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Sunday, March 11, 2007
Hayakawa's early goal gives Yokohama FC derby victory
YOKOHAMA -- Newly promoted Yokohama FC beat Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 in their derby match on Saturday evening, Tomonobu Hayakawa giving his side its first-ever victory in the top flight with an early goal.
In the first J1 meeting between the two teams, away-team Marinos were greeted with a spectacular tickertape welcome by their fans packed into one end of the compact Mitsuzawa Stadium.
The atmosphere was electric among the 13,737 fans, with the two sets attempting to drown each other out with their singing.
The Marinos fans were silenced, though, on eight minutes when Hayakawa found himself with time on the edge of the area to lob the ball over advancing 'keeper Tetsuya Enomoto to put Yokohama 1-0 ahead.
"Obviously it was a derby match and I wanted us to go for it in a big way right from the kick off," said Yokohama coach Takuya Takagi. "The players got the message and delivered a smashing performance.
"The supporters have created an atmosphere that would lift any player and it is thanks to them that we were able to keep on battling and grind out the win."
The early goal had a calming effect on the home team and Yokohama had the better of things in the opening stages, played out in front of Japan coach Ivica Osim.
Tatsuhiko Kubo, fresh from his wonder goal against Urawa Reds last week, had the bit between his teeth against his former club and was looking sharp going forward, despite some rough treatment from his former teammates.
Marinos were breaking sporadically, but without any real danger. Koji Yamase almost drew them level, though, when he dribbled his way to the byline only to see his cross-cum-shot hit 'keeper Takanori Sugeno in the face and go out for a corner.
Marques, hitherto having contributed next to nothing, hobbled off soon after and Marinos looked much the better for it as 18-year-old replacement Takashi Inui injected a little more vim into the attack, one of his first touches a rising 30-meter drive that Sugeno stood firm to.
Sugeno looked to know less about the next shot from Marinos, when defender Yusuke Tanaka, with the last kick of the half, smashed a 35-meter shot that bounced off the Yokohama bar.
Marinos became a little more dangerous after the break and nearly drew level early on, when Yamase's cross took a deflection, wrong-footing Sugeno, but the 'keeper showed wonderful reflexes to touch the ball onto the post and then gather at the second attempt.
Yokohama had the bad habit of giving away free-kicks on the edge of the area and with the cultured Yamase conducting the set pieces the home side was in danger.
Yamase hit the post with one effort with around quarter of an hour left and curled another up and over the wall but agonizingly wide.
In between, Kubo had a glorious chance to finish Marinos off, but he couldn't change his feet quick enough to capitalize after the ball broke to him fortuitously.
As Marinos saw the game slipping away from them, midfielder Ryuji Kawai recklessly challenged Sugeno after a free-kick was swung into the box, and Sugeno reacted angrily to the challenge. The tension of the derby threatened to boil over with pushing and shoving but soon petered out.
An ugly end, nonetheless, to an entertaining derby.