After an absence of several years, Ange Postecoglou’s J-League champions, Yokohama F Marinos have made a winning return to the AFC Champions League midweek, winning their opening Group H match 2-1 away to South Korean outfit Jeonbuk.
The visiting Marinos struck two unanswered first half goals, with the first coming just after the half hour mark when winger Keito Endo converted a Nakagawa cross. Five minutes later they doubled their lead when Keito’s cross from the left flank was turned into his own net by Jeonbuk defender Kim Jin-Su. The visitors were able to control the match quite well until a goal keeping error in the 79th minute allowed Jeonbuk’s Cho Kyu-Seong to pull one back for the South Koreans.
Yokohama’s win comes just days after it lost the Japanese Super Cup final to Vissel Kobe in a penalty shoot-out after the teams finished 3-3 at the end of extra time.
Yokohama’s next match will take place on Wednesday when they host A-League champions Sydney FC in their Group H encounter. It promises to be a stiff test for Steve Corica’s front runners, and its defence will come under particularly severe examination against the triumvirate of Yokohama forwards Nakagawa, Endo and Marcos Junior.
All three A-League teams contesting Champions League group matches, will be playing away in Asia this week.
Sydney’s visit to the land of the rising sun will be preceded by Perth Glory, which will be in AFC Champions League group action in Tokyo on Tuesday against FC Tokyo.
On the same evening, Melbourne Victory will be attempting to maintain its unbeaten Champions League streak when it flies to Seoul in South Korea to take on FC Seoul.
Victory notched a first up win in the Group Stage on Tuesday when it defeated Thai team Chiangrai United 1-0 at AAMI Park thanks to an Ola Toivonen first half penalty. Despite the win, Victory coach Carlos Salvachua wasn’t satisfied with the performance, saying that his team were nervous with the ball, and unable to finish the chances they created.
“We had a lot of players that were starting for the first time (including new signing Giancarlo Gallifuoco), it’s not easy for them,” he said.
Young Victory midfielder Anthony Lesiotis started the game before being subbed off in the 59th minute, replaced by another youngster Jay Barnett.