J1 Match of the Week: Marinos’ push for the title comes up against red hot Gamba

J1 Match of the Week: Marinos’ push for the title comes up against red hot Gamba

Yokohama F·Marinos moved a step closer to winning their second consecutive Meiji Yasuda J1 League title last week, when they moved joint-top of the league with Vissel Kobe. Now, they hope to take over first place, but that will mean finding a way past the league’s hottest team, Gamba Osaka, in a match that will be streamed live on the J.League International YouTube channel.

There has been no better team in the league of late than Gamba, who have not lost since May 20. Their eight-match unbeaten streak has included seven wins as they have climbed from the bottom of the table to 12th place and can leap into the top half this weekend.

The Nerazzuri have averaged more than two goals per game during their unbeaten streak, a tremendous run that has seen them dispatch team after team.

Dawhan and Juan Alano have led the front line for Gamba and are now up to six goals apiece on the season, but the real magic is how Dani Poyatos’ system has brought the entire team into attacking play. That is why they have 12 different goal scorers this season.

That is what Marinos will be up against on Saturday, but beating good teams in terrific form is what it takes to win the title, as they are well aware.

Fortunately for the Tricolor, they will counter Gamba’s in-form attack with the best front line in J1. Marinos lead the league with two goals per game over the entire season, led by Anderson Lopes’ 15. Toss in Yan Matheus, Élber and Kota Mizunuma, who have combined for 22 assists, and you have an attack that can play with anyone.

Behind that fearsome front is an increasingly sturdy defense that has risen to the challenge more often than not. The Tricolor are a complete team and that is why they are right in the title hunt.

Gamba know how good Marinos are. After all, it was the Tricolor who dealt them their last loss back in late May, and they would love nothing more to get revenge and dent Marinos’ title hopes.

Do the Nerazzurri have what it takes to extend their unbeaten streak further? Or will Marinos pick up a vital three points in their bid to become champions once again?

Find out on Saturday at 7:30 pm JST live on the J.League International YouTube channel.