Both sides were coming off domestic losses and neither had taken a point in their opening ACL group stage matches and it was the J-League team who did all the damage, scoring three first-half goals plus a fourth late in the piece to gain all the ascendency and eventually take all three points with a 4-0 result.
Asian Champions League Matchday 3
Kawasaki Frontale: 4 (Jong Tae-Se 3’, Masaru Kurotsu 12, Renatinho 22’, Hiroyuki Tanaguchi 90’)
Melbourne Victory: 0
Venue: Todoroki Stadium, Kanagawa
Yellow cards: KF - Yusuke Igawa 21’, Hiroyuki Taniguchi 30’, Jong Tae-Se 34’
MV - Evan Berger 27’, Adrian Leijer 34’, Leigh Broxham 50’/90+3’, Grant Brebner 90+2’
Red cards: KF - Jong Tae-Se 45+2’
MV - Leigh Broxham 90+3’
The Victory were coming off a disappointing domestic Grand Final loss and things did not start off well when Kawasaki’s Brazilian forward Renatinho worked forward and slid a nice through ball to North Korean striker Jong Tae-Se who finished coolly from a tight angle to get the game underway.
And just nine minutes later, Kawasaki went two ahead when Yusuke Tasaka sent a dead ball into the area and Masaru Kurotsu threw his head at the ball and it rocketed in past Vic’tory keeper Glen Moss in what was a disastrous start for the visitors.
In wet conditions, the home side had control and went a further goal ahead when Renatinho muscled past Adrian Leijer before unleashing a powerful shot past Moss to give his side a three-goal buffer after just 21 minutes.
The Victory were clearly very frustrated and began diving in with some wayward challenges as Kawasaki seemingly did as they pleased but something did go against them when Jong Tae-Se was sent off after receiving a red card for kicking Grant Brebner when the Scottish midfielder went to help him up.
That was the final play of any consequence in the first half as the home side went into the break 3-0 ahead.
The Japanese outfit came out in similar fashion in the second term despite being a man down and the Victory at least began to push forward and have some sort of influence on the game after a terrible first 45 minutes.
Melbourne had their best chance of the match with twenty minutes remaining when Carlos Hernandez played a low ball into the penalty area but Nik Mrdja failed to get any sort of positive touch on it despite being under no pressure and it went begging for Ernie Merrick’s men.
The intensity of the match changed down a notch or two in the final 15 minutes with neither side really worrying the opposing goalkeeper until the 90th minute when Kawasaki skipper Hiroyuki Taniguchi slotted home after some good work from Renatinho who crossed in beautifully from the right flank to make it 4-0. The Victory now have a mountain of work to do and plenty of luck needed if they are to get past the group stage of the competition whilst Kawasaki notched their first win and have now given themselves every chance of pushing through to the Round of 16 if they are to play with similar efficiency.
Glen Moss (gk), Surat Sukha, Leigh Broxham, Grant Brebner, Nik Mrdja, Rodrigo Vargas, Carlos Hernandez, Evan Berger (55’), Robbie Kruse (56’), Nick Ward (81’), Adrian Leijer (c)
Subs: Mitch Langerak (gk), Matthew Foschini (55’), Marvin Angulo (56’), Mate Dugandzic (81’)