Kawasaki Frontale 3 Urawa Reds 1: Kobayashi double puts hosts in control

23 August 2017 14:16

Yu Kobayashi scored a crucial double as Kawasaki Frontale claimed a 3-1 first-leg home victory over Urawa Reds to take control of the all-Japanese AFC Champions League quarter-final.

The hosts went ahead when captain Kobayashi scored in the first half and Elsinho added to their lead after the break.

Reds substitute Yuki Muto scored an away goal with the 2007 tournament winners’ first shot of the second half, only for Kobayashi to head in his sixth Champions League goal of the season with five minutes remaining.

Kawasaki – who defeated the Reds 4-1 in league action – will therefore take a two-goal advantage into the second leg, which takes place in three weeks.

Kawasaki had the better of the early stages and forged ahead after 32 minutes, as a good passing move concluded when excellent work from Kengo Nakamura down the left saw him slip the ball through Mauricio Antonio’s legs and cut back for Kobayashi to sweep in a simple left-footed finish

The Reds brought on striker Muto as a half-time substitute, but it was the hosts who made the strongest start to the second half, with only Shusaku Nishikawa’s fine save from Hiroyuki Abe’s curling effort denying them a second.

But Kawasaki were not to be denied, doubling their lead in the 50th minute. Eduardo Neto sent Kobayashi through on goal and while his effort was parried by Jung Sung-ryong, an onrushing Elsinho reacted quickly to convert the rebound.

Urawa were struggling to make any kind of impact at the other end, but they did grab a goal back against the run of play with 14 minutes left, Muto beating to offside trap to convert Takuya Aoki’s throughball.

Muto’s strike for the visitors meant it looked like the tie would remain wide open going into the second leg on September 13, only for Kobayashi to head in Akihiro Ienaga’s cross.

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