YOKOHAMA – Koji Yamase helped orchestrate his former employer’s downfall as Yokohama F. Marinos beat Urawa Reds 2-0 in the J. League on Sunday.
Kazuma Watanabe opened the scoring at a rain-swept Nissan Stadium and Yamase capped an industrious display with a fine finish on 66 minutes to secure victory and lift Yokohama into eighth in the table.
The result left Urawa Reds in third place, trailing leaders Kashima Antlers by seven points, having played a game more than the reigning champions, who beat Jubilo Iwata 1-0 on Saturday.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima moved into fifth spot after a topsy-turvy 4-3 win at home to Vissel Kobe in Sunday’s other game.
At Nissan Stadium, both sides struggled to get a grip on the game in the early stages but Marinos upped the pace toward the end of the first period and should have taken the lead on 42 minutes.
Yamase, who incurred the wrath of Urawa fans after defecting to Yokohama in 2005, spurned the only real chance of the half when he rounded goalkeeper Ryota Tsuzuki only to see his shot headed off the line by Hajime Hosogai.
Yamase again went close moments after the interval, Tsuzuki palming his shot wide at the near post, before Daisuke Sakata tried his luck from the edge of the box with a shot that sailed high and wide.
Yokohama’s pressure finally paid off on the hour mark when Watanabe swept into an unguarded net following a flowing move involving Kenta Kano and Sakata, and Yamase’s hard work was rewarded when he hammered Kano’s lay off past Tsuzuki to wrap up the points.
“There is a good spirit in the team and win or lose I expected the team to put in a good performance today. It’s nice to get the win,” said Yokohama manager Kokichi Kimura.
“We’ve too often focused too much on snuffing out our opponents’ strong points rather than playing our own game but now we are starting to do both,” he said.
Urawa’s German manger, Volker Finke, admitted his team had been beaten by a better side.
“Yokohama played very well and the result is no more than they deserved,” said Finke.
“I still don’t know what happened to my team after the first half an hour.”