J1 Match of the Week: No. 1 takes on No. 2 as Marinos head to Nagoya

J1 Match of the Week: No. 1 takes on No. 2 as Marinos head to Nagoya

The top two teams in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League clash on Saturday at 6 pm JST and you’re going to want to make sure you’re watching it live on the J.League International YouTube channel when Yokohama F·Marinos meet Nagoya Grampus in the match of the season thus far.

Marinos are in first place, in search of their second consecutive league crown. They’ve come on strong of late with six straight wins, catapulting them to the top of the table.

Nagoya are right on the Tricolor’s heels, though. They’re four points back of the leaders and winners of five of their last six. A win on Saturday will cut their deficit to the top to just one point and have them within touching distance of their first title since 2010.

As has been the case for years, Grampus’ success is built upon their outstanding defense. They have conceded just 16 times this season, less than one per game. Mitchell Langerak remains one of the league’s best goalkeepers and Shinnosuke Nakatani has been as good as always in the center of Nagoya’s back three, but it’s been the emergence of 22-year-old Haruya Fujii that has really taken the defense to another level.

Nagoya will need their defense to be at their very best because Marinos bring the best attack in the league to Toyota Stadium. Anderson Lopes’ 15 goals lead the league and Yan Matheus, Élber and Kota Mizunuma are three of the top four assist men in J1.

All told, it’s no wonder Marinos have gone 15 matches without being held scoreless and have scored 15 goals in their six-match winning streak.

It’s not as if Nagoya lack attacking verve. Kasper Junker’s 10 goals are third in the league, so they are a danger as well, but this match will be determined by Marinos’ attack and Grampus’ defense. It’s two powerhouses, as good as any in the league, squaring off.

Will Marinos’ attack break through and lead them to a win that extends their lead atop the table? Or will Nagoya’s defense stymie the league’s best attack, topple the first place team and heat up the title race further?

Find out on Saturday when No. 1 takes on No. 2 in a match you have to see on the J.League International YouTube channel.