The Meiji Yasuda J1 League is back from their break and the return is marked by a top four showdown between Yokohama F·Marinos and Urawa Reds on Sunday at 7 pm JST in a contest that will be streamed live on the J.League International YouTube channel.
Marinos are in the thick of the title race, sitting just a point back of leaders Vissel Kobe as they aim for a second consecutive crown. They held the top spot until their last matchday, when they fell to Kawasaki Frontale at the death and allowed the Ushi past them, but now they have 13 matches left to make the leap back to the top.
Doing so will require getting past some very good teams like Urawa. The Reds are coming off a loss, but had previously gone 10 in a row unbeaten as they defended as well as any team in the league. It allowed them to climb all the way up to fourth in the table with a very real opportunity to earn themselves a place in the AFC Champions League.
No team has conceded fewer goals than Urawa, who are averaging just 0.81 goals allowed per game. Shusaku Nishikawa is putting together one of the best seasons of his long career in goal, while Alexander Scholz and Marius Høibraten are arguably the best centerback pairing in all of J1.
That excellent defense is what will stand between Marinos and a crucial three points. They have Anderson Lopes up front, whose pursuit of J1 Top Scorer crown mirrors that of his team and the league title. The Tricolor back him up with Élber, Yan Matheus and Kota Mizunuma, all of whom rank among the league’s top five in assists.
With prodigious attackers like that, it is no wonder that Marinos are the top scoring team in the league.
That sets up a meeting of the best attack in J1 and the best defense. It’s a match-up you will not want to miss and all you have to do is turn to the J.League International J.League channel to catch the spectacular match live from Saitama Stadium 2002.