In another nail-biting instalment of the 2022 Meiji Yasuda J1 League, Kawasaki Frontale pulled off what at one point seemed an impossible task, beating F.C. Tokyo in a tense showdown between these two league stalwarts.

This comes off the back of an equally tenacious performance in 2021, where Kawasaki Frontale secured their fourth league title in five years. Crucial to this achievement were the efforts of Leandro Damião, who scored 23 goals across last season, which earned him top scorer honors.

With this recent experience behind them, expectations were high for both Kawasaki Frontale and Damião going into this season.

Kawasaki Frontale fans got the start to the season they were hoping for as the team secured an initial season victory against F.C. Tokyo – although the matchup was perhaps a little tougher than had been initially anticipated.

Kawasaki Frontale started off with a strong offense, which saw Damião nearly cinch a goal when he set up Marchinho with a strong pass. Unfortunately, a smart play by Jakub Słowik kept F.C. Tokyo out of the danger zone when he pushed it towards the post.

This initial play precipitated a slew of later shots on goal by F.C. Tokyo. Ultimately Kawasaki Frontale’s defense line just about managed to keep them off target. Jung Sung-Ryong in particular put in a solid performance and managed to keep the score line at 0-0 for most of the match.

Kawasaki Frontale increased the pressure in the latter stages of the match and continued to push Jakub Słowik to his limits. Eventually, Słowik was over-stretched and Frontale managed to secure a goal in the 80th minute. This came off the back of a corner kick to the near post by Daiya Tono, where Damião just slipped it past the posts with a neat header.

F.C. Tokyo failed to make a rally in the dying minutes of the game. This initial victory helped to push Kawasaki Frontale up the leader board in these early stages of the tournament. Whether this momentum will hold, however, remains to be seen.