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Postecoglou leads Yokohama F. Marinos to J.League title


Tokyo: Yokohama F.Marinos' clinched the J.League title on Saturday to end a 15-year wait as head coach Ange Postecoglou created history by becoming the first Australian to win the Japanese title.

Ten-men Yokohama defeated eventual runners-up FC Tokyo 3-0 before a sell-out crowd of 64,000 at the Nissan Stadium to clinch their fourth J.League crown.

The win assures Yokohama - who finished on 70 points - a place in the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage.

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Yokohama – on a 10-game unbeaten run and six-match winning streak – entered the final-day showdown three points clear of Tokyo, with Postecoglou's men needing to lose by four goals to be denied the title.

Goals from Theerathon Bunmathan (26th), Erik Lima (44th) and Keita Endo (77th) ensured Yokohama - reduced to 10 men following goalkeeper Park Iru-gyu's sending off in the 64th minute - sealed the title in style.

For Postecoglou, the title is the latest in an impressive resume which now sees him as the first Australian coach to lead a team to the J.League title, with Yokohama having finished 12th last season, Postecoglou's first year in charge.

Postecoglou’s honour roll in his coaching career includes Australia’s 2015 AFC Asian Cup win, two A-League championships with Brisbane Roar and two NSL titles with South Melbourne.

He guided Australia through 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, stepping down after the Socceroos sealed their Finals ticket.

 

Postecoglou was elated at the historic feat.

“We’re champions!” he crowed. “I’m very proud of the players, very proud of the staff. We’ve got fantastic supporters and I’m very happy for them.

“We played our best football at the most important time and that’s why we ended up champions.

“Again our players showed tremendous belief and confidence and played fantastic football.”

Tokyo FC and third-placed Kashima Antlers sealed spots in the 2020 AFC Champions League play-offs.

Two-time AFC Champions League winners and 2019 runners-up Urawa Red Diamonds, meanwhile, finished 14th while Matsumoto Yamaga and Jubilo Iwata were relegated.

Photos: AFP

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