Monday 7 December 2020

Vs Shimizu S Pulse (away) 5/12/20 - J League match 31


Shimizu S Pulse 2 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale

Away at Shimizu is always a fun trip and this year was no exception. Away trips this year have been quite different though and again this proved to be the case in Shizuoka. At least at Shimizu, unlike Oita, we were allowed some drums this time. A Shimizu game without drumming would be a very strange thing. But drumming with no singing is still a bit strange and particularly for us on this occasion as we were unable to get tickets in the usual away area. Instead we were downstairs below the regular away area in a mixed seating zone. At times we had a bit of a clap, but even though Frontale fans were very much in the majority in this area, the fact that it was mixed meant it felt a bit cheeky to get too involved with any clapping. There were quite a lot of announcements on the tannoy reminding us that this was a remote cheering game, so we were not to get too excited by the recordings of Shimizu chants that were being played and keep ourselves under control. Which was more difficult than I would have expected, given that this was a total dead rubber, with neither team having anything in particular to play for. Of course, we are probably still looking at setting an unbeatable season points total (even though we already have beaten the current record with our current haul). Also, we have an opportunity to beat the one (34 game) season goal scoring record. I believe we need 85 to tie this but a quick google can’t confirm this. So we have three games after this one to score five more goals so that’s something to aim for. Also, Mitoma is one goal off of being the joint highest rookie season top goal scorer. Apparently, any penalties will be handed to him for the rest of the season and I guess he’ll be spending as much time as possible on the pitch. Perhaps with breaking these records in mind, Oniki named what looked to be a pretty strong side. Strangely though, there was no place for local lads Oshima and Hasegawa. In any case, it looked like we were going for it. Didn’t completely turn out as we might have expected though! Winning the league so early has been magnificent and lovely. Unfortunately our dominance and the lack of relegation this season seems to have emboldened teams and we now clearly have a target on our back, with teams determined to beat the runaway champions. This certainly seemed to be Shimizu’s aim and they came pretty close to doing it. It was lovely to see them give us a guard of honour as we entered the pitch. Apparently it was a J League first so well done to them. In exchange, we handed them a pretty soft opening goal so I guess it was all fair in the end.

We actually started pretty well I thought, with loads of possession, but maybe the signs of what was to come were there to see from early on as we couldn't get much further up the pitch than just inside their half. If I could easily think of the name of a Brazilian beer I would insert that name in the middle of the following sentence. ‘Taniguchi and Jesiel looked like they had overindulged in the Premium Malts’ and the ------ in the break in between winning the title and this match.’ Their passing out of defence was shocking and it was a misplaced Jesiel pass that lead to Shimizu’s first goal. In fairness though, both of them also made crucial goal line clearances to prevent us getting absolutely destroyed by the team that is currently sitting second bottom of the J League. Shimizu’s leaky defence appears to have been repaired to the extent that only a super powered attack can penetrate it which is a bit annoying for us really but definitely made for an exciting game. We did manage to break through with a lovely goal from Ao after a nice Damiao back heel assist. Aside from this though it was a case of us having loads of possession and not being able to really get anywhere near seriously challenging their keeper, who I seem to have taken a bit of a dislike to, perhaps given his previous club or perhaps due to the fact that he looks more like an Essex wide boy builder rather than a professional athlete. Fair play to him and his defence though, as they did a pretty good job of stopping us for most of this game. Whilst we dominated possession, Shimizu dominated the squeaky bum chance count. Sorry, that’s a not particularly pleasant metaphor to use, but we were definitely living dangerously due to some very out of sorts defending. Shimizu’s second goal shouldn’t have stood as far as I am concerned. But, I have to admit that recently I have no idea about the handball rule and the red card rule and possibly plenty of other rules. Far better to moan about the refs than study the rules though, eh? I do know that apparently if your arms are not welded to your body when you’re defending in the box and the ball hits your arm it’s now a penalty. At least I think I know that. So, I reckon by that rule I’d say that if a striker controls the ball with his hand in the box the goal shouldn’t stand, regardless of any intent. But you can’t really complain about us losing at half time to be honest so I’m not going to whinge. The fact that we have already won the league helps me to be a bit more philosophical about everything. And the fact that Shimizu is a team that I quite like. But, this is another occasion we’ve conceded two goals to a team who is struggling, so that’s a bit weird.
Certainly our defence was not helped by the fact that Nobori had to leave the pitch due to what looked like a back problem to me. In a challenge with a Shimizu player he seemed to twang something and kicked the ball off the pitch whilst being unable to stand up straight. Bizarrely, considering how many times we’ve had a left back on the bench that we haven’t needed to use this season, the one game where we needed one was the one where we had pretty much no cover in that position. So we ended up bringing on Hatate and playing him there. He did his best, but clearly he’s not a defender. I’m not sure what I would have done in Oniki’s position to be honest. Someone suggested putting Morita there, but I don’t really like it when he’s at right back so playing him even more out of position might not have worked any better I think. Perhaps Ao could have gone there. It seems like he can play anywhere recently. Thankfully it seemed that Nobori was back upright by the end of the match, but I wonder if we might see Kurumaya there for the rest of the season. Shimizu did a great job of pressing and hurrying our out of sorts and out of position defence and we were really wobbling. At the other end of the pitch, of course Elsinho had a good game. It’s not exactly a wildly controversial statement to say that I think we should have kept him. But I don’t want to take anything away from Yamane who’s had a great first season with us (and scored the equaliser! Thankfully someone had a decent shot!). Elsinho, our old number 18 was up against our new number 18, which works well for bloggers looking for cheap comparisons from a numerical point of view, but doesn’t work quite so well given that the two players play different positions. I’d say at the end of the game it was honours even between Mitoma and Elsinho to be honest. On the whole, I guess this was a game that was high on excitement and chances but quite low on actual quality if you want to be harsh. I think our equalizer was fully deserved as we absolutely battered Shimizu for the last twenty minutes or so and had a lot of decent chances. Two goals scored keeps our biggest goal scoring season hopes alive and allowed us to have a nice evening out in Shizuoka afterwards. Losing might have meant an earlier than expected train home I think. Shimizu moaned quite a lot about corners and throw ins not going their way, apparently not wanting to argue about the lack of a handball decision for their second goal. If you watch the replay it does look like one of their players sticks his arm up to appeal for it before realizing what he is doing, which is a bit weird. They also spent quite a lot of time time-wasting when they were ahead (as they had every right to do). The ref Fukushima didn’t seem to notice though and had also apparently forgotten his cards in this game, as he wasn’t interested at all in Valdo attempting to smash the ball out of the stadium to kill a bit of time. Don’t take all this the wrong way though. I have no problem with Shimizu and the game finished with the right result. I’m just writing the usual things I write on here. I would say we need to buck up our ideas in the next game. But of course the truth is we actually don’t need to do so as the title is won already. I wondered if we would go full on to try and complete the season with as many points and goals as we could or relax a bit and give some of the unused and less used players some pitch time. It seems like we went for the former but the result of that decision was more what would be expected from doing the latter. So, next game, do we stick or twist? I wouldn’t mind a bit of a shuffle. I want to see Harada and Kamiya. And more Miyashiro. I also want to see loads more goals and three more victories. So maybe I’m being a bit greedy, but if you don’t ask or hope, maybe you don’t get. One final stupid observation, and let’s be honest, a blog post on here wouldn’t be complete without one. I enjoyed the fact that the young lad carrying the ‘watch out for flying balls’ sign during warm up got hit by a flying ball. He had a giggle about it which is why I felt like I could enjoy the moment too. Well done young man!

So next up is another away trip next weekend. We’re off to Sagan Tosu, the only remaining team in the league that we haven’t beaten this year so there’s another little bit of pressure on us to try to tick off another arbitrary task on our season to-do list. Would be nice if we could win and score quite a few goals. That’s what this blog has descended to now. Stating the completely obvious. I always enjoy Sagan Tosu away and hopefully this year will be no exception. Sadly, given the current lack of a Spanish influence there, I guess they won’t have the Patatas Bravas anymore. Damn… Go Frontale!
(As a late addition, I’ve now heard that both Oshima and Kurumaya are injured for a few weeks, so that explains some of the selection questions I guess. But makes quite a lot of the points made in this post kind of stupid but I’m too lazy to rewrite it. It also throws up a bit of a headache for Oniki as unless Nobori makes a fast recovery we will be heading in to the next few games with no left backs. It seems that Kamiya has played left back before, but I wonder if Oniki is willing to risk him making his debut slightly out of position. Other than him, I guess it’s going to be one of the left sided attackers or perhaps one of the defensive midfielders. Something to ponder. But then again, maybe Nobori will be fine.)


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG 

DF 13. YAMANE Miki




MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa


FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro


FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru


GK 27. TANNO Kenta 


MF 14. NAKAMURA Kengo (on for WAKIZAKA 58')

FW 19. SAITO Manabu (on for IENAGA 77')

MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto

MF 30. HATATE Reo (on for NOBORIZATO 18')

DF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for JESIEL 77')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

No one really stood out to be honest. Well, stood out in a positive way I mean. As these man of the match awards are getting increasingly random, lets give it to…

MOUNT FUJI - first time I’ve been to Shimizu away and actually been able to see it.


CARLINHOS (Shimizu) 11' 1-0
TANAKA (Frontale) 21' 1-1
RENATO (Shimizu) 40' 2-1
YAMANE (Frontale) 89' 2-2


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