Yokohama continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-0 win over Saitama’s Urawa Red Diamonds, to claim all 3 points and secure 3rd place in the league table on goal difference.
Despite the apparently one-sided scoreline however, this game was not quite the stroll in the park we would have liked. Oh no, not at all…
For those people that have been following the F.Marinos for any relatively decent amount of time, I hardly need to point out the rivalry present in this clash but, for those new to the Tricolore army, let me just say that we have built up a somewhat tense rivalry with Urawa over the years and to make things even “worse” we’ve got a nice little habit of visiting them at home and spanking them. It never used to be like that however as I can still painfully remember the days when Urawa were at the top of their game and we couldn’t beat them for love nor money. Oh how the tables have turned now with recent victories like the 5-1 stomping still clear in the memories of everyone that was present at the Saisuta that day…
It’s against a competitive backdrop like this that set the atmosphere and tone of the game on Tuesday as both teams threw themselves at each other like their lives depended on it from the very first kick of the ball.
Both teams came close on several occasions throughout a very scrappy first half with the closest being a nice one-touch shot from Hyodo in the 13th minute that appeared to just skim over the top left corner. A follow up play was not to be seen straightaway however as the near miss seemed to rattle the Urawa cage and thing got increasingly scrappier on the pitch with Edmilson picking up the first yellow card of the game on the 15 minute mark and Shunsuke Nakamura also earning himself a booking some 15 minutes later.
Urawa gave the traveling team a fright on the half-hour mark when Marcio Richardes took a well targeted potshot from just outside the area, forcing Iikura to fully stretch out and push the ball wide of the near post. This sneaky attempt on goal was shortly followed by a far more dangerous shot goal when Tatsuya Tanaka latched onto a pass down the flank from Edmilson before sending the ball crashing into the side-netting.
With neither team managing to make the most of any clear cut chance, the half ended 0-0 with no substitutions made during the break before the second half…
The second half was much of the same with both teams still firmly playing at each other throats in search of the all important lead. The wait wasn’t to be for too long though as Shunsuke Nakamura made the most of a free-kick in the 70th minute finding the head of Kazuma Watanabe who headed the ball home to score the first goal of the game and his first goal of the season. Urawa 0 Yokohama 1.
Being a goal down, Urawa continued to play hard and dominated the ball possession for most of the remaining time on the clock but for all their hard work, they just couldn’t find an equalizer against a solid F.Marinos backline. It was then, in the 94th minute that Yokohama delivered the fatal blow when, taking full advantage of an Urawa team that had every man forward, Kunhoan hoofed the ball downpitch to Ogura who then laid it off to Oguro who then beat the keeper before gingerly rolling the ball into the empty goal. Urawa 0 Yokohama 2!
A very intensely fought game overall but Yokohama managed to make the most of their chances in turn taking all 3 points and keeping the fire of vengeance burning within the hearts of all the Reds supporters left standing silently in disbelief.
Here’s the match highlights:
Urawa Reds: Yamagishi, Ugajin, Nagata, Spiranovic, Takahashi, Richardes, Kashiwagi, Yamada, Edmilson, Tanaka, and Haraguchi
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Hato, Nakazawa, Kurihara, Kobayashi. Hyodo, Nakamura, Ogura, Taniguchi, Watanabe, and Ono.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Ono → Oguro (65), Nakamura → Kano (77), Watanabe → Kunhoan (85)
Goals: Watanabe (70), Oguro (90+4)