So after coming back from Osaka with only half the amount of points we wanted, it was only fitting that we played our first home game back at Castle Mitsuzawa against a more than up for it Niigata side.
Despite the end result, it was a bit of a bland game to be honest. We started out strong by pushing forward hard from the get-go but we were constantly upended by the solid Albirex defence and couldn’t really make anything of the numerous chances we made. Thankfully, Yuzo Kobayashi was able to break the deadlock in the 31st minute when he ran into the right side of the box to collect a cross before having his legs taken away from beneath him courtesy of a clumsy tackle from behind by an Albirex defender. Naturally it was not only a yellow card but also a PK which Hyodo calmly converted by drilling the ball low and left past the keeper to give us the lead.
Sadly the remainder of the game was largely uneventful with our lack of Shunsuke Nakamura being glaringly obvious. There’s no denying that our entire team is pretty much built around the guy so when he’s not available it’s always gonna be tough to find some cohesion in midfield. Another clear detriment to our current first team (in my humble opinion) is the repeated inclusion of Oguro in the starting eleven. He’s a good player when subbed on but give him too much time and he’ll squander a lot of chances. Point in case being that he fluffed a whopping 10 shots on goals with the only one on target being weaker than Japanese washing detergent.
He needs some more bench action frankly. I say we should let Matsumoto Sho have a go in his place!
Still, 3 points is 3 points and I ain’t gonna complain about taking all 3 home!
Here’s the highlights…
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kurihara, Kobayashi, Nakazawa, Kanai, Ogura, Taniguchi, Hyodo, Aria, Oguro, and Ono.
Albirex Niigata: Ozawa, Fujita, Chiba, Ono, Ishikawa, Kobayashi, Honma, Mikado, Kogure, Lopes, and Kawamata.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Kurihara → Aoyama (56), Ono → Kunhoan (76), Oguro → Watanabe (87)
Goals: Hyodo (31)