J-League title hopefuls Yokohama F Marinos need to “just keep playing” their football, manager Ange Postecoglou said Saturday after his side moved to the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Matsumoto Yamaga.
Teruhito Nakagawa struck the winner barely a minute into the clash at Sunpro Alwin stadium, running unchecked from the right wing before beating Matsumoto keeper Tatsuya Morita with a curling shot from the top of the box.
With just two games remaining, Postecoglou’s men claimed top spot for the first time this season after title rivals FC Tokyo were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Shonan Bellmare.
Postecoglou, who could make history as the first Australian manager to win the J-League title, had a simple message for his players going into the last two games of the season.
“Just keep playing our football, that’s what’s got us to here,” the former Socceroos boss said.
Marinos, who are unbeaten in the league since Aug. 17, visit two-time reigning champions Kawasaki Frontale next Saturday before hosting FC Tokyo in the last game on Dec. 7 in a clash which could effectively serve as a winner-takes-all final.
“We look forward to a big game next week against Kawasaki,” Postecoglou said. “They’re a fantastic team and we look forward to that challenge.”
At a wet and windy Ajinomoto Stadium, Bellmare looked set to upset FC Tokyo thanks to Temma Matsuda’s first-half opener, but Masato Morishige salvaged a draw with a stunning long-range equalizer in the 94th minute.
FC Tokyo, who are chasing their first-ever J1 title, host Urawa Reds next Saturday.