And now comes the reason why we travelled. A brief recap or ‘previously on Tricolore Pride’…
Live in Melbourne Australia, follow Melbourne Victory (the ‘One Team in Melbourne’), also follow from afar Yokohama F. Marinos, both teams are playing each other in the group stages of the 2014 ACL, hence family on plane to Japan to see Victory play Yokohama at the Nissan. Right, up to speed?
With Saturday’s F. Marinos songs still ringing in our ears, come Wednesday afternoon we had to turn our attention to supporting our Melbourne team, who themselves (like Yokohama currently) are juggling playing regular season matches and mid week ACL matches.
While Victory claimed the 3 points in Melbourne just a couple of weeks earlier (see previous pictures and story in this blog), it was against a Yokohama side minus a few of the big guns – Shunsuke Nakamura, Yuji Nakazawa, to name a couple of some of the usual starting XI that missed the trip to Melbourne.
While Coach Higuchi could be questioned for underestimating his opponents in that match, in an ironic copy of Higuchi a couple of weeks earlier, it was Victory’s coach Kevin Muscat who went into the return Yokohama away leg with a few of Victory’s starting XI missing from the line up. It appears squad rotation to compete (or juggle) in both domestic and confederation competitions was high in the minds of both Higuchi and Muscat. While this would normally be cause for concern, as a Victory supporter, time and again over the past couple of years we have seen our younger players step up to take on these challenges and generally perform quite well.
Hence when a couple of Victory supporters got together pre-match for drinks, there was a quite confidence the boys would do us proud.
After the short walk to the Nissan, we were directed around to the visiting supporters end, to find several expats and others there to join us support the Victory. In all about 30 people were in the away supporters area, doing our bit to support the Victory boys.
Now while hearing about away supporters in a Yokohama F. Marinos blog is not what most readers want to hear, but the away end does give you a great view of the Yokohama supporters end. They easily out sung us for volume but their co-ordinated displays were a sight to behold. We dealt with the lack of volume down our end by occasional changing the Tricolore lyrics in their songs to our Victory lyrics we usually sing. We found out later some of the visiting Western Sydney Wanderers fans (who played Kawasaki Frontale the evening before in their Group H ACL match) were there with the Tricolore fans, to sing against us as well. At least they were learning from the best, and according to their social media reports, loved the experience like we did the previous weekend.
But to the game itself, and an early penalty awarded to the Victory saw us go 1-0 up earlier in the first half, but once composed, the Marinos pair of Ito Sho and Nakamachi Kosuke slotted 2 in the back of the onion bag, too have Victory trailing 2-1 at half time. Late in the second half a goal by Hyodo Shingo looked to seal the result for Yokohama, but an extra time goal by Victory’s James Jeggo brought the scoreline back to 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Victory that was all that could be done, as the scoreline finished with Yokohama claiming the win with a 3-2 scoreline. But unfortunately for the F. Marinos, that late goal by Jeggo enabled Victory to keep the better goal difference and hence the 3rd position on the Group G table, with Marinos anchoring the table, but on equal points.
While it is still possible for either of Yokohama or Melbourne to still get a top 2 spot to progress to the knockout round of the ACL, with two rounds left, this is becoming a bigger ask for both our teams.
After the match we slowly made our way around the stadium, catching up with happy (well happier now, than they were on the previous Saturday) F. Marinos fans. We had some Victory stickers to give to some of the kids, my wife was swapping scarfs with some Tricolore girls, and finally we caught up with Brendan, Stuart, Chris, and Han for a few laughs, stories, and eventually a few ales in a restaurant resembling Bruce Wayne’s Bat-Cave.
Unfortunately, being mid week, the following day’s work commitments meant the need to catch the last trains for the night. This is when we had to say our last goodbyes, and express our appreciation for catching up with Brendan, Stuart, Chris, Han, and Daniel. Thanks for all the work that goes into Tricolore Pride, and we hope to return to the Nissan soon to lend our voices to Yokohama F. Marinos, once more.
That was our Yokohama F. Marinos experience – we have seen them 3 times in the last 3 weeks. That’s so cool.
Cheers to all, and best of luck for the rest of the season.