Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Vs Sagan Tosu (home) 7/5/23 J League match 12

Kawasaki Frontale 1 - 0 Sagan Tosu

Another game for us when it was absolutely pissing it down. Unlike in Fukuoka where I was fully expose to the elements, on this occasion I was thankfully undercover in my usual seat. That’s probably where the similarities to the Fukuoka game end. Oniki shuffled the pack (slightly) on this occasion finally breaking the three match no changes run. I think it was long overdue, and perhaps he should have changed a bit more if we’re being honest as we looked quite tired again. But I totally get it. He’d been scrabbling around for so long, the long standing way we got wins had totally stopped working and the shuffling of line ups wasn’t changing anything. He got a draw against Urawa, kept the same line up and then got a win. And then another one. So I didn’t think he’d change anything unless it was absolutely necessary. I guess he thought Nobori was tired and you can’t blame him for favouring Marcinho over Tono now he is fit again. Everyone else though is going to keep playing until they physically break down. We now have a bit of a break till our next match with no midweek fixture. So probably the same line-up in the next game.

We weren’t great in this game, but this fixture normally finishes 0-0, so for us to nick a goal and turn the 0-0 into a 1-0 win is very welcome. It was our first home win in the league since…. October 29th! Bloody hell! I know the last season finished early but this really does hammer home quite how bad we’ve been this year. But now that’s three wins in a row, right? Well, yes it is, but of those three wins, aside from away at Fukuoka they’ve been fairly tight. At Kyoto it took us till the 94th minute. In this game we had loads of shots but missed plenty of good chances. Yeah we hit the woodwork on three occasions (I think), but their keeper only had to make four saves in the whole game. Marcinho looked very dangerous in his approach play, but seems to have lost his shooting skills a bit. Hopefully they’ll be back soon. Apart from when we hit the woodwork, I can’t remember anyone else having a decent chance, which almost certainly says more about my memory than anything else. The club stats said Seko had the most shots (4) and he went off at half time. I guess those shots were at the other end of the pitch, but I don’t remember them at all. Not saying this wasn’t a fun match to watch. My notes say ‘kind of entertaining but nothing really happening’ and I think that nicely sums things up. Our new tactics seem to be to go quite direct, playing some lovely long balls out to the wings, starting some very exciting attacks. Oh and then as soon as we get to the opposition’s penalty box, immediately slowing things down, which seems like a bit of a waste of time and negates any benefit of the initial directness. And then after we scored, we really shut things down. I was astonished when I saw the stats that showed we had almost 3/4 of our shots in the first half and that we only had five shots in the second half. Given that we’d hit the woodwork twice before we scored in the 52nd minute, this does reinforce the feeling that we spent most of the second half hanging on to what we had, the final 40 minutes of the game resulting in no more than two shots for us, none of which were on target (if my stats are right). We definitely were wasting time in the second half with lots of this being done (legitimately) by Kamifukumoto and with us trying to keep the ball by the corner flag for most of the final ten minutes. Not exactly confidence inspiring. But yeah, this is a fixture we struggle in and we managed to win. And the players must be more tired than I am, and I’m pretty tired. So on the whole, a thumbs up, I suppose.

Nothing much to say about the ref again (I think there was nothing much to say about him the last time either), which I guess means he’s a good ref. Not a lot to say about Sagan Tosu either. I quite like them as a club so will avoid making any arsey comments about them. I know that’s what some people come here for, so I’m sorry if you’re disappointed, but I suspect there will be plenty in the next post.

Next up, the Tamagawa Classico and praise the lord, even though it’s the away fixture, we don’t have to go to Chofu for it! But curse the lord, it’s at the National Stadium instead, a stadium wholly unsuited for football and quite unsuited for having a good time. This time we’ll be in the away end, unlike my previous two experiences there, but I suspect the view is equally bad there too. FC Chofu have had an up and down season with their last game being a significant down. Hopefully they will fail to bounce back and we can compound their misery. I’m not wholly confident that will happen though. Fingers crossed it will!

DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma (Yellow card 74')
DF 29. TAKAI Kota 
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento (on for WAKIZAKA 78')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota (on for SEKO 46')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu(on for IENAGA 78')
FW 17. TONO Daiya (on for MARCINHO 68')
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (on for MIYASHIRO 86')
DF 31. YAMAMURA Kazuya

My Frontale Man Of The Match
There has been one big constant in our recent turnaround and that has been great performances from the player who I’m giving this to, who has basically made himself undroppable and is now keeping our captain out of the team. It’s got to go to…

JOAO SCHMIDT - again, just great. Always involved and on this occasion almost scored too. 

WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 52' 1-0

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