Football Tribe Thailand
J1 League Champions Yokohama F Marinos continued their excellent continental form with a dominating win over Sydney FC at the Yokohama International Stadium.
Ange Postecoglou’s men started the game with intensity, circulating the ball at breakneck pace and showing great determination and hunger to close-down the opponent whenever possession was lost. The Sky Blues barely made it out of their own half and soon conceded when Marinos won the ball near their penalty box, and Ado Onaiwu’s strike deflected past the powerless Andrew Redmayne.
Right-winger Teruhito Nakagawa made it 2-0 with a delightful chip in the 31st minute, with Thiago Martins’s surgical pass and Marcos Júnior’s simple flick setting the J.League MVP through on goal.
Things went from bad to worst for the visitor when Nakagawa netted his second of the night, just two minutes later. Sydney FC retreated too deep and failed to push forward away from their box as a unit. Left-back Joel King played Nakagawa onside, and it was no problem for Theerathon Bunmathan to pick his teammate out with a decisive assist.
Steve Corica’s men couldn’t be more happy to hear the half-time whistle as they ended the first 45 with merely 29% possession and 0 shots at Marinos’ net.
Unfortunately for Corica, the home team returned to the pitch with the exact energy they left off. A swift counter-attacking move by Keita Endo, Marcos Júnior and finished by Onaiwu handed Marinos their 4th and final goal of the game.
Substitute forward Trent Buhagiar nearly netted a consolation goal but his low-shot drove just wide off the post, and that was as close as Sydney FC got to hurting Marinos.
This is hands down the most convincing performance any team has produced in this year’s AFC Champions League thus far. Posetcoglou blew Sydney FC away with his press and possession style of football, ending the match with 69% ball possession, 23 shots, 8 of which was on target, yielding 4 quality goals. Proving, yet again, why he is regarded as Australia’s finest head coach working today.
What makes this triumph even more special is the fact that it’s so hard to pick out one standout performer from Yokohama F Marinos. Marcos Júnior put in a tireless shift in the number 10 role, harassing opponent’s in their own territory and often sprinting back to help out in defense.
No player on the pitch played more passes compared to midfielder Takahiro Ogihara (101). The 28-year-old’s vision connected the side together, in particular, on the left flank. Hence why, left-winger, Keita Endo and left-back Theerathon looked so lively throughout the game.
Overall, a deserved win for Yokohama F Marinos against a strong Sydney FC – top of the A-League and on a run of five straight wins. One may look at the final scoreline and point to the gap between the two leagues. Yet, watching the game, it’s clear that Marinos won because they were relentless. The starting XI and substitutes played to the best of their ability for the full 90 minutes. This is why they won – not entirely because Sydney FC is a poor team.