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Monday, June 17, 2024

I Went To The Most Prestigious Membership Last In Asian Soccer For The 2nd Yr In A Row!

After surprisingly getting a ticket for the Asian Champions League (ACL) Last final yr (though technically it was the 2022 last) I actually was not anticipating to go to a different one anytime quickly. Nevertheless, after I observed that Yokohama F. Marinos had made it to the semi last of this yr’s event I started to suppose it was a risk.

Marinos nearly squeezed their means by means of the semi-final towards Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai and so I waited patiently for tickets to go on common sale as soon as all the right Marinos supporters had presumably aquired their seats for the large sport. With a stadium capability of 72,327, I used to be by no means too frightened about getting a ticket and didn’t really feel as responsible about taking one away from an actual fan this time. Having mentioned that, I did plan to purchase two tickets and take a pal however solely particular person seats had been obtainable so I simply went alone.

Annoyingly for me, my very own workforce Kashiwa Reysol had been enjoying at FC Tokyo at a time after I was nonetheless in work however the 7:00 pm begin for the ACL last made it potential to attend this one as an alternative in order quickly as my final lesson ended I headed to Shin Yokohama station as rapidly as potential realizing I’d make it into the stadium with about 25 minutes to spare.

It will’ve been good to be there a bit earlier to savour the pre-match festivities however because it was there wasn’t an excessive amount of spectacle and environment, and it simply appeared like another Marinos residence match with so many others arriving pretty late for this showpiece event. One has to imagine it was a carnival-like environment earlier that day or possibly it was  as a result of everybody knew it wouldn’t be selected this explicit evening.

As is usually the case these days, notably large events, there was a pre-kick 0ff tifo (choreographed show) which can look superb for TV viewers however is sort of annoying for me as a fan as I’ve to carry a chunk of colored plastic sheeting above my head reasonably than truly watching and applauding the groups as they enter the sector. That’s modern-day soccer although!

Australian managers Ange Postecoglou and Kevin Muscat guided Marinos to J1 League title successes in 2019 and and 2022 respectively however neither had been in a position to take the workforce  past the Spherical of 16 within the ACL. This yr is fellow Aussie Harry Kewell’s first season in administration, and while he’s struggled within the league, the previous Leeds and Liverpool striker has labored wonders in getting Marinos to their first continental last. Their opponents had been Al-Ain from the UAE who’re managed by former Argentinian worldwide Hernan Crespo.

An entertaining first half started with an early objective on 12 minutes from Al-Ain. That was not within the script and the house trustworthy had been surprised into silence on the half hour mark when a shot went by means of the legs of the Marinos keeper Popp. Fortunately VAR intervened to rule it out for offside and save the day for the Japanese workforce. Both facet of these efforts hitting the again of the online had been a sequence of high-quality saves from the Al-Ain goalie Eisa who appeared in impressed type and I used to be already pondering it wouldn’t be Yokohama’s evening because the UAE workforce additionally appeared harmful on the counter assault.


Midfielder Asahi Uenaka headed residence the equaliser on 72 minutes and 12 minutes later issues acquired higher. Substitue Kota Watanabe deflected residence an opportunity however celebrations had been short-lived because the lineman’s flag instantly went up for offside. The man in entrance of me accessed the dwell protection of the match on his cellphone and let everybody round him know that it was truly onside. Expectations went up and moments later the objective was given to wild and rapturous celebrations.

My thoughts was already turning to the trains for getting residence because it’d been an extended day however it’s not daily (simply yearly!!) you get to attend such a last so I hung round for a bit at full time to witness the house crowd’s delight.


That is the ultimate season of getting the ultimate as a house and away affair, and I’ve combined emotions about this. A two-legged last is sort of distinctive today and does give followers the possibility to pack out their very own stadium for one of many video games as Marinos did right here.  Nevertheless, a single-match last on impartial territory does enable for a much bigger day trip, and the match is determined then and there. Asia is a a lot larger continent than Europe although, and with the west assembly the east within the last there actually is not any handy choice for each groups. Little doubt cash will discuss when making that call!

The environment was nice on the stadium on the ultimate whistle however it usually is after a victory, and in a means this didn’t really feel too totally different to another J-League win. The job is just half finished and so it didn’t actually really feel like a last to me. It’s first blood to the Japanese facet although and Kewell is only one draw away from successful new silverware for the membership.  There’s an extended method to go in additional methods than one although because the second leg is 8,000 kilometres away within the UAE in a fortnight and sadly solely a small variety of Marinos followers will get to expertise it.

Last Rating: Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan) 2-1 Al-Ain (UAE)

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