East Asia Japan

Turtles Succumb to SEVENTH Consecutive J1 Defeat with Collapse in Saitama

Oita Trinita’s wretched run of form continues on Sunday as they blew a 2-1 half-time lead to lose 3-2 away at Urawa Red Diamonds in Matchweek 11 of the 2021 J.League 1 season. Despite a Yamato Machida brace ending a barren scoring run for the Turtles, Ricardo Rodriguez’s Urawa side roared back in the second half to condemn Oita into another week in the relegation zone, with Tomohiro Katanosaka’s men suffering their seventh consecutive league defeat.

Daigo Nishi’s 3rd minute strike gave Oita an early fright, with the former Vissel Kobe defender smashing home a first-time shot past William Popp to give Urawa the lead. However, strugglers Oita struck back in the 24th minute, with Machida rifling in his effort past Shusaku Nishikawa to draw the scoreline level.

Oita then unexpectedly gained the lead in the 24th minute with Machida completing his brace, the 31-year old midfielder seizing a through pass before leaving Urawa captain Tomoaki Makino eating the dust to score his side’s second goal of the afternoon.

Despite finishing the first half with the lead, the lack of quality within Oita’s squad – with the Turtles being stripped dry of their best assets by rival clubs during the off-season and their replacements struggling to fill in their boots – became apparent as Urawa showed their class in the final 15 minutes of the game. Makino drew the scoreline level in the 75th minute, seizing a lobbed pass from Yoshio Koizumi before dinking the ball past Popp, before Tatsuya Tanaka, a former Oita player no less, broke his former side’s hearts with an 82nd minute winner for Urawa, taking advantage of a short pass from Koizumi to easily beat Popp from close-range.

Oita then were further frustrated in the dying minutes of the match after a close-ranged shot from Kenta Inoue was deflected away by Nishikawa, sealing the Turtles’ fate.

Oita’s seventh consecutive defeat meant that they remain in the J1’s 4-team relegation zone, on 18th place with 5 points from 10 games. The fact that both 19th placed Vegalta Sendai and last-placed Yokohama FC had more wretched forms – the duo having yet to win a game this season – meant that Oita were spared the J1 basement, however the Turtles are now six points off safety.

Sunday’s other Matchweek 11 game saw Shimizu S-Pulse and Shonan Bellmare playing out a 1-1 draw at the IAI Stadium Nihondaira.