Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kawasaki Frontale v Jubilo Iwata

J.League Division 1: Sat, 16th May 2009

Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 0 Jubilo Iwata

Venue: Todoroki Stadium
Attendance: 16,329

Frontale maintained their impressive home form and kept their first clean sheet of the season in Saturday's victory over Jubilo Iwata.

Jubilo can count themselves a little unlucky. They defended manfully and kept the home side's three-man attack at bay for 80 minutes. But a momentary lapse in concentration allowed Juninho to break the deadlock and Chong Tese added a second at the very death.

Sekizuka's selection problems at the back were compounded by Yokoyama having to serve a ban for accumulating 4 yellow cards. Ito was rushed back from injury to fill in on the left, while Kikuchi and Igawa continued their partnership in the middle.

With Vitor Junior also serving a suspension, the out-of-favour Yamagishi was given a chance to impress in his preferred midfield role. He showed what he can do when afforded the luxury of time and space with an exquisite first-half cross that Chong Tese wastefully headed over. But otherwise, he did little to persuade Sekizuka or the fans that he has much to offer.

Yamagishi was eventually replaced by Yuji Kimura, making his first-team debut. Kimura, an attacking midfielder who impressed in the J.Satellite League last year, almost made the perfect start to his J1 career. Late in the game, he was first to react to a deflected shot and neatly tucked the ball into the corner of the net. Unfortunately, he was judged to have been offside, although going by the (albeit typically unhelpful) replays, it must have been tight.

By that stage Frontale were already a goal up. Poor defending at the back post had allowed Juninho to steal in and nod a Mori cross past a helpless Yoshi Kawaguchi. The overall quality of Frontale's balls into the box had been pretty horrendous, so one can only assume the Jubilo defence was as surprised as everyone else at the accuracy of Mori's delivery.

Chong Tese gave the scoreline a bit of gloss in the final second of time added onto injury time. Suggestions that the referee might have a cheeky wager on Chong to win this year's golden boot are of course scandalous and not to be taken seriously.

A win or a draw against Pohang on Tuesday followed by a result in the "Tamagawa Classico" next Sunday will leave Frontale heading into the international break with a healthy platform to build on when competition resumes towards the end of June.


GJB said...

Never a dull, or even predictable, moment with Frontale - guess that's why we love 'em! Terrible form, only to beat Saitama away, then, just when I was about to suggest they give up defending altogether and play Kawashima as a rush-goalie, the first clean sheet of the season.

manyar said...

It's been a long time coming, but that clean sheet is certainly cause for celebration. That said, the Jubilo front men deserve as much credit as the Frontale defence. (An 11-man attack may still be the best long-term solution!)

Would be nice to see them string a few of those together now. Amazing how much easier it is to pick up points when you don't let in any goals!

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