Marinos take revenge with Emperor's Cup victory
Yokohama Marinos beat J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 to win the prestigious Emperor's Cup on Wednesday, avenging their defeat by one point in the league title race last month.
Manabu Saito opened the scoring in the 17th minute and former Japan centre back Yuji Nakazawa nodded in a header four minutes later in a sequence which followed a corner from former Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura.
It was the first piece of silverware for Yokohama since they won the league title in 2004.
They beat Hiroshima twice this past season but missed out on the league championship on December 7, the final round of the March-December J-League season.
Hiroshima retained their title by whipping Kashima Antlers 2-0, while Yokohama surrendered their championship lead in tears as they went down 1-0 to Kawasaki Frontale.
"I'm happy with the victory but it would have been better if we had won the league title," Nakamura, 35, told reporters at Tokyo's National Stadium after the game.
The 92-year-old Emperor's Cup, one of Japan's three major football tournaments, is open to both professional and amateur clubs.
Nakamura, a left-footed midfielder and deadball specialist who ended his international career after the 2010 World Cup, recalled Yokohama's defeat in the Emperor's Cup two years ago.
"It was great to wrap it all up by finally winning the Cup," he said.