YOKOHAMA – Cayman Togashi struck for the second straight game as Yokohama F. Marinos defeated Sagan Tosu 2-1 in the J. League first division on Saturday ahead of the international break.
Togashi’s goal shortly after kickoff and a second-half winner by Kosuke Nakamachi sent Marinos to their second successive victory. Hiroyuki Taniguchi opened his season account for Sagan with a scrappy header minutes past hour.
Erick Mombaerts’ Marinos improved to seven points from four games, keeping up with leaders Kawasaki Frontale (10 points), who thrashed Ventforet Kofu 4-0 away to remain J1’s only unbeaten side.
The 22-year-old Togashi scored in his first career start last weekend against Albirex Niigata to help Marinos to their first win of the season.
“As a striker, I know I’m being counted on to score goals, but I’d rather score one in consecutive games than three in just one,” said Togashi, who is making a pitch to play in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“I’m glad I’ve been able to perform up to the manager’s expectations. The most important thing is that we keep on winning.”
Togashi’s goal in the third minute was surrounded by slight controversy, Tosu claiming vehemently he should have been ruled offside because Marinos playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura made contact with a long ball from Fabio.
Nakamura admitted there was slight contact but unintentionally, which allowed referee Hiroyuki Kimura to adjudge that the midfielder let the ball through for Togashi, who beat goalkeeper Akihiro Hayashi in a one-on-one to open the scoring.
Tosu manager Massimo Ficcadenti was not happy after the game, urging the league to show replays of all goals at the stadiums, not just the ones by the home team as is the norm in Japan.
“There’s constant talk of fair play in the J. League but if people are serious, then every goal should be displayed on the screen, not just theirs,” the Italian said.
“I’m not trying to pick on any one individual, but if we’re going to scream fair play, fair play, fair play then all the goals should be shown. Either show them all or don’t show anything, period.
“It’s disappointing to be leaving here empty-handed given the performance we produced.”
The visitors did catch a break three minutes past the hour from a set piece.
Kim Min-woo’s free kick from just outside the box caromed off the wall and onto the post, wrong-footing Marinos ‘keeper Hiroki Iikura in the process. Taniguchi fearlessly dove in head first for the rebound to equalize, as Iikura failed to recover in time.
Marinos regained the lead seven minutes later, however, after Nakamachi drilled home into the top left corner for his maiden strike of 2016 despite Hayashi’s superb effort to save former Arsenal signing Sho Ito in a one-on-one.
Elsewhere in J1, Mu Kanazaki struck twice in the second half as Kashima Antlers closed to within a point of Kawasaki with a 2-0 home win over FC Tokyo.
Nagoya Grampus defeated Vegalta Sendai 2-1 at home and Albirex drew 2-2 to Kashiwa Reysol in Niigata.
In the Kansai derby, Vissel beat Gamba Osaka 2-1 in Kobe, while Jay Bothroid came to Jubilo Iwata’s rescue with a brace in a 2-2 draw at home to Avispa Fukuoka, who were less than 20 minutes away from their first victory of the campaign.
After two games on Sunday, J1 will restart on April 1.