YOKOHAMA – Yokohama F. Marinos made it 3-for-3 in the early going of the J. League season with a hard-fought 2-1 win against 10-man Jubilo Iwata on Saturday.
Shingo Hyodo struck the deciding goal in the second half as Marinos joined Cerezo Osaka as the only teams with a perfect record. Cerezo won 1-0 at home to FC Tokyo, Hotaru Yamaguchi netting the lone goal in the 47th minute.
In the dying minutes of the first half at Nissan Stadium, Marinos defender Yuzo Kurihara opened the scoring and Hiroki Yamada leveled for the visitors.
Kurihara, who departs Sunday on national-team duty for the March 26 World Cup qualifier in Jordan, did not score once in the league last season.
“I’m on pace for 10 this year,” Kurihara said. “It feels good to score because it takes some pressure off you. As a defender, it never hurts to score goals just to cancel out any goals you might concede yourself down the road.”
Despite playing Marinos more than evenly, Jubilo remained winless on the year, suffering their second loss after spending the last 20 minutes without South Korean midfielder Jung Woo Young.
“From the first half to even when we went down to 10 men, I thought we played some really solid football,” Iwata manager Hitoshi Morishita said. “We’ll turn our season around soon.
“It would be a problem if we weren’t creating chances but that’s not the case. We had our opportunities against Marinos, whose defending is exceptional.”
Marinos managed to avoid being down early as Yuji Nakazawa and Kosuke Nakamachi cleared off the line to deny Jubilo control of the game.
In the 20th minute, Dutra produced a great opportunity for Marinos, sending Jin Hanato through only to see the young striker fire wide of the right post.
The hosts should have been up at the interval, after Kurihara opened his 2013 account in the 45th minute from a leftwing Shunsuke Nakamura corner headed down by Nakazawa.
But Marinos took their foot off the pedal a little too early, allowing Yamada to equalize on the break in the second minute of stoppage time for his second goal of the campaign.
Marinos, though, recaptured the advantage on the other side of halftime as Hyodo blasted into the net from point-blank range in the 60th minute, after a cross from the right by Yuzo Kobayashi.
Jubilo shot themselves in the foot nine minutes past the hour when Jung put a crippling tackle on Marquinhos, drawing a straight red from referee Hiroyoshi Takayama.
Yasuhiro Higuchi’s men played to their advantage the rest of the way, holding on for their third straight win out of the gate.
Elsewhere in J1, 2012 runnerup Vegalta Sendai picked up their first victory of the season in a 2-1 home win over Kashiwa Reysol, Wilson scoring an 86th-minute winner.
Urawa Reds dropped their first points after being held to a 2-2 draw with Oita Trinita, while Sagan Tosu won a 5-4 goalfest at home to Kawasaki Frontale with Yohei Toyoda bagging a brace.
Omiya Ardija drew 1-1 at home to Albirex Niigata, and Yuki Honda scored in the 94th minute to give Nagoya Grampus their first win of the campaign, 1-0 over Ventforet Kofu.
Champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima host Kashima Antlers on Sunday in the only top-flight fixture.