Match to Watch: Marinos try to revitalize title charge in Hiroshima

Match to Watch: Marinos try to revitalize title charge in Hiroshima

Yokohama F·Marinos’ furious run up the table and right onto the heels of Kawasaki Frontale came to an end right before the international break. After getting within one point of the league’s top team, Marinos had their 13-match unbeaten streak snapped by Kashima Antlers, and combined with a win by Frontale, had their deficit stretched to four points.

This weekend, Marinos will try to restart their title challenge, but it will not be easy as they travel to Edion Stadium Hiroshima. Sanfrecce have lost just one of their last five matches, not allowing more than a goal in any of those contests and being held to only one clean sheet. They’re playing well at the back and going forward, which is going to test Marinos.

Marinos are driven by their attack. They have scored more goals than any other team in the league and have an array of goalscorers that make it difficult for opposing defenses to keep them in check. But in their loss to Kashima, they turned over 70% of possession into just eight shots, two on goal. The low block of Antlers stymied the dangerous Marinos attack and kept much of their possession to sideways passes. Sanfrecce have used similar tactics effectively in the past, and are likely to employ them again this weekend, which means Marinos need to adjust and find a way through such a defense.

While Marinos are obviously in a title chase, and think their attack can lead them to the mountaintop, Sanfrecce are not without anything to play for of their own. They have climbed into the top half of the table and are just 11 points out of fourth place. That still leaves them a ways to go, but there’s plenty of time left in the season to make up that ground and a victory over Marinos would send a clear message that the men from Hiroshima are coming.

So, who will win out? Marinos’ attack and their title ambitions, or Sanfrecce’s organization and late push? Find out this weekend in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE!

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