Albirex Niigata November 30th @ Nissan (14:00)
1 Yokohama F. Marinos 62 2 Urawa Reds 58 3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 57
Marquinhos 16 Goals Nakamura 10 Goals Hyodo 6 Goals
- Players warming up now. http://t.co/5zaTGAW7Zp 7 hours ago
- Marinos fans all the way to the green line on both levels. http://t.co/JzCSKMKMyj 8 hours ago
- @renyca96 It’s 3:30 today! 8 hours ago
- We have a good view for the final decisive match! http://t.co/3TgaEsJnJS 9 hours ago
- RT @TricoBren: Tricolore Pride is assembled at the Todoroki! @MarinosJamie and @stuartcw and yours truly. http://t.co/kHVw69aooz 10 hours ago
- Loads of Marinos fans waiting in the park today. http://t.co/AsauA3uHGt 10 hours ago
With just three games left in this season’s J-league division one title race, league leaders Yokohama F-Marinos will head to already-relegated Jubilo Iwata in the hope of moving a step closer to lifting their first league title in a decade. Iwata, on the other hand, will be playing for pride as last weeks 1-0 defeat to Sagan Tosu saw them relegated to J2 for the first time in their history.
A founding member of the J-league, Jubilo have a proud history and have played host to some of the biggest names to have graced the league. Whilst the club has undoubtably seen better days, fans will hope their heroes can still have a say in the eventual desitination of the J1 title and cause an upset at the Yamaha Stadium.
F-Marinos will be boosted by the midweek return of talismanic playmaker and club captain Shunsuke Nakamura, who played 30 minutes of normal and another 30 minutes of additional time in the Emperors cup against JFL leaders AC Parceiro Nagano. Nakamura may not start, however, and the fitness of winger Manabu Saito is also still in doubt, with the youngster facing a last minute fitness test to decide wether or not he’ll start.
@stuartcw – I’m hoping, since we are playing a team that has being relegated that we will have a convincing win taking 3 points and upping our goal average. We should be aiming for 2-0 at least. Given the horrible game I saw on Wednesday, we could easily loose. We barely scraped the win against a (to-be) J3 team. It’s shocking that it was almost the same team that beat Manchester United in the summer. I fear that again, Shunsuke will only come on at half time and hopefully it won’t be to drag us out of a mess.
@TricoBren- 1-0 to us. Scraping through. Goal from Enomoto.
@KanagawaKiwi – I am quietly worried about tomorrow too. All will be clear in the first 10 mins I’m guessing. Either Jubilo will have the pressure off to stay up and will feel a little freer just to play without having to worry about results or they will be seriously demoralised and just give up. I would like to see us go really aggressive in the first 10 just to make them second guess themselves and start wondering if it is going to be a really shit result. I think either a 1-0 win to them or 4-0 to us. It all depends on the first 10. Fuckin get em.
@tgR_tsuru – Already relegated, Jubilo could either have lost all fight in them, or just come out not giving a damn and going for it. I’m sure they’d like to spoil our party. Luckily Yamada is out. Being optimistic, if Shun starts, we could go 2-0. If he’s on the bench, I’ll say 1-0. It’s going to be ugly if we have Nakamachi in Shun’s position again…
@CND_MARINO – Saito and Shun not starting will be a real test for us, I hope it’s not the case. This game is a must win. Close to call I say we edge them 2-1.
@MarinosJamie – I agree with Blake; the first 10 minutes of this are huge. If we can get out early tomorrow morning and set a high tempo we may find ourselves playing against a side who simply don’t have the stomach for a fight. 3-1. Marquinhos hasn’t scored in the league for 3 months and we’re struggling badly without his goals so I’m looking for a performance from him too.
It is that time of year in every football fans life that they hope to be in. Essentially it is one of two positions. The first being that they can just sit back and enjoy a game and not have to worry about the results because the league is already in their bag. The second and clearly the more beneficial for the impartial football public, the game’s suits and their pockets and also the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, is the coronary inducing end of season run.
Those involved in the running of this site and fans of the Yokohama F. Marinos all over the little circle of football love we call the globe, are both upset and relieved that the International break has fallen upon us. It keeps us at top spot for a little more time and gives some players and management both time to recover and reflect upon a string of results from the previous weekend. Further to that the fans have a chance to get the heart rates back down to a respectable level before the away game at J2 new boys Jubilo Iwata on November 23rd, which in itself throws up a whole lot more problems from the way this guy sees it. They can get out their calculators and work out what results and permutations will keep Marinos at the top should we wind lose or draw.
No one would argue that the 2-1 loss to Nagoya Grampus at home was a disheartening performance. It was a real opportunity to put ourselves in the driving seat, and if you could have known other results before the game kicked off, you could have said that it was a must win game; dropped points meant losing the #1 league ranking. As it was, banana skin football reared its fugly head and several other teams both north and south of here enjoyed its ride. I had turned the tv off several times watching Urawa play at Sendai. First when Urawa went 2-1 up and also when with minutes to play in injury time they held their 3-2 lead. So yeah, I had turned the TV back on in wishful thinking. Fancy my surprise when I flicked on the PC later to check the table and what it had meant when I saw us still top. The invisible hand extended north from Yokohama switched from the extended single digit as it passed over Saitama and reformed into the 4 finger and thumb Jamaican salute to touch our new friends in League football in Tohoku. Vegalta had just saved us a few blushes.
Although Twaffic (twitter traffic, not sure if it’s a phrase that has been coined already, and if not it is ours and all proceeds will go towards strikers) after the game was a little negative everyone can breathe a sigh of belief (intended mistake). We are still at the top of the league
However, we still know that it that time of the year when …
1) Calculators and abacus are used for working out where and what happens when this and that happens.
2) Family dinners are met with frequent interruptions as father checks Twitter for updates.
3) Whistles blown or not blown are met with curses of rage.
4) You keep an eye on your team’s results as much as other team’s.
5) You become increasingly more critical of that pass, his option taking and that sub.
6) Analysis of team behaviour goes into checking out last season’s run of form, results, who ate what when and just a little touch of twabuse (you can work it out, can’t ya?) towards other teams.
7) Wife gets pissy with you for not reading a book to the kids before bed because you are updating the website.
It is all part of the ride isn’t it.
This gallery contains 74 photos.
Stuart, “I was re-watching the Hiroshima game to see what I missed at the far end of the pitch and was really struck by Narawa and Sato. They did great! It was Narawa’s touch that made Saito’s goal. This is cut out on most of the TV replays which start with the ball coming to Manabu, but how did it get there? From Narawa.
Also, in the interview afterwards Higuchi said that Sato played an aggressive game and he subbed him once he started to tire. I think it is Sato that increased the pace of the team recently. From what I can see, Dutra, almost always passes to Shunsuke, which slows the pace. As much as I have come to love Dutra as a character, I think Narawa should be up there on a regular basis and have no worries if he takes Dutura’s place next season. Has anyone got any predictions about next year’s team?”
Daniel, “Narawa played a blinder, great game. Next season is tough to call, spoiled for choice on that side. I’m very interested to see if Takashi Kanai is brought back from loan. I’ve been a fan of his. Narawa though has taken his opportunities to warrant a starting spot.”
Anthony, “I’ve thought previously Sato has been energetic but with little impact, but now that he’s gotten more minutes he is coming int the game more. Promising signs considering he’s only like 22 years old! About next year. Not sure if he had any real information on it, however Cesare Polenghi on the JTalk podcast said Dutra would be back next season, whilst Marquinhos was only a maybe. As decent as he’s been for us, Tiger Ossan, I hope it’s the other way around considering that we’ll likely be in the Champions League and a proven striker like Marquinhos will be invaluable.
I expect Saito will leave us as Ono Yuji did last off-season. Hanato is a ready-made replacement and hopefully gets the minutes under his belt to prove whether or not he’s up to it. We’ll have a couple of possible loan-returns as well challenging for AM positions: Matsumoto Rei and Matsumoto Sho. It seems that Nagasawa may not stay on, he said something about going somewhere that he can have a more immediate impact (read: better chance of playing?), and we are looking at that ‘University best lefty’ whose name escapes me right now. Hopefully Sho and Sato can provide a bit of cover for Shun in the league given the extra demands of participation in the ACL. Hanato and Rei would be good second striker options as well. I don’t see Fujita being at the level we require. If Marquinhos does call it a day, we’ll be on the hunt for a new starting striker – and I hope we don’t see reports yet again that we are talking to Maeda! Kobayashi Yuzo has a good hold on RB, unless he gets injured it’ll be hard for Amano to break back into the starting team, and Narawa was originally a RB as well. At LB, hopefully Narawa becomes our starter, though Kanai Takashi would feel hard done by as he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. I wonder if his loan to Tosu will be made permanent? Tomisawa and Nakamachi also have a lock at DM/volante, whilst Oguro has been ok as a back up once he got a game or two back under his belt. Although I’d like to see Andrew getting some game time as well, not to mention Kida. I wonder if we’ll loan out or trade any of them? Fabio has signed on permanently, which is great news for our plans post-Bomber (ie, from 2015). We’ve also signed Under 18 Japan representative centre back Kitatani Fumitaka. I also wonder who we’ve got coming up through the youth teams that will be given a chance at the senior level. IF we hang on and can take the title this year, I really hope we can see a managed transition towards a younger squad, rather than trying to maintain and go for another tilt at the top 3.”
Jamie, “I feel next year will be the beginning of a period of transition for us. Unfortunately, I cant see us maintaining this current level of performance in to next season. Higuchi picks from a pool of 11 players and I reckon thats going to come back and bite us in future. Sure Fabio, Amano and Sato could do a good job playing for us over the coming years, but the simple fact is that they havent been given much of a chance recently. One of the main (and only!) criticisms of Martin O’Neill during his time with Celtic was that he built a good team but not a good squad. He was loyal to an ageing group of players and when he left in ’05, left us with a group of older pros. It took a big investment under Strachan (and the signing of a certain Japanese midfielder) before we were able to reestablish ourselves as a good side. There are a lot of similarities with what Higuchi is building at the moment and my fear is that, without a decent investment over the next season or two, we could slip away slightly.”
Anthony , “Well, in one sense, it is all about the here and now for this squad. Once a couple of the veterans go, it’ll have to be a big re-build and it will be a few years before we’re challenging for the title again, I can’t help but feel. Can we use the same game plan when we no longer have the best playmaker (around whom the game plan revolves) in the league, if not Asia, in the team? Even if so, it will take some time for another #10 to get to the required standard…”
Stuart, “What about Shunsuke, will he still be with us next season? The fans recent banner, ‘We want to win (the championship) with Shunsuke’ implies that the ultras think this is last opportunity for him to be in a championship winning Marinos team.”
Anthony, “I think he’ll play next season, but my gut feeling is ’14 will be his last. But I also think this season is his last real chance to get the title: there are too many question marks over next season for me. Can he keep his form (and remain uninjured)? Will Marquinhos be with us, will he be in-form and uninjured? Bomber will be another year older. Dutra?! Will Manabu still be with us? Etc…”
Jamie, “I certainly hope he doesn’t retire at the end of this season but it’s very possible he will, especially if we win the title. Out with a few patches here and there, his form over the past year has been great and he hasn’t missed many games due to injury or fitness concerns, playing more minutes than any other player so far this season. As Tony notes though, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding next season and where we’ll be as a club. We could see a massive change in our squad and I’d like to think that Shun (and Bomber) would be there to show any new players what it takes to become a legend at the club. That being said, he himself knows when it’s best to walk away and maybe 4 games from now he’ll feel his time has come.”
Anthony, “Whilst I kind of knew that Shun, Bomber and Marquinhos are on high salaries, just seeing Cesare’s tweet yesterday reinforced it: how long can we keep paying ~$4million for 3 players?”
Stuart, “With all of the changes that could be coming along it looks like we are in for an interesting ride in 2014.”
The Tricolore Army made the trip down to the island of Kyushu this past Sunday for a match against J2 bound Oita Trinita. As has been the case all season Marinos were in for a dogged battle against an inferior team which would much rather draw than go for a win. Yokohama were once again pitted in a must win scenario as Sanfrecce had won the day previous thanks to a late and extremely sloppy goal conceded by their opponents Sendai. Pity they couldn’t have played like that versus us..
Oita started the match against Marinos in a familiar place, their own half. After an early attempt on goal off a set piece by Marquinhos I became under the impression that perhaps this was the day we would teach a team for using turtle tactics. Unfortunately though Yokohama was only able to penetrate the 11 man wall on a couple occasions one being a glancing header by Panzo and a real serious claim for a pk after another dazzling run by Saito. It looked like our boys were in for a tough fight until Shunsuke Nakamura was fouled on the left side of the 18 yard box.
For me personally I thought perhaps he’ll shoot knowing that Shunsuke basically can hit the target from anywhere, but I also felt that with the presence of Fabio, Bomber and Tomisawa a well bent fk would be a tasty opportunity for our aerial specialists. Nakamura stepped up and blasted his shot into the net, the Tricolore Army exploded at the other end. In true MVP form Nakamura took matters into his own hands and put us ahead. 0-1 to the good at the end of the half.
The second half presented F.Marinos with a few clear chances that weren’t taken advantage of. Marquinhos with header off the upright and Fujita had an excellent effort turned aside. This is worrying as we are playing these types of teams for the rest of the season. Enomoto had to be called upon late on as Oita tried to level the match. A draw would’ve been a disaster, panic stations.. Alas the boys held on and we ended the match 3 points stronger. Everyone is out to upset the leagues number 1 and if we are to have a golden J on our sleeve next season we absolutely need to take care of our opportunities.
Sorry for the lack of detail folks .. t’was a dry game.
Here’s our highlights.
Yokohama F. Marinos might win the J-League division 1 title this year. Not a very brave prediction, I know, but I’m a bit scared to commit to the word ‘will’, and I’ll explain why. Despite the fact that we’re 2 points clear with just 5 games left to play, our recent form compared to that of our league rivals hasn’t given me reason to be overly confident. History also tempers my optimism and serves as a warning that good teams can struggle at this stage in the season.
First of all, I think it’s important to define what constitutes a ‘league rival’. With 56 points, we’re currently setting the pace at the top of the league. As it stands right now, there are 4 other sides within 6 points of us. Cerezo Osaka, who occupy 4th spot, and 5th placed Kashima Antlers have both been in good form recently, taking 12 points from the last 18 available. As a result, I’m drawing the line with 5th placed Kashima Antlers for the purposes of this article. That means I’m ruling out everyone from 6th Kawasaki Frontale (who are on 48 points) and below. As we all know, the J-League can be unpredicatble, but it would take a miraculous turn of events for a side 8 points off the pace to win the league with just 15 points left to play for. Agreed? Okay. Let’s get on with this…
My hesitance to commit to an F. Marinos triumph this season is born of a few different factors. The fortunes of Vegalta Sendai towards the end of last season, for example, is pretty much keeping me up at night. With 5 games remaining of the 2012 season Sendai imploded, drawing 3 and losing 2 of their last 5 games, a run that ultimately handed the title to their league rivals Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Sendai had battled their way to title contention over the course of the season and were level on points with Sanfrecce with just 5 games to play. Finishing the season 7 points off the pace whilst conceding 12 goals in the last 5 games certainly wasn’t what Sendai fans had in mind at this stage 12 months ago.
The fact that I had booked my flights to head over the Japan for the last game of season immediately after the victory over Urawa Reds in August is in no way a reflection of my optimism. In fact, our recent form had caused me to start to prepare for the fact that I might be flying across the world to applaud my heroes and have a beer with a few friends after just another league match. While that’s as good a reason as any to make the trip, I can’t lie and say that I’m not hoping for a title party at Todoroki, home of Frontale, on the last game of the season. Recently though, our form hasn’t been convincing and results have been anything but that of league champions. Drawing three and winning two isn’t a bad record, but if we were to repeat that feat in our last 5 games I can’t say I’d be very confident we would win the title.
This recent dip in form has manifested itself in to me spending my evenings pouring over our remaining fixtures; especially after the draw against struggling Ventforet Kofu just a few weeks ago. The English language release of the fantastic footballgeist.com hasn’t helped much, providing an incredibly detailed look in to the past two decades of J-League football. Trends and statistics, whilst often completely useless, have on some occasions fueled the flames of my doubt, yet left me brimming with confidence on others.
I attempted to write this exact piece a week ago, but the Sanfrecce game felt like too big a match to overlook. Realistically, the effect a loss would have had on our already poor form may have caused me to write us off almost totally, but a win (and a good result in the Urawa game) would put us in a very strong position for the run-in. We held up our end of the deal and, whilst a draw would have been ideal,` Urawa defeated the rampaging Antlers who I feel, out with Hiroshima are our biggest rivals for the run-in. Hitting form just at the right time, Antlers would have ended up just 3 points off the top of the table and I wouldn’t have bet against them continuing their run for the next few weeks. To say Urawa don’t stand a good chance would be foolish, but they have proven slightly suspect defensively this season and I believe this may be their undoing eventually.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve simplified the way in which I explain the run-in to my barely interested colleagues after rolling in to work alive and awake at 8.30am on a Saturday morning (thanks to 5am kick offs…). To put it simply, I believe we have the favourable run-in because F. Marinos play the majority of our games against bottom-half opposition, whilst our opposition predominantly play top-half opponents. Of the 5 games left, 4 games will be played against bottom-half sides. It gives me confidence that we’re 2 points clear having already competed against all of the current top 5 twice this season.
In comparison, second placed Urawa Reds face 4 top-half sides in their remaining 5 games, with Sanfrecce and Cerezo Osaka facing the same challenge. Only 5th place Kashima have more than one game against bottom-half opposition, facing both Sagan Tosu and Shonan Bellmare. Quite why I’ve decided to place such emphasis on who’s in the top-half and bottom-half of the table I’m not sure, but I like it the way it looks!
Our first challenge comes this weekend when we face relegated Oita Trinita away from home. Picking up just 13 points in the past 30 games, an outsider would look at this game as a given for F. Marinos, however, Oita decided to pretty much ruin my week by winning their last game against free-falling Omiya Ardija and actually played some decent stuff in the process, by all accounts.
10 Points wins it for us, I reckon. Of course, in my head I’ve already worked out where those 10 points will come from, but I’ll keep that to myself to prevent ending the season with egg all over my face.
So to conclude, we might win the league this year. There’s still a chance we won’t, too. Consider yourself rambled at.
Remember, you can follow us on twitter @tricolorepride
This gallery contains 43 photos.
Note: Pictures are in reverse chronological order, start of the game and pre-match at the bottom. Click on the pictures to see them in their massive hi-resolution glory.
A bumper crowd of almost 40,000 fans turned up to see Yokohama F. Marinos defeat league rivals and defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima to propel themselves to the top of the J-league division 1. Manabu Saito’s 55th minute goal was enough to claim all 3 points for the home side on a rainy afternoon at the Nissan stadium.
F. Marinos coach Yasuhiro Higuchi encountered a less than ideal week leading up to the match, losing several first-team players. With Brazilian left-back Dutra already ruled out through suspension, Higuchi also lost midfielder Shingo Hyodo picking up a knock midweek. The week also saw winger Manabu Saito make the long trip to Europe with the Japan national squad, returning to training straight from his arrival at Narita airport on Thursday morning.
Fortunately for F. Marinos fans, Saito was able to take his place in the starting eleven and was joined by youngsters Yuhei Sato and Yuta Narawa who replaced Shingo Hyodo and Dutra respectively.
With the sides sitting in first and second place, seperated by just one goal, the onus was very much on F. Marinos to make use of the home advantage. As the sides kicked off in the rain, Sanfrecce came out of the blocks quickly and took advantage of some slack play from the F. Marinos defence. Having won a throw in on the right flank, Sanfrecce winger Mikic played the ball quickly in to the box and only a poor finish in to the side netting kept the score at 0-0.
The Yokohama side also had their chances, with their clearest opportunity coming in the 17th minute when defender Yuji Nakazawa raised high above his marker to nod Shunsuke Nakamura’s free-kick just wide of the post. Sanfrecce midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama also came close to scoring an own goal when his defensive clearance trickled just past Shusaku Nishikawa’s goal.
Sanfrecce yet again took advantage of a lack of concentration from the F. Marinos when Naoki Ishikara was played through one on one, only to hit his effort directly at the onrushing Tetsuya Enomoto.
With Hiroshima playing packing the midfield and closing down F. Marinos playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura at every turn, the onus fell on young winger Manabu Saito to provide the creative flair for the Kanagawa men. Saito stepped up to the plate in the 55th minute. Picking up the ball wide on the left-flank, Saito skipped past his marker before setting of on a run that would end with both the winning goal and a trail of defenders lying in his wake.
Sanfrecce stepped up the pressure after the goal, targeting young left-back Narawa and creating a number of chances from the right flank. F. Marinos goalkeeper Tetsuya Enomoto was in inspired form, however, foiling attempts on goal from both Ishihara and Mizumoto late on in the game.
Despite the onslaught, Sanfrecce were unable to find the equaliser and F. Marinos held out to seal the three points and put themselves 2 points clear of rivals Urawa Reds, who moved up in to 2nd place after a hard fought win over 4th placed Kashima Antlers. F. Marinos will head in to this weekends game away to bottom placed Oita Trinita hoping to win and keep the pressure on their rivals at the top of the J-league division 1.
Here’s our highlights: