So after an extraordinarily long wait, the F.Marinos finally got their chance to play their opening home game of the season. Yokohama, coming home with a very respectable away game record against two of J1 toughest teams in Nagoya and Kashima, have clearly made a strong impression on the home fans as the attendance for this match reached a solid crowd of over 33,400 supporters!
As with the previous game against Kashima, this game too started with an immaculately observed minute’s silence in memory of those that were lost in the Tohoku quake and tsunami disaster. A sombre tone hushed the stadium into silence right before kick-off and, with a round of applause and blow of the whistle, the game was underway.
Much like the Kashima clash, Yokohama came straight out of the starting blocks pushing forward as hard as they could to grab an early lead. Shimizu, finding it very hard to contain our constant advances throughout the opening period, nearly cracked under a powerful shot from the right flank by Shunsuke Nakamura that just narrowly whistled over the crossbar in the 10th minute. Before long however, Shimizu were able to string together a few dangerous counter-attacks of their own during the ensuing flow of play with youngster Genki Omae coming closest as he capitalized on a poorly headed back-pass from Hyodo to drive the ball down to the bottom of the inside right post which Iikura just managed to stop in time.
Though Shimizu were able to carve a handful of chances in the opening half, the lion share of shots on goal was overwhelmingly in favour of the home team. Creating chance after chance we just couldn’t find the back of the net with both Ono, Nakamura and even Taniguchi coming extremely close with an excellently well struck diving header that just skimmed wide of the post. The pressure continued to be piled upon the visitors as their defence was stretched thin by a goal mouth scramble in the dying minutes of the first half that saw the ball fly across the face of the goal to Taniguchi who tried blasting the ball into net but instead hit the post square on.
With the whistle blown, the F.Marinos were left to rue their missed chances as they ended the first half with a convincing battering of the S-Pulse defence.
The second half was very much the same kind of affair with Yokohama appearing to be taking control of the game with more build-up plays and agonizingly close shots on the Shimizu goal. Shimizu started the second half stronger than they did the first half as they came close with a diving header that tested Iikura’s reactions – a test that he had to repeat almost immediately after as he was called upon to stop another powerful low shot on goal, this time from Australian striker, Alex Brosque.
Yokohama were quick to rally back into position and resume applying the pressure but ultimately our plans were thrown to the wind in the 80th minute when a fantastic piece of Swan-lake ballet coupled with an Olympic standard dive in the box from Omae after playing on from a slight clip from Hato on the edge of the box before running into the back of Ogura, earned him an
oscar penalty which he converted. F.Marinos 0 S-Pulse 1. Sheesh.
Obviously being more than just a little peeved at going a goal down, we wasted no time in throwing everything we had at them as we finally got the goal we were looking for when a goal mouth scramble paid off for us with Hyodo picking up a loose ball and slamming it over the line for the equalizer. The keeper did well to clear it but with the ball being more than a yard over, he was fooling nobody. F.Marinos 1 S-Pulse 1. That’s more like it…
The game nearly ended in spectacular fashion when Nakamura came bitterly close to scoring from one of his trademark free-kicks in the 90th minute as he rocketed the ball perfectly onto the top-left corner of the woodwork, sending a sigh of regret among the Tricolore army and a sigh of relief among the Orange yokels. Sadly, however, it was not to be as we had to make do with just a single point in our conquest for the all hallowed 4th star…
Full time. 1-1. Yokohama still undefeated and still sitting among the ACL spots. Next up, Boorawa!!
Here are the game highlights:
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Kurihara, Nakazawa, Hato, Taniguchi, Ogura, Nakamura, Hyodo, Ono, and Watanabe.
Shimizu S-Pulse: Yamamoto, Tsujio, Iwashita, Hiraoka, Bosnar, Ota, Yamamoto, Edamura, Ono, Omae, and Ito.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Watanabe → Aria (74), Kurihara → Kunhoan (81), Hato → Kano (81).
Goals: Omae (P.K)(80), Hyodo (86)