East Asia Japan

Matsuo at the Double as YFC Stun Reds

Yusuke Matsuo was the hero for Yokohama FC as the newly promoted club pulled off a stunning 2-0 away win at Urawa Red Diamonds on Saturday. 23-year old Matsuo scored a brace as Takahiro Shimotaira’s charges shrugged off an Urawa side that saw most of the ball possession and shots at the Saitama Stadium 2002, allowing Yokohama FC to leave their J.League 1 Matchweek 19 encounter with their sixth win of the season.

While Yokohama FC’s previous outing – a 3-2 away defeat at league leaders Kawasaki Frontale – was highlighted by the presence of veteran trio Shunsuke Nakamura, Daisuke Matsui, and Kazuyoshi Miura in the starting lineup, Shimotaira opted for a much younger squad for Saturday’s away trip to Urawa, with 37-year old Brazilian attacking midfielder Leandro Domingues the oldest player in Yokohama FC’s starting lineup.

Matsuo opened the scoreline for Yokohama FC in the 16th minute, receiving the ball from Kohei Tezuka before firing off a curling shot from the edge of the Urawa penalty box. Urawa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa went the right way however the ball went into the goal a mere seconds before Nishikawa’s gloves could make contact with it.

Midfielder Matsuo, in his sophomore year with Yokohama FC, added to his team’s advantage in the 35th minute. Domingues sent a long through pass towards Matsuo, who outpaced Urawa’s Australian defender Thomas Deng before beating Nishikawa with a well-taken shot.

Urawa tried their best to chase the game for the remainder of the match, with head coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki deploying veterans Tomoya Ugajin and Shinzo Koroki to enhance his team’s attacking capabilities. However, the addition of the experienced duo fail to add any killer instinct to a frustrated Urawa side, whose best chance of the game saw Leonardo’s shot going over the crossbar in the 70th minute.

In the end, Yokohama FC did well to clung onto their 2-0 lead and left the Saitama Stadium 2002 with a valuable win and all three points in the bag.

Saturday’s other J1 action saw Nagoya Grampus trouncing Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 at the Toyota Stadium, while a brace from Kyogo Furuhashi powered Vissel Kobe to victory as they demolished Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 4-0 at the Misaki Park Stadium – their second straight win after the resignation of head coach Thorsten Fink.

Matchweek 19 continues on Sunday, with Cerezo Osaka eking out a 3-2 win away at Vegalta Sendai courtesy of a last-minute goal from substitute Hiroshi Kiyotake in the early kick-off. With that out of the way, Sagan Tosu are set to host FC Tokyo at the Ekimae Real Estate Stadium in the late afternoon kick-off, while the evening matches saw Kashima Antlers take on Oita Trinita at the Kashima Soccer Stadium, Sanfrecce Hiroshima welcome Gamba Osaka to the Hiroshima Big Arch, defending J1 champions Yokohama F. Marinos facing-off against 2019 J.League 2 champions Kashiwa Reysol at the Hitachi Stadium Kashiwa, and current leaders Kawasaki paying struggling Shonan Bellmare a visit at the Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka.