|Goals||Takanobu Komiyama 67|
|Yellow Cards||Yuzo Kurihara|
Kashima is like another world. A sprawling nothing of nothingness on reclaimed land from the ocean. Some believe it would be better if they just resunk the whole place. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much to sink. Except for the league champions and their best friend, Mr Anazawa, aka Mr Anazaworld because that is where most of his decisions come from.
Sunday was no different. It perhaps was a give away when Anazaworld and his assistants came out dressed as they did and, as sure as eggs are eggs, all the big decisions went the way of the home team. Of course, we did get a few calls our way, generally in and around the centre circle where they weren’t going to do any harm.
For the Antlers, though, Mr Anazaworld was so generous that he decided fouls outside the box were so heinous that they deserved to be penalties. How very kind of him, MOIST must have missed the FIFA directive that gave the referees the right to extend the boundaries of the penalty area of the away team whilst making the home teams box a no foul zone.
All-in-all it was a crying shame that Anazaworld had to tarnish an otherwise excellent encounter. Neither team deserved to be on the receiving end of his nonsense, especially a very competitive Marinos side who proved they can match up with the big guns, kept a strong Antlers team relatively quiet and deserved a share of the spoils.
There were still some problems up front where Roni and Oshima just haven’t clicked yet. Once again, however, Roni was full of running and, MOIST still believes, one goal away from a 20 goal season. Behind them Lopes had a bit of a nightmare in the terrible conditions. He hasn’t quite made that leap from J2 to J1 but only 3 league games into the new season there is still plenty of time. Added to that was the fact that Koji was clearly looking drained from his midweek outing and couldn’t fully get up to the pace of the game.
With all that said and done, though, the Antlers had to fight hard to get a result and could easily have come away with nothing had Koji’s 25 yarder not smacked back of the woodwork with the keeper beaten all ends up.
Across the rest of the park everything was looking as solid as ever. Though there were a few nervy moments the back 5 and Naoki dealt with most things with ease and the Antlers were not able to stamp any kind of authority on the game. Indeed, their goal came from two Marinos mistakes. A sloppy pass by Roni was compounded by an horrendous gaff by Tetsuya who palmed a Marquinhos shot up into the air only to watch it spin into the empty goal. Their lack of dominance was made even more obvious when the second half kicked off and they began to timewaste immediately. Clearly they knew they were in a battle and retreating was their best tactic whilst they looked to hit on the counter.
Unless they are the eejit Ultras who felt the perfomance warranted silence at t the end of the game (it didn’t, not even close, seriously some of those people wouldn’t know football if it rode their mothers), Marinos fans will the rue the fact that after Komiyama had levelled things up the Antlers struggled to raise their game and if Koji’s drive had just dropped that fraction more the three points would have headed back to Yokohama.
Man of the Match: Komiyama – He scored. Again. You wait for one and two come along at once.
Yokohama F-Marinos: Tetsuya; Yuzo, Yuji, Yusuke; Komiyama (Shimizu, 89), Hayuma, Naoki, Lopes, Koji; Roni (Sakata, 86), Oshima. Subs: Akimoto, Aria, Inui, Mini-me, Shimizu, Mizunuma, Sakata.
Kuwahara: “Although the game ended in a 2-1 loss, the players played very well. Despite the result, I am pleased with the overall performance of the players as they were playing to win.
This seasons slogan contains the two words, ‘Fighting Spirit’ and ‘Single mindedness’ and I feel the players performance certainly showed these qualities today, proving they no intention whatsoever in moving backwards or letting go of their desire to win.
As expected, Kashima played extremely well and really gave us a challenge. They played for the win too and their performance was typical of a J-League championship winning side. Although we couldn’t get the win today, I very much feel that we can take many positives from our performance today and look forward to our next game with optimism.
I made the decision to bring on Sakata Daisuke when the score was still level at 1-1 but, as he was preparing to come on, Kashima managed to put one past us to take the lead. The combination of the two foreign players so far has not seen any goals but I am sure that as soon as Roni gets his first, it will be the catalyst for a great many more. Today, Kashima didn’t give us many chances to make shots on goal but we made some good combination plays and the general condition of the players still looks fresh and showing steady improvements. I have high expectations for our next game.”
Komiyama Takanobu: “All I could do today was score. I felt there was a slight inequality in the level of play and, as I suspected might happen, we were overpowered in the end. Kashima were able to find space in dangerous areas with their great skill and positioning.”
Matsuda Naoki: “I didn’t feel that there was much difference in skill between us and them so it made for an enjoyable game to play in. I feel awful for saying this but, I would have been happy with just the draw. I’m looking to use these feelings of disappointment as a driving force in gaining a victory next time we face them. If we keep playing like we did today, I think we will really set the whole J-League alight.”
Tanaka Yusuke: “In the second half we kept up well with the flow of play but just couldn’t find the breakthrough that we needed. I felt that the last 15 minutes in particular had a real ‘win or lose’ feel to the game. I didn’t feel that we were outplayed or outmatched in terms of skill. Kashima employed many different attack strategies. Their two forwards were a handful at times but I feel that the three of us at the back did a good job in marking them and closing them down.”