YOKOHAMA — Koji Yamase and Daisuke Sakata gave Yokohama F. Marinos a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse in their Nabisco Cup Group B game at Mitsuzawa Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Jubilo Iwata on Wednesday at Yamaha Stadium. Yokohama FC won 1-0.
The win at Marinos’ second home in Yokohama further eased the pressure on under-fire manager Hiroshi Hayano after Yokohama picked up a second league win of the season last weekend, beating Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1.
Yamase, a scorer against Sanfrecce and who is in stupendous form for Marinos so far this season, opened the scoring on six minutes when he picked up the ball, drove forward and let it fly from 25 meters, his shot taking a wicked deflection off defender Yasuhiro Hiraoka that wrong-footed S-Pulse ‘keeper Yohei Nishibe.
“I can’t really claim it as my own,” Yamase said of his deflected effort. “It was more like an own goal, but we’ll take it.
“It’s a good win for us. It boosts our confidence beating one of the J. League’s top teams.”
Sakata doubled the lead on 58 minutes when he collected a splendid pass from midfielder Kenta Kano and bore down on goal, keeping his cool to sidefoot past Nishibe.
Also in Group B, Kashiwa Reysol were held at home to a goal-less draw against Omiya Ardija. That left Omiya on top of the group on seven points after three games, with Marinos second with a superior goal difference to Reysol.
Marinos captain Yamase had nearly doubled the lead three minutes after his first goal when he found himself in a one-on-one with Nishibe, but the midfielder contrived to scoop the ball over the bar from close range.
Later in a first half that was all Marinos, Sakata met Hayuma Tanaka’s cross from the right with a firm header, but the ball flew just centimeters wide of the upright.
Shimizu center-forward Takuro Yajima had a glorious chance to pull things level in the second half after picking up a through ball from Naoki Aoyama and running in on goal, but he side-footed his effort to the wrong side of the post.
Yuji Nakazawa, Marinos’ international defender, came to the rescue late in the second half as S-Pulse pushed forward in hope of pulling a goal back when he headed off the line from a Kohei Hiramatsu header.
Elsewhere, a late goal from Teruaki Kurobe gave two-time defending champion JEF United Chiba a brilliant 1-0 win away to Gamba Osaka in Group A. In the other game in the group, Sanfrecce Hiroshima downed Vissel Kobe 2-0 at Hiroshima Big Arch, courtesy of goals from Ueslei and Croatian defender Dario Davac.
JEF is top of the group with a perfect nine points, while Gamba is second and Sanfrecce third.
In Group C, Adriano fired Yokohama FC to a 1-0 win away to Jubilo Iwata at Yamaha Stadium, while Lucas’ first-half goal gave FC Tokyo a 1-0 victory away to Oita Trinita at Kyushu Oil Dome.
Oita and Yokohama both have six points and sit in the top two positions in the group.
In Group D, Ventforet Kofu beat Kashima Antlers 1-0 away to stay perfect with nine points and Nagoya Grampus Eight drew 2-2 with Albirex Niigata at Mizuho Stadium.
The next round of Nabisco Cup group games is on April 11.
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