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Watanabe strikes as Marinos beat Frontale

by Gus Fielding

Kyodo

Substitute Kazuma Watanabe hit a superb winner as Yokohama F. Marinos came from behind to claim local bragging rights with a 2-1 defeat of Kawasaki Frontale in the J. League on Sunday.

Kawasaki led through a freak 22nd-minute goal on a sultry evening at Nissan Stadium, but former Japan striker Masashi Oguro leveled before Watanabe’s screamer 19 minutes from time helped Yokohama close the gap on leaders Kashiwa Reysol to one point.

“I hadn’t been making that much of a contribution after coming on and missed a good chance with a header,” said Watanabe. “I wanted to really get hold of the ball and score and make up for that.”

“It felt so good scoring that I stripped off my shirt. I hadn’t been booked so I figured I could get away with one yellow,” he grinned.

Kashiwa, hammered 5-0 at Cerezo Osaka on Saturday, has 28 points from 14 games, with Yokohama on 27, Vegalta Sendai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima on 25 and Frontale on 24.

“This was a game we did not want to lose and we were gutted at going behind. We started well and could have made things easier for ourselves if we had scored (first),” said Yokohama manager Kazushi Kimura.

“Still, we played well and this is a massive win for us against a team in good form.”

In Sunday’s other matches, Hiroshima edged Omiya Ardija 1-0 away, while Daisuke Nasu was on target to put Jubilo Iwata on the way to a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Vissel Kobe.