After what felt like a never-ending off-season, we finally started our 2011 campaign with an away game against the current league champions, Nagoya Grampus.
I must confess that after a slightly lackluster pre-season build up, my confidence ahead of this game wasn’t terribly high and I think I said a fair few times that “I’d be happy with a point” from this game. However, after conceding in the 95th minute after giving away a silly penalty, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed, nay, robbed.
I think in my heart of hearts though, that a draw was probably a fair result and pretty accurate reflection of the game. Nagoya actually created more chances than we did and came frighteningly close in both halves with some accurate shots on goal, one of which hit the crossbar before rebounding out to safety.
It was Yokohama however, that drew first blood in the second half when Shingo Hyodo latched onto a short pass just inside the area, before driving the ball past the keeper into the inside right post. It was just the boost we needed as we began to push forward more in search of a second. Unfortunately for us, Nagoya are not the kind of team that buckle under pressure so easily and they defended our attacks time and time again with a irritatingly in-form Tulio and Masukawa.
As the adrenalin of the first goal began to wear off, Nagoya stepped up their attacking game and came at us with everything they had, putting Nakazawa and Kurihara to task and forcing Iikura to make more than a few fines saves. with the clock ticking down into the extra-time we were all convinced that we were gonna take all three points back to Yokohama when, in the final minute of additional time, somebody (Sorry, I didn’t see who and I’ve yet to see a replay of the incident) made a rather desperate tackle on Nagai, bringing him down in the box to concede a penalty. Iikura’s luck in goal was unable to stretch to the 95th minute though, as Kennedy struck the ball into the top net to salvage a point and save the home team’s blushes. Nagoya 1 Yokohama 1.
Though we didn’t lose the game, the way the game ended kinda felt like we had. We were THIS close to a perfect start of the season damnit!!
Oh well, it’s a point away so we can’t complain too much I guess….
Anyway, I shall end this brief, half-assed match report with a video of us singing our anthem for the first time this year! VAMOS!
Nagoya Grampus: Narazaki, Tanaka, Tulio, Masukawa, Abe, Ogawa, Nakamura, Fujimoto, Kanazaki, Kennedy, and Tamada.
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Kurihara, Nakazawa, Hato, Taniguchi, Ogura, Hyodo, Hasegawa, Oguro, and Watanabe.
Grampus Substitutions: Kanazaki → Nagai (66), Nakamura → Santos (75), Fujimoto → Yoshimura (82)
F.Marinos Substitutions: Oguro → Ono (68), Hasegawa → Moriya (71)
Goals: Hyodo (63), Kennedy (90+5)
Here’s the highlights on YouTube!