2015/6/27 Vissel Kobe 1-1 Yokohama F.Marinos
Vissel began this final First Stage match well, causing problems on the ground for the very static away defence, but it was a header from former Yokohama F.Marinos marksman Marquinhos, from a corner, that gave the boys in crimson their well-deserved lead.
Vissel could well have added a goal - or even two - more, the industry of Keijiro Ogawa and Shunki Takahashi down the right, and Takahito Soma down the left creating space and chances for the home team on the floor and in the air, and it was another ex-Yokohama F.Marinos player who came closest to doubling the score, Kazuma Watanabe's near post header beating the keeper and the far post.
Vissel's profligacy in front of goal came back to haunt them before the break as Jungo Fujimoto got on the end of a floated Takumi Shimohira cross and looped a header over the keeper and in at the far post. The Yokohama F.Marinos player seemed as surprised a s anyone that the ball made it into the net! 1-1 at the break.
Vissel missed another chance, or actually THREE chances, in the 69th minute, as, again, they tried to walk the ball in. A save, a block from Yuji Nakawaza and desperate defensive play saw the home attack foiled again. A minute later Ogawa was inches away from connecting with a low Soma cross with the keeper beaten but the ball flew past for a goal kick as the diminutive forward slid in.
Vissel continued to turn the screw - much as they did this time in the first half - and failed to convert their chances - much like the first half, also! In the 72nd minute Watanabe rose at the far post to head a Takahashi cross just wide as the away defence continued to ride their luck.
Nelsinho rolled the dice on 78 minutes, replacing young Ryosuke Maeda - who had played brilliantly against the likes of Admilson and Manabu Saito - with Hideo Tanaka, while Shunsuke Nakamura made an appearance for the visitors at the same time.
Vissel continued to press, really looking for a win and it was Ogawa, again sliding in to miss a low cross narrowly, as Vissel just could not capitalize on possession and chances. The match ended in a draw and it was the away fans who were relieved, the home fans frustrated.
July 15th is the next home game, against Shonan Bellmare. Surely three points are expected, and needed as the team targets the 2nd Stage! July 25th sees the Hanshin Derby. Plenty of action to look forward to!
Team - Yamamoto, Bueno, Masukawa, Iwanami, Shu.Takahashi, Soma, Morioka, Maeda (Tanaka, 78), Marquinhos (Masuyama, 88), Watanabe, Ogawa