East Asia Japan

Frontale Blitz Tokyo to End Gasmen’s Perfect Start

Krishna Sadhana

Football Tribe SEA Editor


The latest edition of the Tamagawa Clasico turned out to be a one-sided affair as FC Tokyo were utterly humiliated 4-0 at their own Ajinomoto Stadium by Kawasaki Frontale on Wednesday night. A brace from Tatsuya Hasegawa ensured that Toru Oniki’s Kawasaki side recorded a fourth straight Tamagawa Clasico away win while at the same time ended FC Tokyo’s perfect start to the season.

Coming into Wednesday’s J.League 1 Matchweek 3 encounter, FC Tokyo were in high spirits as they have won their two previous matches – a 3-1 away win at Shimizu S-Pulse prior to the COVID-19 suspension and a hard-fought 1-0 win away at Kashiwa Reysol. Wednesday’s Tamagawa Clasico marked the first time FC Tokyo hosted a home game this season and despite playing at an empty Ajinomoto Stadium, Kenta Hasegawa’s Gasmen were determined to get their third straight win at their own backyard.

Kawasaki were also unbeaten so far this season, however they were forced to a 0-0 draw at their Todoroki Athletics Stadium by Sagan Tosu prior to the suspension. Oniki’s men went back to winning ways once the J1 restarted, winning 2-1 over Kashima Antlers at the Todoroki.

And while FC Tokyo made some forays into the Kawasaki defense during the early stages of the first half, it was the visitors from Kanagawa Prefecture who drew first blood. In the 16th minute, Leandro Damiao received a throw-in from Kyohei Noborizato, allowing the Brazilian to set up Ryota Oshima with the ball. 27-year old Oshima fired off a right-footed shot that bounced off the crossbar and into the goal, much to the bewilderment of FC Tokyo goalie Akihiro Hayashi.

Seven minutes after Kawasaki’s opener, the visitors doubled their lead through Damiao. The former SC Internacional and Santos player managed to beat Hayashi with a well-taken backheel from close range, making it 2-0 Kawasaki. With his team now two goals down, FC Tokyo head coach Kenta Hasegawa immediately gathered his players in the water break that ensued after Damiao’s goal and gave them some food for thought.

However, it seems that Kenta’s pep talk had little effect to the shellshocked Tokyo players as five minutes after Damiao’s backheel goal, Kawasaki added their third of the night. Brazilian striker Damiao once again became provider as he passed a short ball to Tatsuya Hasegawa, who finished off an excellent attacking move from Kawasaki with a close-ranged shot that slid past Hayashi. 3-0 Kawasaki and the visitors are cruising their way towards all three points.

In a move of desperation, Kenta decided to throw Adailton into the mix replacing Yojiro Takahagi, hoping that the former Jubilo Iwata player would help FC Tokyo in chasing an increasingly hopeless game.

The Gasmen’s misery were confounded in the closing stages of the first half, when Tatsuya bagged his brace to make it 4-0 Kawasaki. With the visitors four goals to the good, the referee blew for half-time shortly afterwards, ending 45 minutes of football that the FC Tokyo players would surely want to forget sooner than later.

The second half did not produce any further goals, however Kawasaki did came close to making it 5-0 a couple of times. FC Tokyo, on the other hand, barely troubled the visitors in the second 45, capping off an abysmal performance that blemished FC Tokyo’s perfect start to the season. The match ended 4-0 for Kawasaki and Oniki’s men would surely make their way across the Tama River in a festive mood with all three points and the Tamagawa Clasico bragging rights rightfully theirs.

Meanwhile, there was late drama at the NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Stadium as defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos secured their first win of the season, edging out a 3-2 thriller over Shonan Bellmare. Former Urawa Red Diamonds, Renofa Yamaguchi, and Oita Trinita striker Ado Onaiwu bagged his first J1 goal for Yokohama as he scored the match’s decisive goal in the 87th minute.

Late drama also made itself known at the Hiroshima Big Arch as a 94th minute winner from substitute Kazushi Mitsuhira ensured that Oita capped off a remarkable comeback as they went from 1-0 down at half-time to stun hosts Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 at full-time.

Veteran striker Shinzo Koroki celebrated a century of goals as Urawa edged past hosts Vegalta Sendai 2-1 at the Yurtec Stadium, while the battle of the promoted teams saw Yokohama FC stun Kashiwa Reysol 3-1 at the Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium – Yokohama FC’s first top flight win since December 1st 2007 when they beat Urawa 1-0 at home on the final day of the 2007 J1 season.

Kashima’s atrocious start to the season continues as Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo left the Kashima Soccer Stadium with a 2-0 victory, which saw Musashi Suzuki continuing his scoring form for the Northerners. Meanwhile, at the Ekimae Real Estate Stadium, former FC Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta led Vissel Kobe to a 1-0 victory over hosts Sagan Tosu, with Iniesta providing the assist for Douglas’ winning goal.

Nagoya Grampus fought back excellently against Gamba Osaka, having been a goal down early into the first half, the Aichi Prefecture-based side scored twice to turn things around. However Gamba had other things in mind and Kazuma Watanabe scored an injury time equalizer to force a 2-2 draw. Last but not least, Gamba’s city rivals Cerezo Osaka continued their 100% start to the season as they battle out a hard-fought 2-0 win over Shimizu at the Yanmar Stadium.

With Matchweek 3 all done and dusted, Cerezo continue to sit comfortably in the summit of the 2020 J1 table thanks to their 100% start to the season, winning all three of their games so far. Kawasaki and Urawa were second and third respectively, while Sanfrecce rounded off the top four. Kashima remained rooted to the bottom of the league table with zero points, while fellow winless sides Shimizu and Shonan rounded off the bottom three.