Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 2 Daegu FC
Another ACL campaign kicked off with some hope that we’ll do a bit better this time. Our last attempt was pretty awful in spite of us actually going for it. We were unlucky on a few occasions in that attempt and at times it looked like we were going to also fluff our lines in this game. But we managed to come through relatively unscathed in the end. Already people are bitching about how easy we have it this year in the ACL. We are in a no win situation as far as opposition fans go. If we win, we’ll be told that this year was a freakishly easy competition due to Australian teams pulling out and Chinese teams sending mostly their youth teams. If we fail we will be told that we’re useless for the same reasons. Given that we’ll get criticised both ways, hopefully we can go for the former option and make a decent stab of it. So, onto this game.
We got off to the worst possible start, looking like we were all over the place defensively, conceding within eight minutes and then going on to give away a penalty, (which thankfully Sung-Ryong saved, again!). To be honest, we generously gave them both of these chances as their goal came from a Joao Schmidt ‘assist’ and Jesiel was all over the place in giving away the penalty. Their second goal was equally sloppy from our point of view as the scorer was free in acres of space and then Jesiel helped them by blocking Sung-Ryong’s view. To be honest our usually reliable Jesiel had a bit of a nightmare in this game. Thankfully we and he were doing slightly better at the other end as it was Jesiel who provided the ball for Damiao to do his usual ‘set myself up for an overhead and score another lovely goal’. In the same way that we assisted Daegu with their first, they helped lay the ball off for Damiao for his second after a nice Mitoma run and cross. It was nice to see Joao get the third as it was his first goal for us and particularly good for him after you could have said he inadvertently helped them with their first. Daegu looked pretty comfortable with their tactics of sitting back and hitting us on the break. We really should be used to teams doing this by now! They weren’t helped by a few injuries, but I suspect for some of the ‘injuries’ whilst they were ahead, there was an element of time wasting involved. The camera tracking left to right showed a Daegu player kneeling down tying his laces. When the camera tracked back the same player (I think) was rolling around on the floor. The first time I have seen someone get injured tying their laces. Perhaps it was lace burn or maybe he tied them dangerously tightly. Equally, a Daegu defender seemed to injure himself hoofing a clearance. I think he really was injured though as he seemed to get subbed shortly afterwards.
On to some gripes. The pitch was atrocious. In the Emperor’s cup game I compared the ‘special’ ball to one of those super bouncy balls kids love. This ball seemed to be the same, except this time we were playing with a super bouncy ball on a cobbled town square. Simple passes gamboled along boinging up and down and occasionally shooting off at tangents. We have five out of our six games on the same pitch apparently… And if it’s bad now… Yikes. Also there was some interest on Twitter about what I would say about the ref. I thought he seemed like a nice guy, quite smily and seemed to congratulate Damiao on his spectacular goal. He did also seem to be on a super focussed mission to book players in blue. I don’t have any problem with the penalty he gave. I think that maybe we didn’t get the rub of the green when it came to getting free kicks though. And we got more yellow cards in this match than we did in the previous seven games combined. Guess this is something we are going to have to get used to when we’re in ACL games though. Bit weird that they didn’t get any though. Oh, and is it just me or are ACL refs always from Oman? Presumably this point will be proved completely wrong in our next match. Final moan is that the DAZN feed seems to have been purchased from a local Uzbek Del Boy character who has got his mates in to film and direct the match. A few times the camera didn’t keep up with the ball and there were times when we have a long close up of a player jogging and watching an attack build at a distance from him before a harsh cut to a ball flying wide with no idea who kicked it. Interesting from the point of view of observing the emotions of the players but not exactly great for watching and understanding the game. The commentators seemed to have the same pictures as they seemed genuinely surprised by a harsh cut to Daegu almost scoring as we were watching a replay of a defensive header or something. The commentators also were having quite a lot of trouble identifying our players. But I guess it was late and the camera angle seemed slightly weird. And I suppose there is a few players of similar stature with similar haircuts. That is why they put the numbers on the shirts though, so I would have hoped for a bit more accuracy.
I probably should also mention the news that everyone probably already knows. Ao has left us and transferred to Fortuna Dusseldorf. Fortuna(tely), Oshima is finally back from injury so hopefully this will soften the blow a little. Good luck to Ao. Of course it’s a shame to see him go, but hopefully he’ll do well.
So a good opening win. Daegu are probably our biggest rivals in the this group and of course we have the toughest game of the group to come when we play them away from home (lolz, I had to put this hilarious observation in somewhere. Does seem a bit weird that we have to do home and away in the same stadium only a week apart without even any opportunity to get some money from fans attending, but never mind…). Next up is Beijing Guoan’s youth team (apparently). They got a draw against United City of the Philippines but from the stats it seems that they were comfortably out possessed and out shot in that game. I guess we’ll know a lot more about the teams relative strengths after the next round of matches. And I guess we’ll see quite a bit of rotation in the next match. Or maybe Oniki will save that for a time when we have a few more points in the bank. It’s another 1am kick off so expect another slightly flaky blog post like this one. Go Frontale!
GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 4. JESIEL (Yellow card 28')
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei (Yellow card 52')
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 47. HATATE Reo (Yellow card 45+1')
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 9. LEANDRO DAMIAO
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
MF 3. TSUKAGAWA Koki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for NOBORIZATO 66')MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota (on for WAKIZAKA 63')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
FW 19. TONO Daiya
FW 20. CHINEN Kei
MF 22. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 28. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for MITOMA 87')
HWANG (Daegu) 8' 0-1
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 40' 1-1
CESINHA (Daegu) 47' 0-1
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 51' 1-1
JOAO SCHMIDT (Frontale) 55' 1-1