Yokohama F·Marinos advance to AFC Champions League final after epic shootout win

Yokohama F·Marinos advance to AFC Champions League final after epic shootout win

Yokohama F·Marinos are on their way to the AFC Champions League final after defeating Ulsan Hyundai on penalty kicks in an unforgettable semi-final.

Marinos entered the second leg of the tie down 1-0 after defeat in South Korea, but their fans were in full voice at a rainy Nissan Stadium and helped get them off to a quick start.

22-year-old Asahi Uenaka took advantage of some lackadaisical defending by Ulsan in the 12th minute, pouncing on a loose ball and slotting it into the back of the net for the game’s first goal.

Eight minutes later, Anderson Lopes found some space from 15 yards, turned and fired the ball into the bottom corner for another goal, which put the Tricolor ahead 2-1 on aggregate.

Uenaka then struck again. After winning the ball back in the midfield, F·Marinos found their young star's feet. He turned beautifully and then hit a rocket from 25 yards that pierced the top corner of the net as the home crowd went wild.

All it took was 30 minutes for Marinos to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead and it looked like they might run away with the match, but Ulsan reeled them back in.

Matheus Sales skied high to head home a corner kick, cutting the Tricolor lead to 3-2. Takumi Kamajima was then shown a red card for a handball in the box, not only giving Ulsan the penalty that they’d convert to tie the game, but also sending the Tricolor down to 10 men after just 39 minutes.

Marinos had to hang on for dear life, as last-ditch defending, fine saves from William Popp, and even some fortune from the woodwork came together to force extra-time against the K League 1 side. Popp and the woodwork then came through again in the extended 30 minutes as the Tricolor forced penalty kicks.

Ulsan went first in the shootout and buried each of their first four kicks, with Marinos matching them on each occasion. It was a clinic from the spot from both teams, until Popp sprawled low and to his left to stop Kim Min-woo’s shot in the fifth round.

That put the semi-final on Eduardo's foot, and he showed no signs of pressure as he coolly slotted the ball home to win the shootout and send the Tricolor into the AFC Champions League final for the first time in club history.

Yokohama F·Marinos will face off against Al Ain in the Asian final, with the first leg set for May 11 in Yokohama before heading to the United Arab Emirates for the second leg on May 25.