J.League Division 1: Wed, 19th August 2009
|2 - 1|
|MAEDA 29', 40'||JUNINHO 45'
(MORI sent off '87)
Venue: Yamaha Stadium
Frontale once again missed an opportunity to narrow the gap at the top of the table, going down 2-1 away to Jubilo Iwata.
League-leaders Kashima Antlers suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Vissel Kobe, but it was almost inevitable that Frontale would fail to take advantage.
Jubilo dominated the first half, racing into a 2-goal lead before the break. Both goals came courtesy of Ryoichi Maeda, a player who's now notched up 6 goals against Frontale in the last 3 seasons. The first was a fine turn and strike that beat Eiji at his near post. The second was a simple tap in after an inviting cross from the newly re-signed Lee Keun-Ho.
There was something rather lackadaisical about Frontale's performance, with Chong in particular looking out of sorts. But, even 2-0 down, there was an air of expectation that the J.League's comeback kings would turn things around in the second half.
That expectation grew when Juninho pulled one back within a minute of the restart. Frontale's man of the moment played a neat give-and-go with Kengo at the edge of the box before slotting past Yoshi Kawaguchi.
The replacement of Yamagishi with Renatinho at half time was proving effective and Jubilo spent the next 15 minutes on the rocks as Frontale found their attacking groove. There's a terrible, momentum-killing negativity about Yamagishi's play, always favouring the safe backward pass. Renatinho is the chalk to Yamagishi's cheese, occasionally wasting possession or taking the wrong option, but always a threat.
Chong Tese missed two great chances to make things level before Jubilo were able to regroup. But regroup they did, after which it was pretty much a free-for-all with chances coming thick and fast at both ends.
By the end the visitors were playing with 4 up front, but even the kitchen sink couldn't bring about an equaliser. Mori was unlucky to have a goal-bound effort blocked on the line by Kentaro Ohi. And the excellent Kawaguchi saved bravely at the feet of Kurotsu when the substitute was clean through.
Mori stupidly got himself sent off late in the game, lunging in with 2 bookable tackles in the space of 2 minutes. His frustration at Jubilo's keep-ball tactics is understandable, but he should know better by now (although, it must be said, the second one did look a bit soft).
So Kashima's 8-point lead at the top of the table remains intact. One gets the feeling that if Frontale are to claw those points back, it's the reckless, attacking style of the second half rather than the cagey, defensive approach of the first that's going to get them there.