2018/4/28 Vissel Kobe 1-2 Kawasaki Frontale
Vissel Kobe 1-2 Kawasaki Frontale
It's always sad to see a football match affected so much by refereeing decisions and this game started off as it was to go on, with a two-footed tackle by Tatsuki Nara on Daiju Sasaki in the opening minutes that could easily have injured the Vissel youngster. A foul was given, the defender was petulant, the referee took no further action. It was to get worse.
Frontale went ahead in the 7th minute when a Yoshito Okubo shot was smothered by Kim Seung-gyu in the Vissel goal, but, with the ball bouncing awkwardly, Shogo Taniguchi got in and poked the ball home before Daiki Miya could react.
The speed of Keijiro Ogawa was causing problems for the away defence and he broke free down the right wing on a long, fast, quick-thinking pass from Kim and was brought down as he was heading inside for goal. The Assistant Referee had a perfect view - only yards away - with the referee a long way back but, as we see so often, the Assistant was loathe to give a decision himself, especially when it may well have meant a red card for the defender. The bemused Ogawa picked himself up and got on with the game.
Let's skip ahead to another controversial moment, in the 53rd minute a long clearance by Kim found space for Ogawa and as the diminutive speedster advanced into the area he was taken down by Shintaro Kurumaya for a penalty kick. Except, no, it wasn't given. With the Assistant Referee with a perfect view, and the referee much, much further, again the Assistant looked to his sempai for guidance and gave nothing. The bemused Ogawa picked himself up and got on with the game. Haven't we heard that somewhere before? Perhaps the Vissel players need to lower themselves to the level of some other teams and start complaining, loudly!?
Vissel continued to pressure the away goal, Jung Woo-young then hit the bar with a shot from distance as Vissel started to come more and more into the game and, finally the breakthrough came in the most spectacular fashion with Hirotaka Mita scoring a goal-of-the-season contender, volleying home in textbook fashion after Theerathon's left wing cross was half-cleared.
The referee then added insult to injury by deciding that Jung had fouled Yu Kobayashi off the ball - in the kind of clash that had happened all over the field numerous times, the Korean coming across his man to ensure he couldn't get through to the ball which was long gone anyway - an obstruction at most, but Kobayashi went down as if he had been shot and Jung took an early bath after seeing a second yellow card. Kobayashi then sprung up, as soon as the card was shown. Then proceeded to score the winning goal against the run of play. Vissel deserved more.
With five changes made to the team it was good to see the depth of the squad and the continuing growth of the youngsters. The future is bright for this squad.
Team - Kim, Ogawa (Wellington, 63), H.Watanabe, Miya, Theerathon, Mihara (K.Watanabe, 76), Jung, Mita, Podolski, Sasaki (Fujita, 67), Otsuki
78' Hirotaka MITA