Football Tribe SEA Editor
The first Yokohama Derby in 13 years headlined Wednesday’s J.League 1 fixtures, with defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos hosting newly promoted Yokohama FC at the Nissan Stadium in a Matchweek 6 fixture. Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama has been struggling throughout the early part of the season, however the defending champions got their swagger and mojo back on Wednesday as they demolished their city rivals 4-0 to claw their way to 11th on the table.
The histories of both Yokohama and Yokohama FC were closely intertwined, with the decision to merge Yokohama Flugels with Yokohama Marinos to create Yokohama F. Marinos in 1999 being met with resentment by the Flugels fans, who proceeded to create their own team – Yokohama FC, the first fan-owned football club in Japan. Despite this bitter history, meetings between the two city rivals are quite rare thanks to Yokohama FC spending most of their time in the second tier J.League 2 while Yokohama became an established J1 side. Thus Wednesday’s meeting was hotly anticipated by fans from both teams, even though the cap on attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 meant that only a limited few got to witness the latest edition of the Yokohama Derby.
Yokohama FC started off brightly against their more established counterparts, with Japan U-20 striker Koki Saito firing off a shot that smashed the crossbar in the 15th minute. However, 16 minutes later, Takahiro Shimotaira’s men found themselves falling behind after defender Masakazu Tashiro inadvertently scored into his own net as he attempted to prevent a Marcos Junior cross from reaching Yokohama teammate Edigar Junio in front of the Yokohama FC goal.
Marcos, who scored a brace in Yokohama’s last outing, a 4-2 defeat at Kashima Antlers, continued his good scoring form in the 56th minute. Teruhito Nakagawa laid the ball off towards Marcos, who managed to remain onside long enough to tap the ball into Yuta Minami’s net – Marcos’ fourth goal in five J1 matches.
Now two goals down, Yokohama FC tried to claw a goal to keep themselves alive in the game, with substitute Yuki Kusano coming close to reducing the deficit in the 61st minute. Kusano managed to beat the offside trap to earn himself a one-on-one duel with Yokohama custodian Yuji Kajikawa, only for his shot to hit the goalpost.
Four minutes later Yokohama struck again, scoring a third goal that surely put the game beyond Yokohama FC’s reach. Keita Endo, who’s linked with a loan move to German Bundesliga side Union Berlin, performed an acrobatic header after receiving a cross from substitute Kota Mizunuma to make it 3-0 for the hosts.
Endo then turned from scorer to provider in the 72nd minute, crossing the ball towards Edigar who finished it off with a well-timed shot to kill the game off. The 4-0 scoreline lasted all the way until full-time, ensuring a dominant win for Yokohama over their city rivals.
Elsewhere, substitute Yu Kobayashi led the comeback for Kawasaki Frontale, who were 2-0 down at half-time away at Vegalta Sendai. Kobayashi scored a brace as Kawasaki turned the game around and emerged out 3-2 winners, ensuring that their unbeaten record is preserved for another week. Nagoya Grampus also extended their own unbeaten run, thrashing Oita Trinita 3-0 at the Showa Denko Dome in Oita.
Sagan Tosu finally got themselves their first league goal of the season as they force Shimizu S-Pulse to a 1-1 draw at the Ekimae Real Estate Stadium, while 1-1 was also the final score at the Sapporo Dome as Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and FC Tokyo shared the points. The Hanshin Derby between Cerezo Osaka and Vissel Kobe ended goalless at Cerezo’s Nagai Stadium, while Urawa Red Diamonds were crushed 4-0 by Kashiwa Reysol at the Saitama Stadium 2002. Gamba Osaka edged out visiting Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0, while Kashima were brought back to reality in the harshest way possible after the 8-time J1 champions were stunned 1-0 by Shonan Bellmare at the Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka.
With Matchweek 6 all done and dusted, both Kawasaki and Nagoya became the league’s new pacesetters, with Kawasaki leading the way with 16 points and Nagoya closely behind them with 14 points, both teams are yet to experience defeat in the 2020 J1 season. FC Tokyo and Osaka sides Gamba and Cerezo rounded off the top five. Meanwhile, Shimizu remained bottom of the league as they searched for their first win of the season, with Kashima and Tosu completing the bottom three.