It’s Match Day 3 of the AFC Champions League, and Melbourne Victory is set to face J-League powerhouse, Yokohama F. Marinos, at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday night.
It-s Match Day 3 of the AFC Champions League, and Melbourne Victory is set to face J-League powerhouse, Yokohama F. Marinos, at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday night.
There-s plenty riding on this fixture, with either side yet to taste three points in the group stage of the Champions League so far. Melbourne Victory and Yokohama F. Marinos sit on 1 point each, following Melbourne-s 2-2 draw with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Yokohama-s 1-1 draw with Guangzhou Evergrande on Match Day 2.
Match Day 1 wasn-t kind for either side as Victory was unable to hold on to a half time lead in its 4-2 loss in China, while Jeonbuk were too strong for Yokohama in a 3-0 defeat in Korea.
How Yokohama F. Marinos qualified: It was a direct qualification for Yokohama, as runner-up in Japan-s J-League in 2013.
This 2014 campaign will be Yokohama-s third in the AFC Champions League, having played in the group stages in 2004 and 2005.
No stranger to success, Yokohama have won the J-League three times (1995, 2003 and 2004) as well as six Emperor-s Cups.
Key Players: There is quality all over the park for Yokohama, but perhaps the biggest name in their side would be former Celtic and Japan national team icon, Shunsuke Nakamura. Nakamura, who also wears the armband, was named J-League player of the year in last year-s campaign, showing that at even 35-years-of-age, he has plenty to offer his side.
Centre-back Yuji Nakazawa doesn-t often lose one-on-one duels with opposing attackers and has been a big part of the Japan national side.
His impressive work in the heart of defence saw him make the J-League team of the year in 2013 and was no doubt key to ensuring Yokohama were a chance for the J-League title up until the final round.
The coach: Yashurio Higuchi has been a big part of the Yokohama F. Marinos history both as a player and a manager.
Higuchi played his first professional football as a youngster for Yokohama-s youth side, forcing his way to the senior line up. Injury saw his career end early and it was then Higuchi decided to become a coach. He took on the top job at Montedio Yamagata, Omiya Ardija and Yokohama FC.
Prior to the 2012 J-League season, Higuchi was given the top job and managed to steer his team into fourth position in his first year, before seeing even better performances from his side that saw them finish runners-up in 2013 and secure automatic Asian Champions League qualification.
Melbourne Victory v Yokohama F. Marinos Match Day 3: AFC Champions League Tuesday, March 18, 7:30pm Melbourne Rectangular Stadium Tickets: Click here