Ange Postecoglou’s J-League Champions Yokohama F Marinos put A-League Champions Sydney FC to the sword in their AFC Champions League Group match in Yokohama on Wednesday evening, sending the Marinos to the top of the Group H standings.
The win made it a perfect start for coach Postecoglou’s team in the Champions League, following on from last week’s away win over K-League powerhouse Jeonbuk, and puts it in a good position early to make it out of the group stage for the first time in the Japanese club’s history.
Sydney FC’s loss completed a trio of midweek losses for all the three travelling A-League teams in the Asian Champions League, following on from Perth Glory’s 1-0 away loss to FC Tokyo and Melbourne Victory’s 1-0 loss away to FC Seoul the night before.
Despite Sydney’s thorough preparedness for Yokohama’s well know intense and high tempo starts, the visitors were powerless to prevent the home team imposing its game plan, conceding three goals in just over the first thirty minutes, thanks to goals from Ado Onaiwu (12’) and a brace from J-Leaue player of the year, Teruhito Nakagawa (31’, 33’). A shell shocked Sydney was unable to cope with Yokohama’s fierce press without the ball and their speed in movement when in possession.
In the second half, Sydney enjoyed a greater share of possession than they did in the first half, but were still powerless to prevent Yokohama carving them up with a swift, precise counter attack ending in Onaiwu scoring his second and his team’s fourth in the 51st minute.”
Post match, Yokohama F Marinos coach Postecoglou said, “We started the game well, we took control of the game and we dominated.
“I think we were really disciplined today in making sure that we played our football in the opposition’s half and put them under pressure and we got the rewards and the scoreline I think reflects how dominant we were in the game.”
Despite the impressive performance against Sydney, the coach feels there is room for improvement as the team now turns its attention to the J-League season which begins this weekend.
“We can improve in a lot of areas,” he said.
“The important thing for us is the players now really believe in our football and they play without fear and it makes a big difference.”
Postecoglou emphasised the unique way his team plays the game.
“I don’t think any team anywhere will play like us,” Postecoglou said.
“I think some teams press aggressively but don’t have the ball much, they play direct and other teams have the ball but don’t press.
“We try to be both, which is not easy.”
Sydney FC coach Steve Corica praised Yokohama’s performance, but added that his team had made unaccustomed errors.
“They play a very high tempo with the ball, without the ball and that probably surprised us because we haven’t played for three weeks,” Corica said.
“We were put under a lot of pressure, we didn’t adapt very well to it and the goals that we conceded really were disappointing, they were uncharacteristic for us.”
Sydney FC’s next match in the Champions League sees them host South Korean team Jeonbuk, whilst Perth Glory travels to South Korea to take on Ulsan. Both games are on the fourth of March.
A month later, Melbourne Victory and Yokohama F Marinos both host Chinese teams in their next Champions League fixtures, with Victory scheduled to take on Beijing Guoan and Yokohama hosting Shanghai East Asia. However these fixtures may not go ahead as scheduled depending on the restrictions due to the Corona Virus epidemic.