Heading into last night’s game against Iwata off the back of 2 straight defeats, the F.Marinos played their first home game since the passing of club legend, Naoki Matsuda. Since Naoki’s untimely passing, we lost by the same 2-0 scoreline away to both Kashiwa and Kobe and concerned feelings that what should be just a blip could in fact escalate into a much longer victory drought for us, slowly began to creep up on the F.Marinos faithful as we prepared to defend our modest record of 5 consecutive home wins.
The game was opened by a club announcement on the giant screens followed by a beautiful video tribute to Naoki Matsuda against the Eagles classic, “Desperado” which was shortly followed by both teams coming out and an immaculately observed minutes silence. Somebody has been kind enough to record the video clip and put it up on youtube so be sure to have a watch of this touching tribute to our fallen hero…
Almost as if in answer to a lot of the criticism that’s been made in regard to Oguro being in the starting eleven too often, this game started with the surprise pairing of Ono and Aria up front. I’m not sure whether this actually worked well or not because we seemed to be passing the ball around really well in midfield but Aria, not actually being a forward, found himself drifting too far back time and time again to assist with the play in midfield as opposed to moving forward into space when he should have to create more scoring opportunities. If this was Kimura’s game plan then it worked very well but I am not sure that was exactly what he had in mind. That said, the first half saw us in complete control of the game with a few close chances but nothing that could be converted into a tally on the scoreboard. Jubilo looked largely toothless throughout the first half with barely a couple of attacks on our goal that were pretty much halted in their tracks before they could really go anywhere. As such, a largely uneventful first half came to a close with both teams being at 0-0.
The second half started with yet another series of build up plays towards the Jubilo goal but it was in the 51st minute that our first real chance came about when Kanai fed a pass through to Hyodo as he dashed into the right side of the box only to be brought down, (or to be fair, he stumped his own foot into the ground and threw himself off balance but let’s not hold that against him..) and earning a penalty.
Usually a penalty is something to get excited about but not when it’s against ex-Marinos keeper, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, because the guy is known for being an accomplished shot stopper. Shunsuke Nakamura stepped up to the plate as the former teammates prepared for the inevitable. Reading the shot perfectly, Kawaguchi dived to his right to palm Nakamura’s shot onto the post and out to safety to deny us the lead.
The second half continued to grind on without any real clear cut opportunities until Coach Kimura made his first substitution in the 81st minute by bringing on Kim Kunhoan for a largely ineffective Aria. The change proved to be exactly what was needed as the intensity of the Korean defender rubbed off on everybody else and a mere 3 minutes later, Kurihara floated in a long cross from the right wing to a free Ono who was running into the box. A simple trap, step, and shot was all it took as the young number 10 blasted the ball into the back of the net to give the home side the lead. With Ono’s job done, he was swiftly subbed off for Watanabe as the F.Marinos shut up shop for the remainder of the game to secure our 6th consecutive home win and which sees us tied on points with Nagoya and just one point behind league leaders, Gamba Osaka. This Wednesday sees us playing at home to Cerezo with Gamba duking it out against Kashiwa so we must win at all costs if we are going to claim our spot at the top back!
Until then, check out these 2nd half highlights:
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Nakazawa, Kurihara, Kanai, Hyodo, Nakamura, Ogura, Taniguchi, Aria, and Ono.
Jubilo Iwata: Kawaguchi, Komano, Kaga, Koga, Nasu, Kobayashi, Rodrigo, Funatani, Yamamoto, Kanazono, and Gilsinho.
F.Marinos Substitutions: Aria → Kunhoan (81), Ono → Watanabe (87)
Goals: Ono (84)