East Asia Japan

Yokohama FC Edge Out Shimizu in Bottom Half Clash

Matchweek 12 of the 2020 J.League 1 season kicked-off on Saturday night, with a bottom half clash between strugglers Shimizu S-Pulse and newly promoted Yokohama FC at the IAI Stadium Nihondaira in Shizuoka Prefecture. Visitors Yokohama FC managed to equal their win tally from their previous campaign in the top flight after edging out Shimizu 3-2, a result that propelled them off the J1’s bottom half.

Yokohama FC’s previous J1 campaign in the 2007 season was a dismal one, relegated after being dead last on the J1 table with only 4 wins to their name. However, it only took Takahiro Shimotaira’s Yokohama FC side 12 matches to match their predecessors from 13 years ago, after an exciting encounter with Shimizu at the scenic IAI Stadium Nihondaira.

Yokohama FC were well-known for being a team of senators – players aged 30 and above, however it was the youth that powered the Kanagawa Prefecture-based side to three points on Saturday. 19-year old Koki Saito opened the scoreline for the visitors in the 25th minute as his rocket of a shot caught Shimizu goalie Togo Umeda by surprise.

The hosts then hit back in the 44th minute, with Renato Augusto Junior managed to wrestle the ball off Yokohama FC in the midfield before sending a through ball to Shota Kaneko, who rifled in a goal from the right side of the area. However, the tied scoreline did not last long as Yokohama FC took the lead once again on the stroke of half-time, after 28-year old striker Yusuke Minagawa struck the ball home with a diving header, having received an excellent cross from Brazilian right-back Maguinho in the build-up.

23-year old Yusuke Matsuo then scored Yokohama FC’s third of the night four minutes into the second half, capping off an excellent counterattacking move from the visitors. Matsuo went all the way from the halfway line with the ball, cutting his way into the Shimizu defense from the left side of the pitch before firing a shot that went beyond Umeda’s reaches.

Ryo Takeuchi did grab another consolation goal for Shimizu in the dying minutes of the match, however it was all that Peter Cklamovski’s men could muster as Yokohama FC hung on for the 3-2 win and the three points.

The three points meant that Yokohama FC rocketed their way to 10th on the J1 table, while Shimizu remained 16th.

Matchweek 12 continues on Sunday with a good chunk of the matchweek’s action occurring on that day. League leaders Kawasaki Frontale are looking to go 12 matches unbeaten as they visit Nagoya Grampus, while Kashima Antlers take on Gamba Osaka at the Kashima Soccer Stadium. Vissel Kobe have a tricky away tie at Urawa Red Diamonds to navigate, while FC Tokyo welcome basement dwellers Shonan Bellmare to the Ajinomoto Stadium. Defending J1 champions Yokohama F. Marinos take on Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Nissan Stadium, while Vegalta Sendai pay Cerezo Osaka a visit. Last but not least, Oita Trinita are set to lock horns with Kashiwa Reysol at the Showa Denko Dome.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, on the other hand, are having the entire matchweek off due to Sagan Tosu’s COVID-19 situation, which prompted the latter to shutter themselves off until August 25th. The Consadole match will be Tosu’s last postponed J1 match and barring future developments, the Kyushu-based side are set to take action once again on Matchweek 13.