2015/3/14 Kawasaki Frontale 2-2 Vissel Kobe
Vissel Kobe fans saw another interesting team selection by Nelsinho, as the new manager gets to know his players, and tests his options, and the team he sent out today came away with a point but, perhaps felt hard done by that they didn't bring home all three!
Ryo Okui and Michihiro Yasuda were retained at full back, while Shohei Takahashi started alongside Takuya Iwanami at centre back.
Kazuma Watanabe was given the lone striker role, supported by a triumvirate of attacking midfielders in Pedro Junior, Ryota Morioka and Keijiro Ogawa. Ferrugem was brought in to partner Jung Woo Young in the defensive midfield duo.
Vissel keeper Kaito Yamamoto was called into action in the 12th minute to save a long range bullet from Yoshito Okubo, with Yu Kobayashi volleying the "second ball" well over from point blank range.
It was Vissel who made the breakthrough, in the 29th minute, when Pedro Junior slipped the ball to Morioka on the edge of the area who in turn threaded it through to Watanabe who made no mistake with his finish.
From the restart Frontale went for an equaliser had the ball cleared off the line by Takahashi and then away team broke fast, the move ending with Watanabe's header being saved and the striker being denied a second goal in as many minutes!
Okubo finally got the home team level after the break, in controversial circumstances, his goalbound attempt cleared acrobatically by Okui. The full back managed to keep the ball out - or so it seemed - by hitting it up and against the bar. The ball then bounced on the line, clearly still in play. But the goal was given! Oh for goal line technology in the J.League. After Kashima Antlers "non-goal" against Shimizu S-Pulse last week, the powers-that-be must be considering it! Or should be!
Takahashi gave Vissel the lead for the second time in the 72nd minute when his header from a corner flew downward and through the unsighted keeper's legs.
But the home team were level again moments later when a long ball over the top from Kengo Nakamura fell kindly for Renato, whose first touch then set up the strike for a superb half volley to give Frontale a point.
Both teams went for the win in the closing stages with chances ate either end and keepers called upon to keep the scores as they were. The first point of the 2015 season for Vissel Kobe was well-deserved in the end.
Team - Yamamoto, Okui (Takahashi, 75), Iwanami, Takahashi, Yasuda, Jung, Ferrugem (Tanaka, 85), Pedro Junior, Morioka, Ogawa, Watanabe