Beijing Guoan 0 - 7 Kawasaki Frontale
A few words on our starting lineup. It seems that Noborizato is injured after he left the pitch in the last game. It also seems that Kobayashi could be joining him on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury and having to be subbed after 34 minutes. Hopefully it won’t be too serious as if we continue at this rate of one important injury every game we could end up with lots of players missing by the time we get back to playing J League fixtures. Of course, I’d like to blame the pitch like I did last time, but to be honest it looked a bit better. Or rather I didn’t notice it being totally horrible. Perhaps this was due to the game being considerably less challenging than our last fixture against Daegu. Also, I was attempting to watch the England Germany game at the same time so there is a real possibility that instead of taking in two games at once, I ended up not really paying any attention to two games at once. It was made all the more confusing by the fact that the two games were going quite different ways when it came to tension and the level of the tactical battle going on. Oniki made a few changes when it came to the starting line up. There were various interpretations of the formation after the line up was announced. Not sure that any of them were right to be honest. Basically we had a centre back pairing of Kurumaya and Yamamura, with Hatate at left back and Taniuguchi in the defensive midfield spot. Because, you know, it’s been a little while since we tried that and yeah, it didn’t work, but why not give it another go, eh? I always moan about it because it never works and once again it didn’t, so I will register a moan about it again. Moan. Perhaps it’s telling than Taniguchi was withdrawn at half time. As we are pretty light on centre backs I would have thought he could have been rested for this game anyway. Perhaps that was Oniki’s thinking when he took him off at half time. I hope though that his thinking was ‘Weird… I tried this same thing again and for some reason once again it didn’t work’. He clearly knows a let more than me about football but please let me know if I’m off the mark with my desire to not see Taniguchi play in midfield. It was nice to see Issaka and Kamiya get some time on the pitch again. This time it was more than a minute for Kamiya and I thought he looked pretty good at left back. But like I said I wasn’t fully focussed so probably only noticed when he was involved in some kind of action. I wonder if he might start the next game if Nobori is still injured. I’ll draw this post to a conclusion with a couple of stupid observations. I liked Chinen’s new sideburns. Surprisingly long. Or at least that’s how they looked. And an observation that the low budget feel to these games and their coverage continued with the fake digital subs boards with day-glo stick on numbers being used. I wonder if they had enough of the larger digits given that they probably don’t usually need to do a substitution where player number 88 is replaced by 68. (These numbers are for demonstration purposes only. Truth and accuracy, as you’d expect from this blog, is abandoned in order to make a stupid joke. The TV director and cameramen still seem obsessed with long lingering shots of managers or players uninvolved with the action whilst the game continues unobserved off screen. I find it adds to the excitement though, as particularly given that there is no crowd reaction noise, literally anything could be happening and you only have the facial expressions of the person being focussed on to use as evidence for a guess as to what’s going on.
Next up we have United City of the Philippines on Friday at 11pm so it won’t be such a late night. They lost 7-0 to Daegu in their second game so I guess we probably won’t be putting out the full strength team and hopefully will see some more squad players getting a chance. Can’t help but feel though that if we started Damiao in this game and the other two games against United City and Beijing Guoan he might end up breaking the all time ACL scoring record that Dejan Damjanovic has just broken. He’s probably about 32 goals behind still, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Certainly we’d be seeing a few more overhead kicks! There is a lingering feeling that this whole tournament group stage is a bit pointless but I have to say, I’m quite enjoying it! Go Frontale!
DF 13. YAMANE Miki