Ado Onaiwu’s hat trick gave Yokohama F. Marinos a comfortable 3-0 win over a frustrated FC Tokyo side on Saturday in a game played behind closed doors due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a good game for us. We worked really hard, pressed hard as a team and put them under pressure,” Marinos manager Ange Postecoglou said. “When we had the ball we were always dangerous. We scored three good goals but could have had more.”
The defeat at Ajinomoto Stadium extended Tokyo’s misery to four straight losses in the J. League’s first division, leaving Kenta Hasegawa’s side 20 points adrift of league-leading Kawasaki Frontale.
“I feel responsible as a manager for us to lose 3-0 at home,” Hasegawa said. “The players never gave up even after their third goal… and I think we can build on this performance for our next game. However we did give up those, and we have to improve defensively.”
Calamity befell Tokyo just two minutes into the match when defender Takuya Uchida suffered an injury in the penalty area while attempting to defend against Marinos striker Daizen Maeda, with the 22-year-old quickly stretchered off for first-year signing Sodai Hasukawa.
It took five minutes for Marinos to take advantage when forward Elber cut in from the right side, drawing out Tokyo goalkeeper Go Hatano before sending the ball across the box to Onaiwu. The former Japan U-23 player briefly appeared tangled up in his own feet before finally tapping the ball into an empty net.
“As a central forward, it’s my job to get into that position,” Onaiwu said. “I think what Elber did was everything. He broke free over there (on the right flank), and I’m glad I was able to free myself up and score.”
Elber and Onaiwu combined for a nearly identical goal in the 52nd minute, this time without any hesitation from Onaiwu, who wrapped up his hat trick in the 61th minute with a calm effort from outside the six-yard box.
“It wasn’t just because of my abilities, it was something everyone worked to achieve,” Onaiwu said of his first Marinos hat trick. “I can’t just be satisfied with three goals today and want to keep working hard in the next game.”
Despite recovering from their early struggles and holding Yokohama to one goal before halftime, Tokyo clearly lacked spirit after the break and committed frequent defensive errors, allowing Marinos to find the tempo that they struggled at times to find in the first half.
“They’re a good team and they put us under pressure,” Postecoglou said of Tokyo. “If teams are going to press (against us) they’re going to use a lot of energy, and we know we’re going to be more fit. I never felt like we weren’t in control of the game.”
Saturday’s game was one of three “remote matches” in this weekend’s top-flight action, with Vissel Kobe hosting Sanfrecce Hiroshima at an empty Noevir Stadium and Osaka rivals Cerezo and Gamba set to clash on Sunday at Yanmar Stadium.
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