East Asia Japan

Onaiwu’s Treble Extinguishes the Gasmen

Yokohama F. Marinos have gone 10 matches without defeat after confidently dispatching FC Tokyo 3-0 in Matchweek 12 of the 2021 J.League 1 season on Saturday. Traveling to FC Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium, Yokohama ran riot over their opponents as Ado Onaiwu bagged himself a hat-trick to extinguish the Gasmen at their very own backyard.

Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama are currently in scintillating form, since losing to Kawasaki Frontale in Matchweek 1, the men in blue have yet to taste further defeat, winning six and drawing three of their next nine matches. With Kawasaki, Nagoya Grampus, and Sagan Tosu in sight within the top three, 4th placed Yokohama made the short trip across the Tama River to face-off against hosts FC Tokyo at an empty Ajinomoto Stadium, devoid of spectators due to the recent spike of COVID-19 cases within Japan.

Two minutes into the game and things were looking ominous already for Kenta Hasegawa’s FC Tokyo, as defender Takuya Uchida went off with an injury. 22-year old Sodai Hasukawa replaced Uchida, making his third appearance of the season in the process. However, Uchida’s exit was the start of FC Tokyo’s woes.

As the clock reaches the 8th minute, Elber managed to make his way into the FC Tokyo defense, attracting the attention of goalkeeper Go Hatano and his defenders. With the entirety of FC Tokyo’s defense onto him, Elber made that one decisive pass at the right moment, passing the ball short towards an available Onaiwu whilst at the same time forcing Hatano to perform a diving save. Hatano missed the ball completely, allowing Onaiwu to stab the ball into the empty net after a brief moment of struggle to give Yokohama the early lead.

Elber and Onaiwu then combined yet again in the 52nd minute to double Yokohama’s lead. Brazilian Elber outpaced Ryoya Ogawa as he paced his way through the FC Tokyo right flank, before sending a diagonal pass into the penalty area that was delightfully lapped up by Nigerian-Japanese Onaiwu, with the striker beating Hatano with relative ease.

Former Oita Trinita attacker Onaiwu then received all the rights in the world to bring the match ball home in the 61st minute, capping off a miserable day for FC Tokyo by seizing upon an Elber shot that was parried away by Hatano before smashing home the rebound, ensuring a confident 3-0 win for Yokohama and a 10th match being added to their unbeaten streak.

Saturday’s match between Vissel Kobe and Sanfrecce Hiroshima was also played at an empty stadium, with hosts Vissel running out 3-0 winners on the day Andres Iniesta made his return to the pitch after a lengthy period in the sidelines thanks to an injury that he suffered during Vissel’s 2020 AFC Champions League campaign.

There was joyous scenes at the Yurtec Stadium as Vegalta Sendai celebrated their first home win in over a year, as a Takuma Nishimura header ensured the men in yellow a narrow 1-0 win over Kashiwa Reysol, Vegalta’s first win of the 2021 season.

Avispa Fukuoka managed to stun Urawa Red Diamonds 2-0 at the Best Denki Stadium, while Tosu managed to see off Tokushima Vortis 2-0 to continue their tenure within the league’s top three spots. Last but not least, Kashima Antlers thrashed last-placed Yokohama FC 3-0 at the NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Stadium, leaving the basement dwellers as the only J1 team yet to taste victory this season.

Matchweek 12 continues on Sunday and Tuesday, with Oita welcoming Shimizu S-Pulse to the Showa Denko Dome, Shonan Bellmare squaring-off against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo at the Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka, and an Osaka Derby at an empty Nagai Stadium between Cerezo Osaka and Gamba Osaka all kicking-off on Sunday.

League leaders Kawasaki, having thrashed 2nd placed Nagoya 4-0 in a rescheduled J1 match on Thursday at the Toyota Stadium, will take on the same opponents at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium for Matchweek 12 on Tuesday.