YOKOHAMA — FC Tokyo’s Tatsuya Masushima ruined Yokohama F. Marinos’ chance to reclaim the J. League top spot when he crashed in an equalizer deep into stoppage time at Nissan Stadium on Saturday.
Hayuma Tanaka looked to have lifted Marinos over Urawa Reds at the top of the table when his mishit cross trickled in on 63 minutes, but 20-year-old Masushima latched on to a Yasuyuki Konno header to score the first goal of his professional career from close range to end the game 1-1.
“The players were complacent at the end of the match, and if you act like that you won’t win the championship,” Marinos coach Takeshi Okada said.
“I hope this works as a wake up call.”
Now in second place, Yokohama drew level with Urawa on 13 points, but the Reds have a chance to go three points clear with victory over Nagoya Grampus Eight on Sunday.
Later on Saturday, Gamba Osaka moved into second place on goal difference by beating Shimizu S-Pulse 3-2.
Marinos were missing international defender Yuji Nakazawa and striker Tatsuhiko Kubo, who both played in Japan’s friendly win over Ecuador in Oita on Thursday.
FC Tokyo ‘keeper Yoichi Doi and defender Teruyuki Moniwa sat on the bench for that match, starting Saturday.
In front of a 20,977 crowd, the first chance fell to Yokohama when wing-back Dutra, showing his usual willingness to run with the ball, broke down the left and fed Hideo Oshima, who in turn found Magrao, but his shot failed to trouble Doi.
Seven minutes later, Dutra again gathered and moved forward, cutting inside before uncorking a 30-meter drive that flew inches wide of Doi’s upright.
The home side was enjoying all the possession, with FC Tokyo’s negative tactics making for a mind-numbing first half — even on the rare occasions of venturing forward it kept eight men behind the ball.
Not that spectacle quietened down the visiting fans who were in fine fettle, with their rendition of one ditty lasting the entire first half.
The FC Tokyo fans were cheering on an inexperienced bunch, many of whose previous teams were university sides.
The brief of young midfielders Masahiko Inoha and Konno was to man-mark Marinos flair players Marques and Norihisa Shimizu, a task 20-year-old Inoha, in particular, carried out with an admirable maturity.
But Marques still managed to make space for a couple of chances after flowing Marinos moves around the half-hour mark, toe-poking the first at Doi and firing wide with the second.
Tanaka then stepped up a short while later to let go with a rising 25-meter drive that Doi did well to tip over the bar.
FC Tokyo’s first real chance came in first-half injury time when the ball sat up for Norio Suzuki on the edge of the area, but the 22-year-old couldn’t keep his half-volley under control.
Tanaka put Marinos 1-0 up with a weak effort that Doi should have dealt with easily. Magrao fed the ex-Tokyo Verdy man on the right and his cross, hit without any real pace, tootled past Doi and into the net.
The visitors were a little more adventurous in the second period — they couldn’t get any less negative — and the otherwise anonymous Lucas’ near-post header was well saved by Tatsuya Enomoto before the ‘keeper turned substitute Masashi Miyazawa’s long range drive around the post.
Suzuki then hit the bar for Marinos before Marques was denied by Doi again, but the home side failed to deliver a killer blow.
“We had a lot of chances but were wasteful in our finishing,” Okada said. “If you don’t score when you are supposed to, you pay the price.”
The price was Masushima’s last-gasp equalizer. Ryoichi Kurisawa launched in a free-kick from the right for Konno to connect with a towering header, and Masushima gobbled up the knock down from close range.
FC Tokyo coach Alexandre Gallo wasn’t getting carried away with the result, though, aware his side has a lot to improve on.
“We scored the late goal, but Marinos were much the better of the two sides overall,” Gallo said.
Elsewhere, Ventforet Kofu won 3-2 away to Cerezo Osaka.
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