say it’s a must win from the point of view of our morale. Fingers crossed.


GK 21. ARAI Shota
DF 17. MAWATARI Kazuaki
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto

GK 24. ANDO Shunsuke
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki (on for WAKIZAKA 78')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for CHINEN 78')
MF 32. MITOMA Kaoru
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro (on for HASEGAWA 90+2')

CHINEN (Frontale) 15' 1-0
WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 61' 2-0


(Three lots of highlights this time, probably pretty much all the same!)

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