Thursday 12 August 2021

Vs Oita Trinita 9/8/21 J League match 23

Oita Trinita 0 - 2 Kawasaki Frontale

As time is fast running out before our next game and as I am bizarrely busy at the moment, this will be a bit of a thrown together in a hurry post. We were back from the ACL and all rested up and ready to go. Apart from the players who were at the Olympics. Oh, and the ones that have left us. Oh, that’s almost the same list… oh…. uh oh…. Although at this stage Mitoma had not officially departed it seemed like it was pretty much a done deal and so it proved to be the day after the game. Not sure about the reason for the timing. Or the reason for the delay. Also not sure why Moriyasu bothered taking Mitoma to the Olympics if he wasn’t going to play him unless he really had to. I guess Oniki has taken the same approach with some of our squad players in the past. I’ll give Oniki the benefit of the doubt about that but for Moriyasu I won’t extend the same courtesy. Quite how a manager is able to get a team’s best ever result in the tournament but still make things end up feeling quite so disappointing, I don’t know. Certainly a unique skill set, but not one that I would like anywhere near a team I supported. Anyway, this is supposed to be about Frontale. Hopefully Hatate will be back with us at the weekend and won’t instead disappear on a plane to Europe to play in a considerably average league. So now, having offended both national team lovers, fans of other team’s players who have gone to Europe, fans or less well known European leagues and also possibly some of our own fans I’ll get on with the post.

Last year we could have won the league here. And that was actually the last time we lost a match. Thankfully this time away at Oita we didn’t have Kasahara as the ref so Taniguchi wasn’t sent off. The last time we were there he derailed our title celebrations by terribly unfairly dishing out what seemed a wholly deserved red card if I remember rightly. Unless you consider the double jeopardy no red card and penalty unless it is dangerous play rule. I have to admit that I am struggling to keep up with the numerous and always further complicating things micro-changes to the laws that seem to happen every month or so. Seems in Kasahara’s case that he was too. But anyway this is all in the past and the only reason for me to bring it up is to say that Kasahara is a useless ref as far as I am concerned. Good to be able to slag off a ref even in a blog post about a game he had nothing to do with!

So far in this post, which I was attempting to write quickly I’ve waffled on about the Olympics and last season’s game at Oita. This might seem strange but I would say it has something to do with the slightly underwhelming nature of this match. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good result when we needed one and I’m particularly delighted we got the three points as YFM stumbled to a 2-2 against Shimizu. I love the schadenfreude of the fact that the ‘Muscat Out’ hashtag has already been wheeled out. Also, it was pretty dominant performance if you look at the shots stats, although not if you look at the possession stats. Aside from the two goals we scored it did feel a bit like we were struggling to get anything much going, which I realise is a pretty ridiculous statement but it did seem that way. We never really looked in any danger and apparently Sung-Ryong didn’t have to save any Oita shots. But we laboured going forward, particularly after Damiao departed the pitch early due to injury. I guess this is Chinen’s time to show us what he can do. I feel like he is a perennially unlucky player who never seems to get things going his way. But with Kobayashi probably not yet fit and Damiao looking to have picked up a strain of some sort it might be Chinen or bust. The good news about Damiao perhaps is that he didn’t go straight down the tunnel, but instead sat on the bench for the rest of the game. And he was ok to walk over and thank the fans at the end of the game. At the same time I can’t imagine he’ll be starting on Saturday against Kashiwa. Add to this the continuing Oshima injuries and the departures of Mitoma and Tanaka and it seems like we have gone from a position of great power into one which is quite significantly weakened. I’m not completely descending into worry and despair yet, but I wonder if we could do with a little bit of reinforcement in some areas. Hopefully if it does come it will be from players who are already in Japan, rather than overseas ones who won’t be available to play for months as we probably need the numbers now rather than later. Saying that, I think we have more than enough attacking players to fill the vacant spots, but given the height and bulk of the majority of them, we might have to tweak the game plan a little. But at the same time Mr. versatile Yamamura has done a more than effective job of playing up front for Cerezo in the past so maybe he’ll be called on there for us in the future. I’m slightly worried by Oniki’s continuing insistence on moving Taniguchi to midfield for a short and usually ineffective period every game though. But I’ve said that many times already. Let’s just hope we get a surprise transfer announcement or two or a surprise return from injury team selection or two.

A few random thoughts and observations to round things off. Ienaga’s new haircut is pretty special. Our support was not, as due to the State Of Emergency our Kazoku support group decided to not attend or drum or lead any kind of support in this game. Although some of them were actually there in the stadium, perhaps in an unofficial capacity, but there all the same, so it seems like we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face. A few brave souls attempted to get some of the usual COVID era handclap stuff going, but understandably given how spread out the fans were, it was a bit like a light trickle of a piss in a typhoon. (Very topical weather reference that, given the location and the weekend!).  It’s all a slightly tricky conundrum to be honest. Tickets for this game were sold before the state of emergency in Kanagawa was announced. As soon as it was, they stopped selling tickets but honoured the ones that had been sold already. I feel like it’s all bit of a mess when it comes to ticket sales and COVID policies to be honest. Buying the ticket for the game is more often than not the last thing to organise when it comes to an away game that is quite far away. Transport and accommodation need to be arranged as early as possible if you’re not loaded. We had flights and hotels booked for an away double header in a few weeks to Fukuoka and Sapporo but have had to cancel them due to there being no away tickets being sold. Our Emperor’s Cup game against Shimizu which is supposed to be with neutral support will now be at Shimizu’s stadium with no away fans so we’ve been scuppered again with a no support away game like we were in the ACL. Of course there are serious questions regarding any travel in the time of COVID. And we were unsure if we should really be traveling. Without wanting to get too political, (although I enjoy whinging politically quite a lot, just not on here), the government seems to have dithered and dallied its way to having no new ideas about what to do, having played all of its not particularly effective cards early. And through us constantly being in a state of emergency, which to all intents and purposes doesn’t look that different from no restrictions life, they have worn down public confidence and tolerance so much that many people are now basically ignoring it. I’m sure I can’t have been the only person to have noticed more maskless people recently in spite of the situation seemingly being worse than ever. But when you consider that in Tokyo there has been only three or four weeks this whole year when it apparently hasn’t been an emergency you can quite understand that there’s a boy who cried wolf thing going on when it comes to people listening to government messaging. And that’s not even mentioning the Olympics and the bubble, which I don’t really understand given that volunteers must have been entering and leaving the bubble area and going home on public transport every day. Perhaps in the end, it was actually safer to be in the bubble and that the huge numbers of overseas visitors were being protected from the Japanese public rather than vice versa. Anyway, no more quandaries about the ethics of attending games as now Kanagawa is in a State Of Emergency there presumably won’t be any possible games to consider the ethics of attending. 

Next up, Kashiwa away in the league on Saturday, (no away fans), and Shimizu in the Emperor’s Cup next Wednesday, (no Frontale fans in the neutral venue which also happens to be the Shimizu S Pulse home stadium). So considering how flat this game felt in the stadium, the next few are going to be even flatter watching on the internet. Let’s hope the players can ignore that flatness and keep this run going. Go Frontale!

GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 75')
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki
FW 19. TONO Daiya (on for WAKIZAKA 75')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for LEANDRO DAMIAO 27')
FW 24. MIYAGI Ten (on for HASEGAWA 75')
MF 28. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for TANIGUCHI 90')

LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 10' 0-1
TONO (Frontale) 77' 0-2
My Frontale Man Of The Match
I thought a few players had decent games. Noborizato looks increasingly important to us every game. Tachinbanada is growing in stature constantly (thankfully given the departing players and injuries), but for me it has to go to…

JESIEL - part of the reason Sung-Ryong didn’t have any saves to make was due to Jesiel stopping everything that came past the halfway line. He sealed this award with a gut busting run up the right wing the length of the pitch in about the 80th minute. Sadly we couldn’t score because hardly anyone could keep up with him in the middle. Gotta love those increasingly common surges out of defence that he does. Bravo!

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