YOKOHAMA – Substitute Yuichiro Nagai headed home a late winner as Urawa Reds avenged their defeat in last year’s J. League championship final by beating Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 away in the first division Sunday.
Sunday’s J. League match in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture. Jubilo prevailed 2-1.
Nagai’s 77th-minute goal lifted Urawa into sixth in the table behind Jubilo Iwata, whose young striker Bobby Cullen inspired it to a 2-1 win over Oita Trinita in the day’s other game.
Yokohama was looking to put the disappointment of being knocked out of the Asian Champions League in midweek behind it and it was the home side that had the better of the opening half at Nissan Stadium.
Former Reds man Koji Yamase constantly tormented the visitors and Hideo Oshima and Daisuke Nasu were unlucky not to have given Yokohama a two-goal cushion after half an hour.
Yokohama’s top-scorer Oshima crashed a half-volley off the crossbar following a cross from Brazilian defender Dutra in the 23rd minute with Urawa ‘keeper Ryota Tsuzuki beaten.
Moments later Yamase, booed by visiting fans every time he touched the ball, fed Ahn Jung Hwan after a weaving run and the South Korea striker teed the ball up for Nasu, whose 25-meter effort also rattled the bar.
At the other end, Hideki Uchidate should have punished slack marking but put a free header well off target.
The second half told a different story and Urawa carved a number of chances and kept Yokohama goalkeeper Tetsuya Enomoto on his toes before the pressure was finally rewarded.
Enomoto could only parry a stinging shot from Keita Suzuki and was unable to recover quickly as Nagai pounced to nod home the rebound.
Defeat for Yokohama left it on 16 points from 12 games, way behind runaway leader Kashima, which moved on to 29 points Saturday.
At Yamaha Stadium, Japan Under-20 striker Cullen fired Iwata into the lead after six minutes and provided in-form Yoshiaki Ota for the second before Magno Alves replied for Oita with his seventh of the season.
The J. League will take a break for Japan’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup in Germany, resuming July 2.
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