[Match Report] Kashima Antlers vs. Ventforet Kofu

[Live Match Reports.  So, hit that refresh button to get up-to-the-second info!!!]
Note: Mainly focusing on the Urawa Reds vs. Gamba Osaka match at the time. So, I will pick up from the second half of this match.

Kashima Antlers vs. Ventforet Kofu

Pre-Match

8th place Kashima Antlers face bottom-feeders Ventforet Kofu at home.

Kashima Antlers:

Antlers are coming off a hard0earned win away from home against Vegalta Sendai.  In this match, Caio looked much more deadly than in the match against Vissel Kobe, and this is reassuring for Antlers fans.

Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1
Player I focused on: CM Gaku Shibasaki – The young captain’s playing style has been evolving every week this season (something I mentioned in a previous post).  One thing that he needs to add to his game is to consistently impose his presence on the match: making killer passes, making key tackles, creating and finishing scoring opportunities.  At the moment, he does make an influence in every match; however, it is not consistent enough throughout 90 minutes.

Ventforet Kofu:

Starting Formation: 5-3-2
Player I focused on: MF/FW Takuma Abe – He is the player who creates chances; however, his team cannot convert these chances into goals.  He has high determination and work rate, so he creates problems for other teams.  His combination play and chemistry with his strikers needs to improve if Kofu want any chance win this match.  Playing as the advanced forward.

1st Half Highlights:

First half 22nd minute Substitution: Kashima Antlers – DF Kazuya Yamamura on for Naomichi Ueda
Ueda got a cut on his head and received treatment, but the bleeding did not stop so he had to be substituted.

Ventforet Kofu – GK Sogahata runs out of his goal to close down an on coming Kofu attacker, but he misses the ball and ST Ito had a chance on goal, but cannot convert.

Kashima Antlers – Caio takes a good mid-ranged shot from outside of the box, but his shot hits the far post and ricochets straight out.

Kashima Antlers 0 – 0 Ventforet Kofu

2nd Half:

46th minute Substitution: Kashima Antlers – Mitsuo Ogasawara on for Takahide Umebachi

48th minute: Venforet Kofu – GOAL – FW Junya Ito is put through by a perfect high through pass from Takuma Abe, and Ito makes no mistake by drilling the ball past GK Sogahata.  Kashima’s CB Yamamura was caught slightly out of position and did not close down Ito.  Yamamura looked like he slowed down and left the responsibility for stopping Ito to GK Sogahata, which is a very irresponsible decision because I think that Yamamura could have put a body on Ito.

Kashima Antlers 0 – 1 Ventforet Kofu

52nd minute: Kashima Antlers – ST Takasaki puts pressure on Kofu’s GK after a bad back pass.  GK Ogi slides to attempt to clear the ball, but the ball hits Takasaki.  Takasaki tries to turn and get a shot off on the open goal, but the ball is cleared to safety.

First 10 minutes: Kashima has not looked dangerous at all, but Kofu showed that they can take their chances.

57th minute Subsitution: Ventforet Kofu – ST Adriano on for ST Takuma Abe

60th minute Substitution: Kashima Antlters – Yuta Toyokawa on for Taro Sugimoto
60th minute Substitution: Ventforet Kofu – Marquinhos Parana on for Yuki Horigome

62nd minute “Substitution”: 4th Official on for Center Official

71st minute: Kashima Antlers – Toyokawa uses his speed to get by one Kofu defender and looked to get into Kofu’s penalty area.  Another Kofu defender stepped in to tackle Toyokawa, but instead fouls him.

72nd minute: Kashima Antlers – Dangerous free kick from right outside of the penalty area. Ogasawara and Shibasaki stood over the ball, but it was Ogasawara who took it.  His curling shot gets past the wall and looks to be going to the far post, but Kofu GK Ogi makes a fine save.

73rd minute: Kashima Antlers: CB Aoki hits a long ball up to ST Takasaki.  Takasaki uses his height to knock the ball down for CB Yamamura, who stayed up field after Kashima’s corner kick.  Yamamura then takes a shot that goes just over the goal.

74th minute: Kashima’s Aoki gets unintentionally kicked in the face by Kofu’s Adriano.  Aoki is bleeding from inside of his mouth and chin.  Because Kashima has already used all of the their substitutions, they will down one man if the bleeding does not stop and Aoki cannot continue.

79th minute: Ventforet Kofu – After some nice short, quick passes in the midfield, FW Junya Ito is sprung loose on the left flank.  Ito then hits a low cross into ST Adriano’s run into the box.  Adriano, with the goal at his mercy, hits the ball off the crossbar.

82nd minute: Kashima Antlers – After a quick throw in, CM Shibasaki hits a dangerous cross into Takasaki, but the ball is cleared out for a corner by Kofu’s defense.

84th minute: Kashima Antlers – CB Yamamura starts joining the attack as Kashima look to shift to a power play option.

86th minute: Kashima CB Aoki receives a yellow card after head butting Kofu’s captain Yamamoto while jostling for position in the penalty area before a Kashima free kick.  Aoki is lucky not to have been sent off.

87th minute Substitution: Ventforet Kofu – FW Daiki Matsumoto on for MF/DF Yuki Hashizume

88th minute: Ventforet Kofu – Matsumoto is put through on the right flank and he has time and space to see Adriano making a run into Kashima’s penalty area.  Matsumoto aims a low cross to Adriano, and Adriano takes a shot but he again misses a clear-cut opportunity.

90th minute: Ventforet Kofu – Ito picks up the ball and charges up field to launch a counter.  Maruquinhos Parana made a 35 meter run up the field and Ito passes the ball to him.  He takes a shot, but doesn’t strike it right and the ball rolls wide of the far post.

91st minute: Kashima Antlers – CB Yamamura gets a header off inside of Kofu’s penalty area, but it is straight at GK Ogi.

93rd minute: Kashima Antlers – CB Yamamura gets his head on another ball inside of the penalty area, but it is saved again.

95th minute: Ventforet Kofu – Kashima’s Caio picks the ball up and looks to launch a counter, but Kofu’s Inagaki commits a professional foul to pick up his 2nd yellow card of the match.

96th minute: Kashima Antlers – The ball is headed down to Yamamura in the penalty area, but Yamamura’s control is disappointing and the ball rolls out for a Kofu goal kick.

Overall Observations:

1. Kashima’s CB Yamamura looked a bit lost.  This is because he hasn’t played a league match for the past 5 fixtures.  Yamamura is/was a player who was looked at as a future prospect for the full-national team.  However, his slowed development because of his lack of first-team opportunities is hurting him and his team.  To say the least, Yamamura was utterly disappointing this match.

2. In the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half, Shibasaki has been virtually invisible.  As mentioned earlier in this post, he tends to fade in and out of matches and this is a good example of that.

3. Kashima’s Toyokawa is looking menacing when he faces up field.  He is aggressive and has pace to burn, which makes him

4. Kofu played the 2nd half very well against Kashima.  Kofu looked inspired and their players were buzzing around the pitch.  Compared to the Kawasaki Frontale match that I covered, Kofu’s players had direction and purpose in their play today.  Tactically, Kashima’s attack is not as fast and potent as Kawasaki, so this was one factor that gave Kofu an edge because Kofu were able to attack quickly without risk of a quicker counter from Kashima.

5. On the other hand, Kashima looked uninspired and lethargic in the 2nd half.  Only Toyokawa looked like making anything happen.

Player of the Match: FW Junya Ito – Scored the game-winning goal to give Kofu a well-deserved 3 points. He was also very dangerous when on the ball.

Next fixtures (May 6th, May 10th):

Kashima Antlers:

(May 10th) vs. FC Tokyo away

Ventforet Kofu:

(May 6th) vs. Matsumoto Yamaga away

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