Saturday 3 July 2021

Vs United City FC 2/7/21 ACL Group stage game 3

Kawasaki Frontale 8 - 0 United City FC 

Another ACL game ticked off and it was another big win. We’d been building up to an ACL push this year but the reality of these group games so far has been a bit of an anticlimax. Not saying they haven’t been fun to watch as they’ve had plenty of goals in them. Just that it seems that 4 out of our 6 group games will just be us going through the motions. I’ve posted previously about the weird state of the ACL this year so I won’t go over that again. But aside from the other game against Daegu, the most challenging aspect of the next week or so might be the club trying to find original content for Instagram and me trying to find ways to describe very one-sided goalfests. I’m sure both the club and I will do our best though. So here we go.

Initially when I discovered our ACL opposition, I was reminded of that particular kind of football fan who has on their Twitter profile that they are a fan of Arsenal and Tottenham or something like that. It’s definitely something that seems a bit alien to most people who follow football. Presumably the person who changed the name of Ceres Negros to United City FC likes both Manchester United and Manchester City and just couldn’t choose one over the other. Who needs the name of the place when you can just go with two team name endings instead? Although I guess we do have Albion Rovers in the UK so I should probably shut up. I like to think of it being something positive though. A city united through football. Feels much better to look at it like that rather than being snippy about it, doesn’t it? I didn’t know much about them before the game (apart from the fact that FC Tokyo just about managed to squeak past them with a 2-0 win in a game that was mostly subaquatic in last year’s ACL), so I was somewhat surprised how steadily they started the game considering their previous two ACL results. For a lot of the game they were pretty solid at the back. This may have been due to the fact that they were playing a back three with another back four in front of them (according to a website line up I saw). They did a decent job of preventing us breaking through and scoring and played the ball out from the back quite well I thought. Well, up till they reached the middle of the pitch where they hoofed it forward or lost it. I guess when you play with so many players at the back you end up with no-one up the front to get the ball when you’re not defending. One other thing that surprised me was that according to the commentators Shrek was playing for United City. I couldn’t spot him and his green skin probably would have stood out nicely against their golden kit. I’m not going to be too snippy about this either as although Katakana doesn’t exactly help with making foreign pronunciations accurate, in English we tend to just do things our own way and be done with it, particularly with place names. Guess that’s an ex-imperialist thing. The similarities between creature and player don’t go very far. According to a very brief internet search ‘Though surly, dangerous, cynical, misanthropic, and venomously cranky, Shrek is peaceful and does not care to hurt anyone, but just wants to live in solitude and be left alone.’ By contrast a Schröck loves to get involved with every challenge on the pitch and have a moan about it being either definitely not a foul (if he committed it) or definitely a foul (if he lost the ball). So I guess he does share some of the crankiness. Anyway, I’m just trying to make some jokes to make this blog post slightly entertaining and I have no feelings of ill will against him or his team.

Talking of fouls, once again we seemed to give away loads more than we received. 26 to 13 in this game, 25 to 5 in the Beijing game. I don’t think we’re a dirty team so I can only imagine that this imbalance is probably due to us having a lot more of the ball and being able to keep it away from opposition tackles. The ref in this match gave absolutely everything though. No sign of any advantages being given and any 50/50 tackle seemed to be given as a foul. Slightly bizarrely they picked up three time as many yellows as we did though, which I guess shows that if they were going to foul, they really went for it. I thought Joao Schmidt’s yellow was ridiculous in this game, but let’s not moan when we’ve won 8-0. I’m trying to be less annoying recently in this respect. Please let me know if I’m succeeding. However, I can’t help but have a little moan again about the TV director. We had a few replays of a couple of yellow cards being given which was shown at the same time as one of United City’s three shots. I wouldn’t have been too happy if I was a United City fan having missed one third of the positive moments of my team. I should also mention the, (I think), once per game occasion of there being an ACL FACT flashed up on the screen. In this game it was perhaps slightly relevant given that it was about the fact that there have been 13 champions from the East zone in the last 18 years (or something like that…). In the previous game against Beijing Guoan the fact was about Korean teams which kind of seemed to be missing the point slightly. I wonder if they couldn’t come up with that many facts and are therefore having to ration them to one per game and shoehorn them in even when they aren’t particularly pertinent. The coverage does all feel a little bit like it’s been handed to the guys who normally do the darts who’ve been told to have a quick watch of another channels coverage of a different tournament and try to do broadly the same thing on their first attempt with only a couple of days to prepare.

A few brief points about us. It seems like Oniki is basically going with alternate teams for alternate matches. This game we were back with what could probably be described as the first team. Sung-Ryong, Yamane and Hatate are playing every game though. No Nobori or Kobayashi in the squad which suggests that they are both still injured. To what extent, who knows? Hatate added another string to his bow in this game as he spent some time at right back. This was a glorious time when we were playing an attacker at right back, a midfielder in defence (Yamamura) and a defender in midfield (Taniguchi). I don’t particularly want to moan about Taniguchi playing in midfield again, but I feel that I have to do it as it’s pretty stupid I think. As I always say, we have now tried him in the anchor role a crazy amount of times, all with the same outcome. Not sure how accurate the widely spouted 'quote' is, but I believe Einstein said something about the definition of insanity being trying the same thing over and over and expecting the outcome to be different. If we were going to give Taniguchi a go there, this was probably the right game in which to do it. But I’m not sure why we are bothering as he’s always pretty bad there and now he’s playing great at the back, why mess with it? One little final dig about this. We had a 90% pass completion rate. I’d say that at least half of the 10% of incomplete passes came from Taniguchi during his time in midfield. This was perfectly summed up by the pass he attempted just before he was taken off, which was a lofted through pass for an attacker to run onto which only just was able to bounce before it left the pitch about 5 metres ahead of the run of the player. It also felt that other players were trying not to pass to him in order not to ruin his confidence. Oniki, leave him at the back please! He’s good there! Oh and a quick mention of the fact that we scored loads of goals and Tachibanada got a hatttrick! Blimey! He’s 4 goals behind Olunga in the scoring charts having played three less games. Come on Kento and make a push for the golden boot! Aside from his three we had a couple from Mitoma, a beautiful one from Oshima, one from Damiao and one from Wakizaka. Nice work guys!

Next up we have United City again. It’s another 11pm kick off and it’s on Monday night. I would imagine we’ll get the other starting line up for that game. Or maybe Oniki will go with a composite based around Taniguchi in midfield and Hatate in goal. The game after is against Daegu so if we win the next two Oniki would be free to do anything he wanted in the final group game knowing we had won the group. Could be exciting. But might be just the same thing again. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But at the same time, it might be worth trying to keep some players injury free as we’ll have a couple of games within a week of us returning from Uzbekistan before we take a one month break. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT (Yellow card 26')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
MF 3. TSUKAGAWA Koki (on for TANIGUCHI 63')
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 46')
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (on for OSHIMA 46')
DF 15. ISSAKA Zain
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki (on for HATATE 73')
FW 19. TONO Daiya
MF 28. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for YAMANE 61')

MITOMA (Frontale) 33' 1-0
OSHIMA (Frontale) 42' 2-0
LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 50' 3-0
TACHIBANADA (Frontale) 56' 4-0
TACHIBANADA (Frontale) 65' 5-0
TACHIBANADA (Frontale) 70' 6-0
MITOMA (Frontale) 82' 7-0
WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 90+2' 8-0

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