Originally a game that was supposed to be our home opener back in March, the Kanagawa Derby finally landed against a far more competitive backdrop as both teams being equal on points, fought to be the team that would well and truly take 2nd place in the league table and be just a point’s difference from the top…
The Kanagawa Derby is always a popular event and last night was no exception with attendance reaching just short of 30,000 people (a pretty good turnout considering it was a Sunday evening game). This year was always going to be a fierce grudge match between both teams due to the fact that we have swapped players and nobody wants to be proven wrong for the transfer decisions that were made. We inherited Taniguchi from Kawasaki who has been an absolute gem for us whilst we “offloaded” Yusuke Tanaka and Koji Yamase at the end of last season, not to mention Takanobu Komiyama the year before that too. So, needless to say, both teams know each other VERY well. (It may also be worth noting for the sake of those supporters that may not know that, with the exception of Yamase, all the players that left us to join Kawasaki, WANTED to. This is why Komiyama and Tanaka got booed. Yamase got a clap)
The lead-up to the game was marred in slight controversy too as somebody from the F.Marinos support group apparently unfurled an “offensive” banner at the end of the Yamagata game which was of a provocative nature towards Kawasaki fans. Kawasaki paid back in kind with a subtle banner at the Nissan last night with the names of Yamase, Tanaka, and Komiyama displayed alongside the number of goals they scored that helped us towards our recent 1000th goal tally. A little cheeky but in essence it was probably a ploy to discourage us from booing Yusuke and Komiyama. It didn’t work.
And so, with the whistle blown to signal the first half, both teams came out to make a point…
The first half was very much Kawasaki’s game. They were throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at us and, after just 22 minutes, they made their first breakthrough that would get them onto the scoreboard. Capitalizing on an early corner-kick from Kengo Nakamura, Shibasaki was able to latch onto a poorly cleared ball with a thunderous half-volley to send the ball crashing into the post before rebounding out at a bizarre angle into the back of Iikura before being deflected into the back of the net. A cruel own goal of pinball proportions!
Kawasaki didn’t let up either, as they continued to mount attack after attack with varying success. Iikura was called on again and again to save our blushes as he stopped chance after chance with some truly fantastic positioning and pre-empting. Yokohama finally brought themselves back into the game in the 37th minute when Kurihara floated in a lovely ball from the halfway line to a prowling Oguro who, bringing the ball down with a single touch, slyly managed to poke the ball past the keeper into the inside post to draw level. With both teams locked at 1-1, the first half came to a close leaving the supporters from both teams hopeful that the second half would deliver…
The second half was an equally well fought half as both teams sought to stamp their authority on the game. Again, and this could just be me but, Kawasaki looked the more lethal of the sides as they continued to threaten the flanks. The F.Marinos certainly weren’t without chances of their own though as Watanabe came close after just 5 minutes when headed a powerful header on goal only to see it hit the turf and bounce up over the crossbar.
Kawasaki continued to threaten but it was a moment of sheer brilliance in the 71st minute from Watanabe that saw us take the lead when, after receiving a short pass forward, he took just two steps forward, glanced up at goal, and buried the ball into the top left corner from outside the area to send the home fans into hysteria.
Respect is due to Frontale though as they never once backed down despite going a goal behind. In fact, the final 20 minutes was mainly Kawasaki taking potshots at Iikura and hitting the woodwork time and time again. Nerve-wrecking wasn’t the word as we held on for dear life throughout extra-time (which was supposed to be 3 minutes but ended up being more than 5!) until the final whistle was blown and the home crowd cheered out in elation as we secured all 3 points to move 1 point off top place.
A great game with a greater result; well done boys!!
here’s the highlights…
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Kurihara, Nakazawa, Kanai, Ogura, Taniguchi, Hyodo, Aria, Oguro, and Ono.
Kawasaki Frontale: Aizawa, Tanaka, Igawa, Kikuchi, Komiyama, Shibasaki, Inamoto, Nakamura, Yamase, Yajima, and Juninho.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Aria → Watanabe (46), Oguro → Kunhoan (69), Ono → Amano (87)
Goals: Own Goal (22), Oguro (37), Watanabe (71)