Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kawasaki Frontale top Group H with 10 points after 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners

Kawasaki Frontale beat Central Coast Mariners 2-1 in their Group H Asian Champions League match at the Todoroki Stadium in Tokyo tonight.

There were few chances in the opening half of a match played in torrential rain.

The Mariners were caught off-side three times in the opening minutes as they pressed their opponents early in an endeavour to erase the memories of that 5-0 drubbing they received from Frontale two weeks ago at home at Gosford.

Matt Simon had a great chance in the 21st minute from Adam Kwasik's cross, but he didn't get a decent touch and the Frontale goalkeeper saved at the second attempt after the ball initially squeezed through his legs and slithered towards goal.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Vitor Junior, one of three Brazilians in the home-side’s squad, missed a golden opportunity for Frontale when he mis-timed an easy header from Juninho's right-wing cross.

Frontale's Igawa was cautioned by the United Arab Emirates referee in the 19th minute, while Nigel Boogaard and Matthew Osman of the Mariners were cautioned in the 37th and 38th minutes, respectively.

Frontale dominated possession in the opening half but were unable to make it count.

Kawasaki Frontale took the lead within a minute of the start of the second half.

A free-kick by Vitor Junior was headed at goal by Jong Tae-se and Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic spilled the ball and allowed Juninho to tap it into the net.

The Mariners equalised on the hour when Andrew Clark sprang the off-side trap with a deft chip over the defence and Simon raced in to shoot past the keeper

But, the winner came from yet another set-piece, from which the Mariners are extremely vulnerable.

A corner in the 81st minute was only partially cleared by the Mariners’ defence and when the ball was chipped back into the box, substitute Renatinho nodded it past Vukovic and inside the far post.

Not only did the Mariners prove yet again how bad they are at defending set-pieces, they were caught off-side 10 times in the match.

The Mariners’ Andrew Clark and Andre Gumprecht were booked in the second half, which made it a total of four yellow cards for the visitors.

Frontale’s Mori was also cautioned in the 73rd minute, the home side’s second yellow card.

The win increased Kawasaki Frontale’s lead at the top of Group H to 10 points, while the Mariners are second-last with just 2 points.

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