2022 J.League 1 champions Yokohama F. Marinos has clinched the 2023 Japanese Super Cup after beating 2022 Emperor’s Cup champions Ventforet Kofu 2-1 at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon. Yokohama’s triumph didn’t came without controversy, though, as Ventforet had a late equalizer disallowed for offside, which would surely change the tide of the game should it had been allowed to stood.
Ventforet, who struggled throughout the 2022 J.League 2 campaign as they finished 18th in the second tier, captured the imagination of neutrals as they shockingly won the 2022 Emperor’s Cup, and on Saturday they managed to do themselves proud once again by keeping up with Kevin Muscat’s Yokohama side, who were the overwhelming favorites to win the match and had the men from Yamanashi Prefecture in the back-foot in terms of possession.
Having lost key strikers Teruhito Nakagawa and Leo Ceara during the off-season, it was Elber who gave Yokohama the lead in the 31st minute. Anderson Lopes squared the ball off towards his fellow Brazilian Elber, who fired off a powerful shot that went beyond the reaches of Ventforet goalkeeper Kohei Kawata.
Veteran striker Peter Utaka drew things level for Yoshiyuki Shinodá’s Venforet side in the 44th minute, taking advantage of a Yoshiki Torikai ball to fire home past Yokohama custodian Powell Obinna Obi. VAR had to intervene as it was thought that former Kyoto Sanga man Utaka was offside in the goal’s buildup, but a lengthy review showed otherwise and thus the equalizer stood.
Former Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo man Anderson was very influential throughout the match and the Brazilian worked his magic once again in the 61st minute, rifling in a shot that struck the goalpost. Takuma Nishimura reacted the quickest to the rebounded shot and beat Kawata with a simple tap-in.
Ventforet pushed men forward in their search for an equalizer and they got what their looking for in injury time after Eduardo Mancha had placed the ball into Powell’s goal. However, much to the anger of the Ventforet camp, the goal was ruled out for offside and Yokohama successfully hung on for their first ever Japanese Super Cup title in their seventh attempt.