The second half of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE campaign kicked off on Monday, with all 20 teams in action after the Tokyo 2020 break, and Yokohama FC pulled off maybe the most stunning result of the season thus far. The league’s bottom team beat powerhouse Nagoya Grampus, 2-0.
Yokohama got on the scoreboard just nine minutes in, with beautiful interplay down the left unraveling the Nagoya defense before a low cross was redirected by Shinnosuke Nakatani into his own net.
Yokohama struck again in the 33rd minute thanks to a spectacular ball from Takuya Matsuura. The midfielder hit a through ball from the midfield line that split two Grampus defenders and found a streaking Yusuke Matsuo 20 yards from goal, setting him up to calmly chip the goalkeeper to double the Yokohama lead.
With a two-goal lead, Yokohama were content to sit back and defend. It was a page right out of Nagoya’s book - suffocate the opposition with organized defense in a low block, unbothered by the lack of possession, and then strike on the counterattack. By the time the final whistle went, Nagoya had nearly 75% of the possession, but Yokohama had more shots and, most importantly, the only goals.
Yokohama had just one win from their first 21 matches, but they’ve now won two in a row and are positioning themselves to potentially avoid relegation. They are still bottom of the table, but are now on the heels of the teams ahead of them and only nine points away from safety after a huge statement result against one of the division's top defenses.
Watch out, MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE. Here comes Yokohama FC.