Just 4 days after the welcome 1-0 win over Jubilo, our boys found themselves playing host to Cerezo Osaka at a very wet Mitsuzawa stadium. I didn’t take an umbrella because the forecast said nothing about rain but oh boy did it piss down on my balding bonce!
Coach Kimura obviously liked what he saw on Saturday as he decided to start with Ono and Aria up front again. And to both of their credit, they did a pretty solid job. Aria to me seemed a little out of his comfort zone last game but this time round he was very much an unknown quantity to the traveling boys in pink as he pushed forward with tenacity and increasingly kept opening up the Cerezo defence for through balls to Ono. This time round he knew what he needed to do and did it well.
The first half was a steady blitz on the Cerezo backline with the first goal coming in from a superb cross from the right flank by Ono as he found a free Hyodo charging into the box to lunge forward and volley the ball into the back of the net in the 15th minute.
Despite going a goal down early, Cerezo didn’t let up the pace and they came close a few times themselves with Bando constantly threatening our goal but thankfully letting himself down with the final shot on goal as he repeatedly hit the ball the wide or right at Iikura. Bando smashed in a hat-trick last week against S-Pulse after coming on as a sub so this was one player we couldn’t allow to slip through. Fortunately, despite us letting him get free, he was unable to shoot properly in the slippery conditions and thus we were able to recompose ourselves after most of his attacks with a goal kick.
Yokohama kept applying the pressure and in the 44th minute we extended our lead when Shunsuke Nakamura got hold of a loose ball in the box to hammer the ball home. The goal however came at a price as Shunsuke fell to floor clutching his left knee the moment he kicked the ball home. It was later revealed that evening that he tore a ligament in his left knee and that his recovery would take at least 3-4 weeks. Ouch.
The lack of Shunsuke in midfield became quickly apparent as the second half got under way. Cerezo were throwing everything they had at us and all we seemed to do in return was launch the ball down the pitch in hope of finding Ono or Kunhoan. The long-ball tactic was clearly not working and in the 59th minute, Sugimoto scored one for Osaka as he neatly turned the ball around Kobayashi before slotting the ball past Iikura. This was almost the tipping point as we seemed to struggle like crazy to keep them at bay for the remainder of the game with most of our half-chances coming from an overly stretched Kunhoan and Ono as they ran like horses up and down to collect long ball after long ball. It wasn’t pretty but we somehow seemed to survive long enough for the Ref to blow full-time as we collected another 3 points to take our run of consecutive home wins to 7.
Here’s the highlights:
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Kurihara, Nakazawa, Kanai, Ogura, Hyodo, Taniguchi, Nakamura, Aria, and Ono.
Cerezo Osaka: Kim, Maruhashi, Uemoto, Moniwa, Sakemoto, Kiyotake, Ogihara, Yamaguchi, Kurata, Fabio Lopes, and Bando
F.Marinos Substitutions: Nakamura → Watanabe (46), Aria → Kunhoan (55), Ono → Amano (85)
Goals: Hyodo (15), Nakamura (44), Sugimoto (59)