Kawasaki wins close match against Meiji University to advance to the 3rd Round of the 99th Emperor's Cup
04 July 2019
On Wednesday 3 July, 29 second-round-fixtures of the Emperor's Cup JFA 99th Japan Football Championship took place at various locations around the nation. The remaining three fixtures will be played on Wednesday 10.
Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 (1-0, 0-0) Meiji University
At Todoroki Stadium, a match between Kawasaki Frontale (J1) and Meiji University (Tokyo) took place, where the J1 champions took the initiative of the match. While the university side applied aggressive pressure from their front line, Kawasaki effectively evaded the pressure to keep the ball moving. In the 14th minute, SHIMODA Hokuto played a give and go to break into the penalty area before striking a shot. This effort made by Shimoda earned the J1 side a corner kick that led to their opening goal, as CHINEN Kei’s header induced an own goal to give Kawasaki the early lead.
With a goal lead, Kawasaki showed great composure to take control of the match. Their two forwards, Leandro DAMIAO and Chinen both came close to scoring the second goal, but their shots were saved by the Meiji goalkeeper, KATO Taichi. After making the adjustments during halftime, Meiji University added more pressure upfront in efforts to create opportunities in the second half.
In response, Kawasaki brought in NAKAMURA Kengo, who returned from injury for the first time in nearly a month and a half, to add layers to their midfield. While the university side struggled to create any major threats against the J1 side, they increased their intensity level towards the end of the match. A close opportunity to equalise the match came in the 87th minute, when three of the Meiji players responded to a cross delivered from the right side. In additional time, SAKAMOTO Koki responded to a long feed and struck a shot, but his attempt was saved by the Kawasaki goalkeeper.
Meiji University’s final opportunity came in the closing seconds of the match, when the ball found SUGAI Hidehiro unmarked inside the box, but his shot fell short from hitting the target, giving Kawasaki an 1-0 victory along with the ticket to the third round.
On Wednesday 10 July, the remaining three matches of the second round will take place to determine the fixtures for the third round, scheduled on Wednesday 14 August.
Coaches and Players' Comments
ONIKI Toru, Coach (Kawasaki Frontale)
Today, the most important thing was to win the match, so in that sense, our players did a fine job. However, when talking about our overall performance, there is nothing we should be proud about. It was important to carry the ball with confidence, but we showed zero confidence and made the match hard on ourselves. I personally entered the match with very high motivation, and I sent off the players by demanding them to showcase a spectacular performance that can entertain the crowd, but we struggled mightily against an under-category opponent and I feel like our decision makings were being greatly affected by the whole circumstance.
NAKAMURA Kengo (Kawasaki Frontale)
With our opponent entering the match fully prepare with all the motivations in the world and a “nothing to lose” mentality, this was certainly a difficult match for us. I have been playing as a professional for 17 years, but the first match of the Emperor's Cup is always a tough one. However, we are a team that is always expected to win matches under any given circumstances. And we must become a team that can comply to those expectations at all times. In many aspects, we are not satisfied with our performance, but the result is the most important thing in this situation. I personally have never taken a break for a month and a half, so I am just glad I was able to play today.
INOUE Masaru, Club Manager (Meiji University)
Despite the close result, we felt a much greater distance against our opponents, especially in techniques and the quality of plays. When facing a superior opponent, we anticipated for our opportunities by out-running them and applying aggressive pressure to induce mistakes. We managed to create more opportunities in the second half by keeping the pressure high and making runs into the open space. We were missing three players who are currently attending the Universiade tournament, but we are used to rotating our line-ups within our 20+ player-roster, so I don’t think our overall strengths were affected by the missing players. We saw some very close opportunities created at the end of the match, so it is a bit disappointing after all.
SATO Ryo (Meiji University)
Our opponents were clearly better than us, but we just have to continue to strive for higher levels. In order to reach the professional level, we must all work even harder to become a better player. My dribbling skill is my strong point, and I was hoping to see how much I can cope against the J1 champions. I felt like my dribbles were effective enough, but I had to score goals for my team. So, in that sense, I felt the need to become more critical at the final third. By capitalising their few opportunities, Kawasaki showed us what it means to be a professional football team. There was clearly a wide gap between us and them.
Results of other matches
Fixtures to be played on Wed. 10 July
18:30 Tokyo Verdy (J2) - Hosei University (Ajinomoto Field Nishigaoka)
19:00 Yokohama FC (J2) - Sendai University (NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Football Stadium)
19:00 Cerezo Osaka (J1) - Arterivo Wakayama (Yanmar Stadium Nagai)
【1st Round】Sat. 25, Sun. 26 May
【2nd Round】Wed. 3, Wed. 10 July
【3rd Round】Wed. 14 August
【Round of 16】Wed. 18 September
【Quarterfinals】Wed. 23 October
【Semi-final】Sat. 21 December
【Final】Wed. 1 January 2020
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