Kawasaki Frontale sent an ominous warning to the pack chasing them on Matchweek 10 of the 2020 J1 season, by effectively dismantling Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 6-1 at the Sapporo Dome on Saturday. Toru Oniki’s men displayed a ruthless, relentless, and merciless display of football as they pick Consadole apart in the match’s second half to extend their unbeaten run in the league to ten matches.
Despite the lop-sided nature of the final scoreline, Kawasaki initially were unable to break through Consadole in the first half, with Consadole goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno doing well to deny two chances from Leandro Damiao during the first 30 minutes of the match. The men from Kanagawa Prefecture eventually took the lead in the 34th minute though, after a free-kick from Yasuto Wakizaka was headed home by Shintaro Kurumaya.
Consadole responded almost immediately after going a goal down. Thai international Chanathip Songkrasin almost drew the scores level in the 38th minute, only for his powerful shot from the edge of the box to graze the Kawasaki crossbar.
During the interval, with his team 1-0 up, Kawasaki head coach Oniki decided to introduce both Kaoru Mitoma and Ao Tanaka into the mix. The former’s introduction into the game proved to be a decisive one as the 23-year old midfielder doubled Kawasaki’s lead in the 49th minute. Having scored a brace in Kawasaki’s 2-2 draw with Nagoya Grampus in midweek’s J.League Cup action, Mitoma continued his scoring form in this match, excellently receiving a through ball from Miki Yamane and beating Sugeno with a well-taken shot.
Brazilian striker Damiao finally got his goal in the 55th minute, taking advantage of a skirmish within the Consadole penalty box before pouncing home the ball into the empty net to make it 3-0 Kawasaki.
A powerful shot from within the Consadole penalty box in the 63rd minute made it 4-0, with Mitoma completing his brace. Reo Hatate, who had been impressive throughout the match, was credited with the assist having brought the ball all the way into the Consadole defense before squaring it towards Mitoma.
Consadole could at least salvage some degree of pride in the 78th minute after an excellent counterattacking play from both “Messi Jay” Chanathip and half-time substitute Jay Bothroyd. The two Jays combined excellently to score Consadole’s consolation, with former SCG Muangthong United man Chanathip laying the ball off to former Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers man Bothroyd, who scored his first goal of the season for the Northeners.
However, Oniki had brought on talismanic striker Yu Kobayashi before Bothroyd’s goal and the veteran striker soon showed his class during the closing stages of the match. The 32-year old took advantage of some slack defending from Consadole and beat Sugeno on a one-on-one battle in the 86th minute to make it 5-1, before he completed the rout for Kawasaki with the last kick of the match, taking advantage of a cross from Hatate to tap in Kawasaki’s sixth.
The 6-1 win solidified Kawasaki’s position at the J1’s summit, with Oniki’s men well-poised to inch themselves closer to their third J1 title in four years.
Meanwhile, at the Ajinomoto Stadium, Sei Muroya’s swansong for FC Tokyo ended on a sweet note after a Leandro goal ensured that the Gasmen edge out Nagoya Grampus 1-0. Muroya, playing his last match for FC Tokyo before moving to 2.Bundesliga side Hannover 96, played the entire 90 minutes of the match and was given a guard of honor by his teammates after the match. The 26-year old right-back departed from Tokyo almost immediately after the post-match farewell ceremony and he will link up with Japan international Genki Haraguchi at Hannover.
Matchweek 10 also saw Oita Trinita ending their 5-match losing streak in a gritty 1-0 win over defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos at the Showa Denko Dome. Tatsuya Tanaka’s 68th minute goal ensured all three points for the Turtles, which left Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama side utterly stunned.
Yokohama’s city rivals Yokohama FC had a field day on Saturday, racing to a quick 4-0 lead at the NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Stadium before staving off a fightback from Shonan Bellmare and hanging on for a 4-2 win over the men from Hiratsuka. Former Albirex Niigata man Leonardo scored the winner as Urawa Red Diamonds edge out Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Saitama Stadium 2002, while Cerezo Osaka kept their sights on Kawasaki as they moved to 2nd place thanks to a 3-1 win away at Kashiwa Reysol. Last but not least, both Vegalta Sendai and Shimizu S-Pulse played out a drab 0-0 draw.
Cerezo’s city rivals Gamba Osaka were scheduled to play Sagan Tosu this weekend, however with their opponents temporarily shutting down operations due to a COVID-19 outbreak within their premises, Gamba can afford to have a weekend’s worth of rest.
Sunday’s Matchweek 10 action sees Kashima Antlers locking horns with Vissel Kobe at the Kashima Soccer Stadium, in a repeat of last year’s Emperor’s Cup final.