YOKOHAMA — Yokohama’s new signing, Yukihiko Sato, got one back on his old club on Saturday by setting up the winner for Marquinhos as the F. Marinos beat FC Tokyo 1-0 in Group B action on the opening day of the Nabisco Cup.
In the last minute of the first half, Yuji Nakazawa sent a long ball up front, which Tokyo defender Teruyuki Moniwa seemed to have covered.
However, Sato, who had been booed by supporters of his old club whenever he touched the ball, secured possession and sent a pass back into the box for Marquinhos to fire past the advancing Tokyo ‘keeper Hideaki Ozawa, the ball deflecting in off the inside of the left post before finding the net.
Marquinhos, a recent signing from Tokyo Verdy, was playing for the first time since injuring his groin last September and displayed some touches early in the game to confuse the Tokyo defenders.
The Marinos, who relied on the long-ball game rather than their traditional passing game should have widened the lead early in the second half but Tatsuhiki Kubo and Sato both hit shots that sailed wide of the mark.
Marinos manager Takeshi Okada was not fully happy with his team’s performance saying, “We defended well but could have attacked a lot better.”
But the new Yokohama boss praised his players’ hard work. “Our players worked hard as a unit to beat FC Tokyo, who we hadn’t had a good record against. That means a lot.”
Tokyo featured Yoshiro Abe in place of veteran striker Amaral, who was forced to miss the game due to a knee injury, and the rookie forward threatened the Yokohama goal in the 16th minute — hitting the post with a 15-meter effort.
“Yukihiko? That was the only occasion he was effective. I don’t think we were beaten because of him,” Tokyo manager Hiromi Hara commented. “It was a shame that we couldn’t score a goal when we had the chances.
“But this is the first game of the season. We’ll have Amaral and also Jo Kanazawa back from suspension next week, so I am hoping we can play better,” he added.
Controversy in Kyoto
Emperor’s Cup holder Kyoto Purple Sanga earned a controversial 3-2 victory over newly promoted Oita Trinita in their opening Nabisco Cup game on Saturday.
Confusion reigned at Kyoto after Rodrigo had fired the visitors in front for a second time on 63 minutes.
Oita, down to 10 men following Teppei Nishiyama’s dismissal, went 2-1 up when the Brazilian dribbled past a motionless Kyoto defense, who stood waiting for the ball to be returned after they had deliberately conceded a throw in to allow an injured player to receive treatment.
Oita coach Shinji Kobayashi then ordered his players not to contest the ball from the restart and Daisuke Nakaharai replied immediately.
Teruaki Kurobe fired home his second of the game from the penalty spot in the 81st minute to give Kyoto the win.
League champion Jubilo Iwata won 2-0 at home to Urawa Reds, while the Osaka derby at Bampaku Stadium, saw substitute Masanobu Matsunami netting the winner in injury time as Gamba Osaka edged past Cerezo Osaka 1-0.
A single goal was also enough for Vissel Kobe to beat Tokyo Verdy while Kashiwa Reysol drew 1-1 with Vegalta Sendai.
Defending champions Kashima Antlers and Shimizu S-Pulse get a bye through the first round as both teams are involved in the Asian Champions League.
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