[Match Report] Yokohama F Marinos vs. Shonan Bellmare

[Trying something new: Live Match Reports.  So, hit that refresh button to get up-to-the-second info!!!]
3pm Kick-off time. So, I will report both the Kashima Antlers vs. Vissel Kobe match simultaneously.

Yokohama F Marinos 3 – 0 Shonan Bellmare

Pre-Match:

(One of the) Kanagawa Derbies.

Yokohama F Marinos:
Yokohama F Marinos are currently (before this week’s matches began) sitting in 11th place in the league after 2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses in their first 6 matches. They are coming off of a tough loss against title contenders Urawa Reds.  In that match, Yokohama took the lead in the first half only to see Urawa score a tying goal in the last 5 minutes of the second half and the game winner a few minutes later in loss time of the first half.

From my point of view, this year’s Marinos look decent; however, their lack of concentration on defense in the late moments of the first half in their last match shows that they still need to make improvements (tactical and personnel-wise) in order to make a real challenge in the J.League.

Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1

Player I focused on: FW/CAM Ademilson – I focus on this man every time I watch a Marinos match because he seems to be gaining more and more chemistry with his new teammates each week.  His work rate is tremendous.  Not only this, but he also has very quick feet with and without the ball.  The most dangerous man on the pitch in my opinion.

Shonan Bellmare:
At the end of last week’s fixtures, Shonan Bellmare were in 13th place, which is just one point back of Yokohama F Marinos.  Shonan Bellmare has a record of 2 wins, 1 draw, and 3 losses.  Their 3 losses came at the hands of Urawa Reds, FC Tokyo, and Gamba Osaka.  These are three teams that are in the top 5 of the J.League; so, Bellmare have faced some tough opposition in their early fixtures.  One of their 2 wins was an impressive showing against Kashima Antlers, which is a team many considered to be title contenders this season.

Shonan are no pushover.  They play a very quick and aggressive style of soccer.  This has all the makings of an interesting Kanagawa Derby.

Starting Formation: 3-4-2-1 (3-4-3)

Player I focused on: DF Wataru Endo – The captain of the U22 Japanese National Team squad.  He plays as a CM/DM for the national team, but he’ll be playing his natural CB position.  He can start attacks from the back with his passing ability.  Passing from the back is something that Japanese teams have lacked in recent years, so Endo’s play and development is something the full-national team should be looking at.

1st Half:

2nd minute: Shonan Bellmare – Nice combination play through midfield created a nice chance, but Marinos DF Yuji Nakazawa picked the ball up after a heavy touch from Bellmare FW Naoki Yamada (on loan from Urawa Reds)

4th minute: Shonan Bellmare – MF Ryota Nagaki takes a mid-ranged shot, but it is saved by Marinos GK Enomoto.

8th minute: Yokohama F Marinos – GOAL – Slightly against the run of play, Manabu Saito finds MF Hyodo in the middle of the pitch and then Hyodo finds Ademilson. Ademilson takes a shot from outside of the penalty area.  Ademilson placed his shot into the far post out of the reach of Bellmare’s GK Akimoto.  With this goal, Ademilson scores his first goal in the J.League.

Yokohama F Marinos 1 – 0 Shonan Bellmare

12th minute: Yokohama F Marinos – ST Sho Ito finds himself in space after a ball is sent over the top.  He uses his body to brush off an on-coming defender and takes a shot, but it goes straight to the GK.

15th minute to 25th minute – The game looks to have settled down after Shonan Bellmare started the match positively only to have Yokohama F Marinos score the first gaol of the match.  Bellmare are putting pressure higher up the pitch in order to force mistakes from Marinos’ players and to also create short counterattack chances.

1st Half Observations:

1. Shonan Bellmare – Their quick play through midfield is creating chances for them.  ST Bruno Cesar is an essential element for their combination play because he is strong when posting up as a target man and also when checking for the ball.

2. Yokohama F Marinos – Combination play between Saito and Hyodo is creating problems for Bellmare because Saito and Hyodo have good spacing between each other and then they are able to find other players who are in space.

3. Even though Yokohama F Marinos have the lead, it is a fairly even match between the two Kanagawa-based clubs.  I expect the midfield battle to continue in the second half.

Keys for Success in the 2nd Half:

For Yokohama F Marinos:

1. Stay organized on defense.  So far, Marinos have been able to contain Bellmare’s quick counterattacking style because of their good defensive positioning.

2. During the last 5 minutes of the first half, Marinos were not able to make positive passes through the midfield to create attacks because Bellmare were putting pressure on them in the midfield.  In order to create more chances, wide players need to check to the ball quicker to give the ball holder more options before pressure is put on them.

3. Use Saito when he is further up the pitch.  I did just mention that Marinos’ wide players need to check earlier to create chances and this includes Saito. The reason for this is after checking toward the ball, this will draw Bellmare’s wide midfielders higher up the pitch, then if a winger like Saito is able to break out and make a run up the pitch, this will put defenders on their back foot and create chances for Marinos.  In other words, making an initial run negatively will create spaces in advanced areas on the pitch that can be exploited by positive runs.

For Shonan Bellmare:

1. Yokohama F Marinos’ tight defense is proving difficulty to unlock.  So, Bellmare need to find ways to create space by using their quickness.

2. Bruno Cesar’s play as a supporting target man is ineffective because Bellmare’s midfielders are not able to find him at his feet.  When Bruno Cesar does have the ball at his feet, he also almost no options forward, so his passes are very negative.

3. Yamada Naoki is a player who plays best with the ball at his feet.  I question Manager Kew-jea Cho’s decision to play Yamada, who is a natural MF, as a FW.  Yes, Yamada is good with the ball at his feet, so playing him further up the pitch might help ball retention in higher areas of the pitch at Yamada can also create decisive chances.  However, against an organized team like Yokohama F Marinos, Yamada will be marked

2nd Half:

54th minute Substitution: Shonan Bellmare – Alison on for Bruno Cesar

56th minute: Yokohama F Marinos – Saito is put through on goal from the left flank, but he flubs his shot and it is saved by Bellmare’s GK.

59th minute Substitution: Shonan Bellmare – DF Jong-pil Kim on for FW Shuhei Otsuki

61st minute: Yokohama F Marinos – Ademilson is able to turn on his defender and dribbles through the center of the pitch. He then teaks a shot from outside of the box, but it is saved.

62nd minute Substitution: Yokohama F Marinos – FW Rafinha on for FW Sho Ito

69th minute: Rafinha finds himself isolated near the left corner flag, so he drops the ball back to Hyodo who made a run into Bellmare’s penalty area despite fighting leg cramps.  Hyodo them used a cheeky back heel to find Ademilson making and overlapping run.  Ademilson aimed for the far, upper corner of the goal, but it goes agonizingly close over the goal.

70th minute Substitution: Yokohama F Marinos – MF Seitaro Tomisawa on for MF Shingo Hyodo

79th minute: Yokohama F Marinos – Bellmare were caught out of position and Marinos took advantage by launching a counter attack.  Rafinha was sprung loose on the right flank and he had Ademilson making a run toward the near side and Saito making a run on the far side.  Rafinha hit a through pass to fellow Brazilian Ademilson, but Ademilson’s shot hits the wrong side of the near side netting.

80th minute Substitution: Yokohama F Marinos – MF Shunsuke Nakamura on for Ademilson

Yokohama F Marinos – GOAL – MF Takuya Kida picks the ball off of a Bellmare player in a dangerous position and drives up the center of the pitch. Kida draws the attention of two Bellmare defenders and then lays a pass off to Saito.  Saito shot to the far post from a tight angle finds the back of the net.

Yokohama F Marinos 2 – 0 Shonan Bellmare

93rd minute: Shonan Bellmare – DF Wataru Endo unleashes a rocket from 30 meters from goal, but his shots rifles off of the crossbar.

94th minute: Yokohama F Marinos – GOAL – Rafinha picks the ball up from within Marinos’ own half and he drives past a defender.  With Bellmare committing players on offense, Rafinha had acres of space to run on into.  Rafinha then found MF Tomisawa on his right; Tomisawa then put icing on the cake with a nice placed finish to the far post.

Yokohama F Marinos 3 – 0 Shonan Bellmare

2nd Half Observations:

1. Yokohama F Marinos – if combination play between Saito and Ademilson become more dangerous this half. This will create more opportunities.  Combination play between Saito and Hyodo is looking the most dangerous at the moment.

2. Yokohama F Marinos – As in previous matches, Ademilson is floating out to the flank to find space to receive the ball.  He is also keeping a position higher up the pitch than in other matches.  Ademilson would drop deep into the midfield in previous matches to help out on defense.  He did this probably because he was new to Japanese soccer and the defensive style of Marinos’ soccer.  Now, because he is sitting higher up the pitch, he looked more dangerous.

3. Shonan Bellmare – Bellmare were able to switch the field of play a few times, but this put them on the back foot also because they were putting numbers on offense and Marinos were able to launch counters.

4. Shonan Bellmare – despite substituting in Alison early in the second half, Bellmare were not able to create clear chances.

Overall Observations:

1. Shonan Bellmare – ST Bruno Cesar did not look effective enough because he was closed down quickly by Yokohama’s defense.  Bringing on the quicker Alison on for him fairly early on in the 2nd half shows that Bellmare wanted to go to a quicker attack.

2. Yokohama F Marinos – ST Sho Ito put in a decent performance even though he did not get on the scoresheet.  He kept possession of the ball well in high position and was able to also create a few chances. Brazilian ST Rafinha came on for him in the second half and showed his strength on the ball and ability to create chances.  Ito and Rafinha are two different players.  In my mind, Ito is best in a supporting target man role because of his ability to hold the ball.  Rafinha is more of an advanced forward because of his pace, technique, and aggressiveness.

3. Yokohama F Marinos – Marinos MF Shunsuke Nakamura returns to action after ankle surgery with a 10 minute cameo appearance.  He had a few touches on the ball and put pressure on Bellmare’s back line.  It won’t be long until we see him back in the starting lineup.  However, Ademilson has been looking better and better each week in the CAM position, where Nakamura usually slots in. How will this affect Marinos’ tactics and lineup?

4. Shonan Bellmare – Tactically, they were overrun today.  They were not able to create any clear chances because of their lack of possession in Marinos’ half of the field.  My suggestion is to drop Naoki Yamada back into the midfield. This way, they will have the ability to go head to head with teams in the midfield, which they were not able to do against Marinos today.

Player of the Match: Yokohama F Marinos – Ademilson

Next fixtures (April 29th):

Yokohama F Marinos:
vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima at home.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Shimizu S Pulse 2-0 at home this afternoon with goals from Kazuhiko Chiba and Gakuto Notsuda.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima is currently in the top 5 of the league.  After both teams putting in impressive performances this week, this match next week is one to highlight.

Shonan Bellmare:
vs. Sagan Tosu at home.

Sagan Tosu drew 1-1 with Kashiwa Reysol at home this afternoon.  A second half goal from ST Yohei Toyoda cancelled out Kashiwa Reysol Leandro’s early first half strike.

Tosu will be looking to keep up their momentum in the league against Shonan next week.  However, Shonan will also want to get back on track after losing convincingly today.

The matchup between Tosu’s ST Toyoda and Shonan’s DF Endo is something to look forward to.

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