YOKOHAMA — Yokohama F. Marinos maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a 3-1 win over Cerezo Osaka at Nissan Stadium on Saturday.
Cerezo Osaka at Nissan Stadium.
Two goals from Magrao and a late strike for Marques canceled out an early opener from Hiroaki Morishima to give Marinos their third victory in a row and Cerezo its third straight defeat.
“It was a difficult game today — they scored very early,” Marinos coach Takeshi Okada said. “But I was happy with all my players and with the result — especially with our improved performance in the second half.”
Elsewhere, Shimizu S-Pulse also maintained its perfect start to the campaign with a 1-0 win away to FC Tokyo, courtesy of a Choe Jae Jin goal, while last year’s champion Gamba Osaka suffered a shock 3-1 loss at home to Oita Trinita.
Kawasaki Frontale — scorer of 13 goals in its first two games of the season — had its bubble burst away to Ventforet Kofu, Brazilian striker Bare firing a late winner for the J. League new boys.
Urawa Reds beat Sanfrecce 4-1 in Hiroshima and Albirex Niigata beat Omiya Ardija 2-1. Jubilo Iwata drew 1-1 with Kyoto Purple Sanga, Nagoya Grampus Eight tied 0-0 with Kashima Antlers, and JEF United and Avispa Fukuoka played out a 2-2 draw in Chiba.
Marinos came into Saturday’s game in Yokohama on the back of impressive wins against Kyoto Purple Sanga and Kashima Antlers, while in marked contrast Cerezo were still smarting from last Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing by Gamba in the Osaka derby.
But it was the Cerezo players who exuded the confidence of the in-form side during the first-half, the fillip no doubt Morishima’s second-minute opener — a dazzling diving header.
The chunky Ze Carlos, on his first foray forward, accepted an invitation by the Marinos backline to attack space down the left before floating an innocuous cross toward Morishima, who combined power and pin-point accuracy in guiding his header across ‘keeper Tatsuya Enomoto.
Marinos equalized against the run of play on 14 minutes when Magrao finished from close range after Cerezo ‘keeper Motohiro Yoshida fumbled a free-kick from Daisuke Oku.
Cerezo struggled to sustain its early promise and toward the latter stages of the opening period and early in the second half, the balance of power shifted toward Marinos.
Yokohama’s Boys from Brazil combined to put the home team ahead on 57 minutes, Magrao scoring his second of the game — and fifth for the season — after good work down the left from Dutra and Marques.
Cerezo’s resolve crumbled and a third goal for the 2003 and 2004 J. League champions Marinos was inevitable, it eventually arriving with two minutes to go as a grateful Marques received a clever pass from Tatsuhiko Kubo to fire home and claim his second goal of the campaign.