Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Vs Yokohama F Marinos (away) 4/12/21 J League match 38

Yokohama F Marinos 1 - 1 Kawasaki Frontale

So the league campaign is over for 2021 and you’ve got to say it has been a bit of a success again. Sadly we weren’t able to get what I think I termed a few years ago, the ‘super title’. Sure we won the league, and conceded the least goals but were pipped to the post in the goals scored column by our noisy neighbours and opponents on this occasion YFM. Thanks a lot FC Tokyo for ruining that part for us when you shipped eight against them a few weeks ago. They also almost ruined Damiao’s chance of taking the Golden Boot just for himself by allowing old-before-his-years (in this case from the point of view of looks rather than wisdom), very speedy slaphead Daizen Maeda to score three against them. Before the game I said it didn’t seem right that if two players finished level it would be given to the one with most assists (quite generous considering Damiao was miles ahead in that respect). After the game, on finding out I was wrong and it could be shared I decided that it definitely should go on assists in the event of a tie-break. Coming into this game, I was naturally quite up for us winning comfortably and securing the ‘super title’ and Damiao’s Golden Boot. At the same time, I did think that it probably would be a draw. I suppose many people thought this might be a high scoring exciting game showing the best that the J League had to offer from an attacking point of view. Always looking to surprise, ‘chaos energy J League’ had other ideas and it was instead a wonderful display of not really being able to hit the target very often with both sides only managing four shots on target each. But it was quite exciting though. Well, exciting in the way that I had to run to the bar a touch early before half time for something to steady my nerves. The second half wasn’t as nerve shredding as the first, perhaps due to the half time alcoholic refreshment or perhaps due to us actually trying to play some football and succeeding at times. But anyway, we’ll deal with that kind of analysis later on (perhaps…). I can probably find some space for it between some cheap shots at the opposition and poor attempts at humour. Ok, here we go with the classic three bullet points.

Us -

Surprise, surprise, the same team and bench again! Although maybe that will be changing for the next match as Kurumaya has been the latest victim of the centre back injury curse. Looks like it might be a knee injury, and perhaps something similar to Jesiel’s as he seemed to land on his knee and at the same time jerk it. He gingerly continued for a couple of minutes (so perhaps it isn’t so bad), before having to go off (so perhaps it is so bad). We hadn’t started particularly well before this early enforced change and it certainly didn’t help settle us down. I should say though that Yamamura stepped up in fine fashion. The first half was a bit of a disaster for us. I would say the midfield were bad, but I don’t think they got a chance to show they were bad as they seemed to be wholly absent. I’d like to think that Hatate was trying to downplay his attractiveness and get any proposed transfer to a team that basically is second in a two team league taken off the table. I really hope for Frontale’s sake that the people who wanted to sign him were watching him for the first time in the first half. From his point of view, I guess I grudgingly hope he can get a transfer if he wants one. Would definitely rather it wasn’t to a team run by a certain ex YFM manager though. We did however manage to prevent them from scoring in a very dodgy first half which is something to be pleased about. But it was a very tired, end of season performance which we can’t afford to repeat in our Emperor’s Cup game. The introduction of Oshima at half time sorted things out a bit and was very welcome. Slightly confused as to why it was Marcinho that gave way though as I thought he’d done alright. Guess Oniki is trying to keep things interesting and if he is going to have the same players starting and the same ones on the bench every week he has to shake things up with some shuffling around of positions and weird subs. Slightly bizarrely the stats weren’t so different between the two halves though. Both teams having a magnificent two shots on target each per half and YFM bossing possession and shots off target. I guess YFM knew this was going to be their last game of the season, and one against their rivals who’d won the league at a canter, so perhaps were playing with less inhibition than we were and perhaps with a bit of anger. It was great to see Damiao get a goal and go ahead in the Golden Boot race and it was a nice finish from a nice cross from Ienaga, who to be honest, hadn’t really done much till that point. Inevitably the interestingly facial-haired yet possibly follically challenged Maeda got one back and it was all square again, prompting Oniki to again spin the random substitution wheel and replace Wakizaka with Chinen. Chinen seemed to be playing on the left wing, which was a surprise. As was the fact that he seemed pretty good at doing so. Hatate had previously moved from the midfield to the left wing and then moved back to the midfield. Another Oniki attempt to confuse anyone watching with a view to signing him by constantly shifting him and making him difficult to locate. The logical next step was clearly to bring on Kobayashi for Hatate. Honestly, with regards to where anyone was playing, your guess is as good as mine at this stage. And then follow this up with Tono coming on for Tachibanada. Leaving Oshima as the only real midfield player on the pitch probably wasn’t going to help us get more possession but we did have a decent crack at scoring a second. Thankfully Sung-Ryong was on hand to stop YFM who had similar ideas and more opportunities. It was all quite exciting and quite nerve wracking. We definitely dodged a bullet in this game as we were horrible for long periods. At the same time, YFM did ride their luck at times and if we hadn’t been so wasteful we could have grabbed a delightfully undeserved win. I’m going to say a draw was a fair result, mainly to attempt to irritate opposition fans. But it did seem to suit both sets of fans to a certain extent I suppose. And the fact that YFM had their end of season ceremony after the game suited us perfectly as we could give our players a clap and then make our leisurely way to the station knowing that we weren’t going to have to endure a really busy station and a really busy train. Cheers!

Them -

Of course I’m not going to praise YFM in this or any blog post so any rival fans reading this, don’t get your hopes up. I guess though rival fans would be reading this mainly for fuel for their irritation fire so hopefully I won’t fail to provide on that account. If we win it’s because we’re great and they’re shit. If they win, it’s because we’re shit. If it’s a draw everyone is shit. I must admit I have some sympathy for their fans who, after losing the admittedly quite Marmite-y (or should that be Vegemite-y? Actually I don’t even know if they use Vegemite in the same linguistic way that Brits use Marmite. And actually is he Marmite-y anyway? Perhaps it’s just me who finds him really annoying… This is a long bracketed section. Had better stop it here otherwise the flow of the sentence will be ruined. Oh, but maybe it is already) Ange Postecoglou who was an absolute god to them, have ended up with Kevin Muscat, who for many seems to be quite an unpopular choice of manager and seems determined to do things his own way, breaking down anything that his predecessor might have built. So what is his own way then? What is Muscatball? From watching this game it seems to be quite a physical approach to football with plenty of kicking and pushing but still retains the whinging arsehole aspects that Postecoglou managed to exude and instill in his charges. Marcos Junior has grown his hair a bit but still seems like he is up for the pub car park fight that his old hairdo and demeanour used to scream. I was disappointed his usually super aggro teammate Theeraton didn’t lose his rag in this game. I had a feeling he would get sent off as he always seems to get mardy when things aren’t going his way. To be honest though, things weren’t not going his way, so maybe that explains it. As I kind of said before, in the way that people often say a game is one that shows the quality of the J League, this was probably a game that perfectly demonstrated that neither team was quite as good as they thought they were. There were numerous fancy flicks and attempted tricks that didn’t come off. I would blame the pitch, but it was so far away that I couldn’t really see if it was bad. We know there’s a running track hidden under that green fake turf. Behind the goal at our end there was a small monument to something, a solitary bare orange traffic cone, denuded even of its reflective stripes, boldly poking up in the spot where four bits of fake green turf met. I should probably spend some time thinking up an amusing reason for this which is better than what I am going to write. But as this is a Frontale Rabbit post and we’re talking about YFM, I’ll plump for the lowest common denominator and say that it is a cheap plastic version of a toba (thing poking out of a Japanese gravestone. I had to look this up. Obviously I didn’t know that word before. I’m probably misusing it), marking the resting place of YFM’s 2021 season hopes which were cremated over a month ago by Gamba Osaka who put YFM out of their misery after a long and painful decline. But I guess they do have the most goals scored thing to cling on to. Once again, thanks a lot FC Tokyo! And the joint Golden Boot winner, who according to YFM fans on Twitter is ‘hard working’. Perhaps he does work hard but that is probably mainly due to him having to do so, in order to make up for giving the ball away time and time again in promising attacks. But he can run fast though. My ‘banter’ is a bit more forthright than usual as the league season is now over, so I don’t have to worry about any jinxes biting me as there is no chance that YFM will have any effect on the rest of our season. Also it is our rivals isn’t it?

Ref -

This was Iemoto’s last game before retiring. We’ve had trouble with him ever since (oh, this will be the last time I have to write this, and it was becoming a regular sentence in every blog post I wrote when he was in charge) some of our fans applauded his announcement away at FC Tokyo. Since then, and full credit to him for consistently being able to do so right to the end of his career, he has been on a mission to even things up and has given us absolutely nothing. He became something of a bête noire for me, the more I worried about him being in charge of a game and giving us nothing, the more it happened. Even so, I did manage a brief clap at the end of the game when he was having his farewell ceremony. I like to think after a run of calamitous English ‘lessons’ leading to my ‘retirement’ my students would do the same. I mean, no one in their right mind wants to be a ref, do they? Perhaps it’s a case a little like that of politicians, in that the best people to do the job don’t want to do it, and the absolute worst people to do the job are attracted to it. Judging by the political situation all over the world right now, I think I’m actually being a bit hard on refs. They are nowhere near as bad as the current bunch of crooks in charge in the UK. But anyway, what I am basically trying to say is that it’s a thankless task really, so well done to refs for giving it a go, but I just wish they didn’t have to be so shit at it. It would be remiss of me not to say that there was no need for YFM to give him one of their shirts at the end of the game as he’d been wearing one all through the match under his his ref uniform. This point is only slightly undermined by us also giving him a shirt, but why let the facts get in the way of a ‘good’ ‘joke’? To be honest, I can’t remember why I have numerous notes on the match on … how can I say this… Iemoto’s parentage and his self love habits. I don’t remember any big incidents to be honest. He did let YFM get away with booting us all over the pitch in the first half though. I think fans of both sides were horrified to see him in charge of the game but in the end, on this occasion, probably neither set of fans had anything much to get too upset about. So I guess this is some kind of nice farewell ‘ref’ section for him. You didn’t imagine it would be more positive than that did you? Guess Iemoto and Murakami both retiring means that two new refs will be getting their chance next year. Blimey… I don’t know what Iemoto is going to do after this, but you can be sure that Murakami will be putting on those leather trousers and animal print shirts, slapping on the fake tan and belting out Maggie May every weekend at tribute nights at ‘live houses’ all over Japan. Ganbatte 'Rod'!

Next up, we have Oita at home next weekend in the Emperor’s Cup semi-final. If we win that, the final is the following weekend. Actually, the final is the following weekend regardless of whether we win or lose! Next up for this blog after that will be some season round-up posts. Given that Oniki has found his side and will change only if he really has to, we can be pretty sure what the majority of the line up will be for next Sunday. So sure in fact that there are numerous squad members who could probably transfer to their new clubs already and others who could start to get on the Bonenkai party bus! Hell could freeze over before quite a few of the squad could even get on the bench. The only question is probably whether Kurumaya will be fit or not. And if he isn’t, who will be the next to be converted to a centre back to take the spot on the bench that Yamamura will probably vacate. We’ll see I guess. Go Frontale!

GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for HATATE 87')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota (on for MARCINHO 46')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for WAKIZAKA 80')
FW 19. TONO Daiya (on for TACHIBANADA 87')
DF 28. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for KURUMAYA 11')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Was a pretty average, if I'm being generous, performance from most and we were up against it. Therefore I have to give it to...
YAMAMURA Kazuya - With out best centre back injured and in Brazil and our left back stand-in centre back getting injured after five minutes it was a big ask for Yamamura to come in and defend our goal against the highest scoring team in the league. He was awesome though! The best I've ever seen him at centre back. Bravo!


LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale) 67' 0-1
MAEDA (Yokohama) 74' 1-1

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