[Match Report] Yokohama F Marinos vs. Sagan Tosu

Yokohama F Marinos 1 – 0 Sagan Tosu

Yokohama F. Marinos also made some adjustments:
1. Nakamichi started in place of Mikado
2. Manabu Saito started further up the pitch
3. Ademilson started under Saito.

Starting Formation: 4-4-1-1
Player I focused on: Ademilson (FW)

Sagan Tosu made a few changes from their last J.League match against Gamba Osaka:
1. Naoki Kikuchi came in to the back line
2. Taniguchi moved up to the midfield in place of Takahashi.

Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1
Player I focused on: Min-woo Kim (LM)

1st Half:

In the 9th minute, Saito controlled the ball nicely outside right side of the of the penalty area to set himself up for a left-footed shot that went wide of the far post.  Less than 10 minutes later, Ademilson showed a flash of his technical skill by doing a deceiving step-over to get by a defender. The defender was completely fooled and ended up fouling Ademilson.  Saito again had a chance in the 27th minute with a scissor kick, but his volley went over the crossbar.  Fujimoto sent Saito a nice pass into the area, but Saito’s shot was blocked by a defender. On the ensuing corner kick, Yuji Nakazawa attempted a volley after a short clear from a Tosu defender, but his shot was sent over into the stands.

At the end of the first half, Tosu took their first shot of the match.  The halftime whistle sounded with the Marinos taking 7 shots to Tosu’s 1 shot.

1st Half Observations:

1. Ademilson floated to the left flank quite often and his combination play created a lot of problems for Tosu’s defense.
2. When Ademilson floated out to the left flank, Saito would strategically position himself so he could receive a pass and go in on goal.
3. Majority of Marinos’ attacks came from the left flank because Ademilson’s movement into that area.
4. The Marinos’ midfield was organized and compact in the center of the pitch; thus, cutting off service to Tosu ST Yohei Toyoda and CAM Kei Ikeda.  This left the opposite flank of Marinos’ defense vulnerable, but Tosu were able to complete just one long, accurate pass to switch the field of play.
5. Tosu’s LF Min-woo Kim did not look dangerous and menacing as his usually does.  This is because the Marinos defense was very organized.

2nd Half:

The first clear cut chance came to Tosu. Ikeda found himself with the ball at his feet in the middle of the Marinos’ penalty area, but could not hit his shot cleanly and it was saved. Tosu became more active offensively and looked more likely to score despite Yokohama’s dominance in the shooting department. However, the breakthrough in the match was provided by Shingo Hyodo in the 81st minute.  Marinos had some nice build-up play through the midfield and the ball was slotted to Yuzo Kobayashi on the right of the penalty area.  Instead of shooting, he sent a dangerous ball into the center of the area which was picked up by Takumi Shimohira on the left side of the penalty area.  Shimohira took a shot that was blocked by Tosu GK  Akihiro Hayashi, but the ball fell to Hyodo, who then made no mistake. 1 nil to the Yokohama F Marinos.

With Tosu looking for a late equalizer, the Marinos were able to slot a ball through to Saito who was 1-vs-1 with GK Hayashi.  Hayashi cut off Saito’s angle well So Saito was forced to cut wide to the right, Saito sent a cross in but substitute Sho Ito’s volley went well over and wide of the goal.

Tosu almost grabbed a 90th minute equalizer after Kota Mizunuma, who is a former Yokohama F Marinos player, send in a beautiful direct cross into the box.  ST Toyoda got his head on it and the ball was goal bound until Marinos GK Tetsuya Enomoto made a superb save to keep the shot from hitting the back of the net.

2nd Half Observations:

1. Saito started to float out to the right flank, and Ademilson would position himself in the center of the pitch. This gave Yokohama more variety offensively.  Ademilson also floated out to the right flank at times.
2. Yuzo Kobayashi did a good job of closing down Tosu’s Min-woo Kim, and Kim was eventually substituted.
3. Even though Hyodo scored the game-winner, he was very inconsistent.  He would miss tackles and make bad passes which would put the Marinos on their back foot.

Comparison of Yokohama F Marinos’ Play from Week 2 to Week 3:

1. As mentioned in last weeks post (FC Tokyo vs. Yokohama F Marinos), Fabio’s presence in the Marinos’ midfield has given the team more balance offensively and defensively.  He is strong in the air, good in the tackle, can play short passes to keep possession, and can hit a splitting through ball to create chances.
2. Min-woo Kim was not dangerous on the left flank for Sagan Tosu.  This could have been Yokohama’s aim for playing down their left flank, Tosu’s right flank, so Kim couldn’t spurt any quick counterattacks.
3. Ademilson playing under the ST instead of playing ST gave him more freedom on the pitch.  With this freedom, he controlled the match.  He hardly lost the ball and was able to take on defenders 1-vs-1.

Next fixtures (April 3rd & 4th):

Sagan Tosu plays Kashima Antlers away.  At the moment Kashima has a one goal lead over the Nagoya Grampus Eight in Nagoya.

The Yokohama F Marinos will meet Kashiwa Reysol away.  Reysol lost an entertaining match against Niigata Albirex 3-2 in Niigata.

I will also write up a match report for the late match between Montedio Yamagata vs. Kawasaki Frontale.

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