Rising star Machino on target yet again in big Bellmare win

Rising star Machino on target yet again in big Bellmare win

Shonan Bellmare’s Shuto Machino is now firmly in the Top Scorer race after scoring his eighth goal of the season in a 1-0 win over Kyoto Sanga that took his club out of the relegation zone.

The forward sits second on the scoring chart, just two goals behind Kashima Antlers’ Ayase Ueda, another one of the J.League's rising stars.

Machino’s latest goal was the product of much of what makes him so special — waiting to make a smart run, creating an opportunity for a drag back, and smashing into the upper corner at full stretch for a massive 87th-minute winner.

After scoring four goals and adding four assists in his first top flight campaign last year, the 22-year-old has blossomed into a full-blown star this season, consistently performing for a Shonan side that has needed him to be every bit as good as he has been.

With their place in J1 looking ever more doubtful as the season approached the midway point, Bellmare responded with four wins in their last five games. Machino has been at the heart of that, scoring six goals in those four wins — a huge 12 points that have taken Shonan from right near the bottom of the table to 15th place.

Machino’s primary concern will of course be helping his team stay out of the relegation zone, but individual accolades may be on the line now as well. If he keeps scoring, this young star might just be the next Meiji Yasuda J1 League Top Scorer.