J-League’s Kawasaki Frontale stun Chelsea

Players and staff members of Chelsea FC and Kawasaki Frontale pose after their match in Yokohama, Japan, on Friday. (AP)
Updated 19 July 2019

J-League’s Kawasaki Frontale stun Chelsea

  • Chelsea are on a pre-season tour of Japan, and will play a friendly against FC Barcelona on Tuesday in Saitama, north of Tokyo

YOKOHAMA: J-League Champions Kawasaki Frontale pulled off a stunning 1-0 victory against Chelsea in friendly at Yokohama on Friday.
Kawasaki striker Leandro Damiao headed in a Kengo Nakamura cross from a close range in the 87th minute to clinch the upset in front of 61,012 spectators.
Chelsea struggled to find the net despite waves of attacks, with Kawasaki players cautious in defense, particularly before the break. A long journey and high humidity in Japan during the early days of pre-season caused “difficulties for us physically,” said Chelsea coach Frank Lampard.
“The quality of our players on the ball was not quite where we want. It’s very, very normal in pre-season. We will get there.”
“I got no fears. I was happy with (a) big part of the performance,” he added.
The Chelsea boss was tightlipped about squad selection for the upcoming season, only saying he has a “competitive” organization.
“Nobody is in or out of the squad,” Lampard said. “Everybody is competing and the squad will be picked in due time.”

Kawasaki faced pressure
Chelsea maintained pressure on the hosts throughout the match but were unable to translate that into goals.
In the 30th minute, Chelsea forward Pedro showed off his skill by zigzagging past a group of Kawasaki defenders before unleashing a long-range shot, which flew just over the bar.
Four minutes later, a similar attempt by his teammate Kenedy also went wide.

HIGHLIGHTS

● For Kawasaki Frontale, the hard-won victory also shows the quality of Chelsea squad.

● The club is on a pre-season tour of Japan, and will play a friendly against FC Barcelona on Tuesday.

Kawasaki midfielder Akihiro Ienaga, J-League MVP in 2018, threatened the Chelsea goal in a 45th-minute counterattack, ending the move with a sizzling shot which forced a superb one-armed save by goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
After the break, Kawasaki’s Leandro Damiao dashed to meet a Kei Chinen cross, but his diving header inside the box went wide.
Chelsea are on a pre-season tour of Japan, and will play a friendly against FC Barcelona on Tuesday in Saitama, north of Tokyo.
For Kawasaki, the hard-won victory also showed the quality of the Chelsea squad.
“Honestly, the game showed us that they (Chelsea) are very strong,” Kawasaki coach Toru Oniki said after the match.
“We were not allowed play our own football. We felt a lot of pressure. It’s great that we won after having struggled so much,” he said.
“But we went into the match to win, and we won. This was big.”


Messi wins third straight Golden Shoe as top league-goal scorer

Updated 57 min 38 sec ago

Messi wins third straight Golden Shoe as top league-goal scorer

  • Messi won the trophy for a third straight year

BARCELONA: Barcelona captain Leo Messi received his sixth Golden Shoe as the top scorer in the European leagues on Wednesday.

Messi won the trophy for a third straight year after scoring 36 goals, three more than his closest challenger, Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi’s sons Thiago and Mateo, presented their father with the trophy supervised by his wife, Antonella Rocuzzo and watched by teammates, including Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba.

Messi dedicated the award “to my family, to my colleagues who are here. There are Luis and Jordi, who are two of the men to blame for this award.”

“Without my team, I could not even have won the award once.”

Messi now has two more Golden Shoes than his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Luis Suarez is one of nine players on two. The award was created in 1967 when it was won by Eusebio.