YOKOHAMA – Shinji Kagawa came off the bench but failed to prevent Manchester United from falling to a 3-2 exhibition-match defeat to Yokohama F. Marinos on Tuesday night.
Kagawa started the match among the substitutes at Nissan Stadium after linking up with the Premier League champions on their Asian tour only a day earlier, and the Japan international could only watch as Marquinhos gave Marinos a stunning lead after only 26 seconds.
United recovered with an equalizer from Jesse Lingard before an own-goal from Yokohama’s Masakazu Tashiro sent the visitors into halftime in front, but a header from Fabio just five minutes after the restart leveled the score before Kagawa made his appearance in the 61st minute.
With the stage set for the forward to make his mark in front of a crowd of 65, 372, however, Yokohama’s Yoshihito Fujita stole the show, notching the winner in the 88th minute to secure an unlikely but thoroughly deserved victory for the J. League side.
“I wasn’t able to contribute anything tonight,” said Kagawa. “I have to step up and show what I can do.
“We want to win the league and the Champions League this season, so I have to start building up more and more toward the start of the season.”
United has now lost two out of three games on its Asian tour, having gone down 1-0 to the Singha All-Star XI in Bangkok, and new manager David Moyes knows improvements must be made before the Premier League campaign kicks off on Aug. 17.
“I’m disappointed with the goals that we conceded,” said Moyes. “We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game off. We had chances that we didn’t take. It was a tough game and they are a good team.”
The game was less than a minute old when Marquinhos stunned the three-time European champions. The Brazilian launched a shot that United goalkeeper David de Gea could only parry high into the air above him, and when the ball eventually came down, Marquinhos was on hand to blast it into the net.
A sublime piece of vision almost saw Shunsuke Nakamura make it two direct from a corner soon after, but United stopped Marinos in their tracks with the equalizer in the 19th minute. Wilfried Zaha rampaged down the right before unleashing a shot that Tashiro slid in to clear off the line, and Lingard was waiting to tap the ball home with the defender unable to recover.
Marinos were dealt another blow when Nakamura went off injured shortly after the restart, and things got even worse when Tashiro bundled the ball into his own net to hand the visitors the lead in the 30th minute.
But Marinos came out fighting after halftime and got their reward when Fabio lost his marker to head in the equalizer from a corner in the 50th minute.
The crowd got what it wanted when Kagawa came on to replace Belgian teenager Adnan Januzaj, and the 24-year-old did not have to wait long for his first scent of the goal. Ashley Young split the Marinos defense pass with a pass through the middle, but Kagawa was unable to direct his shot past goalkeeper Yuji Rokutan.
Young hit the side-netting after another interchange with Kagawa in the 80th minute, but Marinos were determined to have the final word. Jin Hanato caused chaos as he ran at the United defense, before squaring the ball for Fujita to sweep home with his left foot.
“I’m sorry that we lost in front of all the fans who had come to watch the game,” said Kagawa. “They made it a great atmosphere.”