The new season of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League kicked off on February 23. The defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos hosted Gamba Osaka.
The home side was hoping for a good start to defend the title, but conceded in the 6th minute and again in the 34th. F.Marinos were dominant in the second half and Marcos Junior halved the deficit in the 74th, but could not find an equalizer and ended up losing 2-1.
“We conceded within 10 minutes. After that, the players re-focused and many things went well. We created many chances, but ended with a regrettable result”
As manager Ange Postecoglou said after the match, giving away a goal early affected the whole game plan.
Shu Kurata’s first goal of the game was a result of poor passing between a Yokohama defender and the goalkeeper. That is a risk that comes with their style of football, in which they build up from the back. Gamba’s second goal came as the visitors took advantage of F.Marinos’ high defensive line.
However, the manager spoke of the game positively. “We created a lot of chances and the players did well”. Indeed, Yokohama showed their attacking style of football and overwhelmed the opponents, especially in the second half.
“Whether we’re winning or losing, it’s not an option for me to change [the play-style]. The most important thing is how we start. We learned today that we have to fight from the very beginning.”
While they need to improve their approach to the game, the Yokohama boss made it clear that they are sticking with the attacking style that won them the J1 title.