A much improved display by the men in red sees them grab their first win of the season. A professional and hard-working performance, gives them a 2-0 over a useful Frontale team. Despite loosing Mu Kanazaki for this game, and Tulio after only 28 minutes, the team were too good for the visitors. Keiji Tamada marked his return with both goals, but setup by some good post play by Josh Kennedy, the second via a neat back-heel by the big Aussie forward. And once again, the manager managed to lift the team when it matters.
This was a game in which Nagoya's theoretical advantage in match sharpness bore fruit. Despite an otherwise good game by Frontale they were always half a yard off the pace. Percentage wise it was a close game, Grampus edging possession 51% to 49%, but Kawasaki did not have their usual penetration and only forced Narazaki into one memorable save, although Tulio deflected an early effort by Inamoto that might have been dangerous.
Frontale got off to the better start, with Inamoto and Yamase both having a couple of early efforts on goal, neither of which seriously troubled Narazaki. However, they lost Inamoto after only 13 minutes and this forced them to switch their most dangerous player, Kengo Nakamura, into a more defensive role. Thereafter, the game became the typically close battle that we have come expect from these two teams. Fujimoto sent a curling shot just over the the bar, after Frontale keeper Sugiyama had fumbled a clearance. Yajima responded with an effort for the visitors, that also flew just over. Josh Kennedy, looking more like his usual self, hit a shot on the turn, but was falling away from the ball and skewed it wide.
As the game approached the half-hour mark, it was Grampus' turn to lose an influential player as Tulio's dodgy hamstring started playing up and he was also forced to retire hurt. Fortunately, Chiyotanda looked good and combined well with Masukawa to deny the visitors the sort of space in the box to test Narazaki. Nagoya took the lead when Kennedy won a header in the box and laid the ball off to his left for Tamada to send a right foot shot into the far corner. Frontale looked as though they had pulled level near the end of the half when Yajima slotted home after a good break by Yamase. However, the effort was ruled out for offside with no real complaint from the visitors.
The second half saw Frontale again get off to the better start, with Yamasa creating a chance early on for Yajima but the forward was again found wanting for composure. Juninho, on for Noborizato, was also looking off the pace. The Brazilian is usually a one-man wrecking machine against us, but found our defence impossible to penetrate on this day. He had a couple of promising runs, but could not get past Chiyo and Masu.
Meanwhile Tamada and Kennedy continued to look like adding to the Grampus lead. A good buildup saw Tamada burst through on the left of the box, but his first touch let him down and the chance went begging as the angle become too tight for a reasonable shot. This was followed shortly afterwards by another chance that saw Masukawa head over from five yards after a good break by Fujimoto and Tamada had left Sugiyama exposed again. Tamada then sealed the three points with his second, again combining well with Kennedy. The lanky Aussie did well to hold on to the ball near the edge of the box and his neat back heal sent his strike partner through to fire a shot past the hapless Sugiyama. Grampus then started to play for time with possession but continued to hassle the visitors when they had the ball, with Nagai harrying the defenders till the very end.