Soccer: Maeda brace propels Marinos to 3-0 win over Urawa

©Kyodo News

Daizen Maeda struck a first-half brace and Ryuta Koike added a third after the break as Yokohama F Marinos outclassed Urawa Reds 3-0 in the J-League first division on Sunday.

Both first-half goals at Yokohama's Nissan Stadium came after Marinos applied pressure high up the pitch and forced the visitors to cough up possession in attacking territory.

Maeda opened the scoring after just two minutes, volleying home at the back post after Urawa keeper Shusaku Nishikawa tried to parry away a cross from Teruhito Nakagawa.

The 23-year-old Olympic team aspirant doubled the lead for Ange Postecoglou's side in the 26th minute, with Nakagawa using his chest to tee up a close-range shot for Maeda following a ball into the box from Marcos Junior.

"On both the first and second goals, (Nakagawa) set me up nicely. All I had to do was put them away," said Maeda, who took his tally to five goals from the past three games.

Marinos extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Tomoki Iwata kept the ball on the deck with a superb long pass to Marcos Junior, whose short cross was turned in by Koike at the back post.

Maeda, on loan from second-division Matsumoto Yamaga, said his goal-scoring success stemmed from Marinos quickly turning defense into attack, a hallmark of their play under former Australian national team boss Postecoglou.

"Everyone on the team has been working hard and fighting for every loose ball," he said.

Following a draw and back-to-back wins, Marinos are unbeaten since their opening-day loss against champions Kawasaki Frontale.

Reds, meanwhile, have only a single victory so far in their first season under Spaniard Ricardo Rodriguez, along with a draw and two losses.