Kawasaki Frontale 5 - 0 Sapporo University
I’m sure avid readers of this blog if there are any will have been excitedly waiting to see quite how I could get all moany about this game. Given our form leading into the game, it had potential banana skin written all over it. We’ve been awful recently and we have a habit of toiling against lower league opposition in the Emperor’s Cup. What a surprise it was then when we took the lead early on and didn’t look back. The fact that it was so comfortable probably says something about quite how out of the ordinary this season is compared to recent years. The first couple of minutes of the match made it look like we might be in for a tough evening as Sapporo came racing out of the traps and it was a bit end to end. But that turned out to be the extent of their powers and after we’d taken the lead they faded and it became a real mismatch. It’s quite difficult to write anything meaningful about this game as it was so one-sided. Because of this, I’ll just go with some comments on a few players and that’ll do. I thought I’d have to describe the goals as the JFA are notoriously slow to put up the Emperor’s Cup highlights, but I’m shocked to see they’ve done it already. So that’s saved me some work.
Matsui started at right back and did really well I thought. He looked very comfortable on the ball and I noticed him a lot more than I did when he was playing on the left (I think) in the ACL. Whether Oniki thinks he’s a good stand in for Yamane who as I’ve said plenty of times needs a rest, I’m not sure, but I think he could definitely do a job. Seko and Kozuka did well in the midfield. I’m happy to see them both in a bit more of an attacking role as previously both of them have had to play the anchor role. Seko’s goal was lovely and shows what we miss if he plays further back. Kozuka’s finish was nice too, but the best thing about the goal was that it indirectly came from a great cross from Yamamura who was charging down the right wing, even though he was playing at centre back. I’m slightly surprised that Oniki didn’t give Chinen 45 minutes in the middle and then give Kobayashi 45 minutes in the middle in the second half. In fact, Kobayashi didn’t even make it onto the pitch. Also surprising was that Oniki has finally trusted Tanno to play a game. Think he had one save to make so it wasn’t that different from standing around on the touchline but I’m pleased he could get a start. Tono in the Ienaga position was good to see too. He’s done well in midfield but again I can’t really understand why he hasn’t played more in a position that he is more suited for. Einaga was probably the story of the evening, coming on for Marcinho at half time and looking very bright on both the left and the right. It was great to see him get a goal. But it was even greater to see him so at ease on the ball and willing to take people on. He was on my list of potential towel purchases but I think that this performance has made that potential selection a lot less left field than I normally like to make so maybe it won’t be him that I go for. He looks very exciting though. And a quick word for Tanabe, who has been quite forgotten it seems. He came on to replace Sasaki for about a third of the match. I thought he did pretty well but I’m not sure if Oniki will bring him in to give Sasaki a rest, given that everyone is getting a rest at the moment. We’ll see though.
So that will do really. Apart from a quick mention that as usual the JFA’s desire to take over every aspect of the matchday experience in the Emperor’s Cup as usual makes the whole thing feel weird and significantly less slick. And of course you want me to say the music is awful. It was but the transition from acoustic guitar flamenco picking to a Top Gear approved cock-rock guitar solo in a matter of seconds in the same signature Emperor’s Cup theme song was this year’s lowlight. At least it gave me something to write about, I suppose. Next up, a two week break! And then we’ll play another Sapporo team at home but this time it will be Consadole in the league. Hopefully the break will do us some good and this win will give us some kind of probably not wholly deserved morale boost. Fingers crossed. Now, a chance for me to catch up with all of the stuff that I’ve ben neglecting in order to write these blog posts and travel to all these away games. Phew!
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 25. MATSUI Renji
My Frontale Man Of The Match
I probably could on this occasion but it was such a mismatch that it doesn't feel right.