Statistics are great things for trainspotters and baseball fans, but they usually don’t play such a memorable role in football. But today’s memorial moment should pop up in a pub quiz or two at Sheva several years down the track.
Leading up to the game between Yamagata and our lads, there was a lot of talk around who it would be to pick up the 1000th goal for the F.Marinos in the J-League. It would have been somewhat appropriate if it was Shunsuke, Marinos most successful product, but with him not taking part the opportunity would hopefully be taken by someone else.
Yokohama F.Marinos fans were not disappointed when in the 44th minute Kurihara; a homegrown talent and the only current international in the squad, sailed into the air and easily headed in a nice cross from Kanai on the left flank. A good squad of Yokohama faithful celebrated in the rain as the F.Marinos went into the half-time break a goal in front.
The 1000th goal had obviously been talked about pre-game by the players and Aria must have had money on himself to win at 100-1 when in the 8th minute he tried to sneak one past the keeper from outside of 40m. Whilst that was a bit of a sighter, he parried one of his chest and hit a sweet half volley at the 1/4 hour mark only to see it take a big deflection off the crossbar.
With pitch conditions becoming very wet as the game wore on, it was probably no wetter than Yamagata’s desire to score… a goal. They were thrusting forward throughout the second half and although overall it was the Marinos who had double the shots on goal and corner kicks of the opposition, they did have their chances. But the gloveman Iikura was always quick to mop up the mess and had a good game in the box, to keep his sheet clean (Please take this opportunity to make a comment below about the large amount of inappropriate/insightful sexual references in the last paragraph).
Coach Kimura can be credited with the next goal, as his decision for a double change later in the game played fruitfully in the 94th minute of the game while Montedio tried hard for the equalizer. Watanabe was still eager to win the ball and after winning the ball in the midfield, received a nice through ball from Kim Kun hoan and with a touch to set himself up struck it past a sprawling keeper to bag the 3 points and begin the countdown to the next 1000 goals.
The best result of the goal was not the fact that it sealed the game. It actually meant that Marinos go into 2nd spot on the ladder thanks to goal difference and 1 place ahead of our prefectural rivals Kawasaki. This is very timely with the grudge match to take place at Nissan this Sunday.
Here’s the highlights for your viewing pleasure…
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kurihara, Kobayashi, Nakazawa, Kanai, Ogura, Hyodo, Aria, Taniguchi, Oguro, and Ono.
Albirex Niigata: Uekusa, Ishii, Miyamoto, Sonoda, Yamada, Miyazawa, Funayama, Satou, Oota, Hirose, and Okubo.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Oguro → Kunhoan (67), Aria → Watanabe (67), Ono → Amano (90+2)
Goals: Kurihara (44), Watanabe (90+4).