Football: Marinos overcome plucky Ventforet in Super Cup

Takuma Nishimura struck midway through the second half to give J-League first-division champions Yokohama F Marinos a 2-1 win over the Emperor's Cup holders, second-division club Ventforet Kofu, in the Fujifilm Super Cup on Saturday.

Heavy favorites to win the 2023 season curtain raiser, Kevin Muscat's Marinos dominated possession but had to battle until the final whistle to claim their first Super Cup against giant killers Kofu.

Marinos took the lead at Tokyo's National Stadium through Elber before Peter Utaka hit back for last year's 18th-place J2 side, who eliminated a succession of top-flight opponents en route to Emperor's Cup glory in October.

Elber finished a quick-fire attacking movement in the 30th minute, lashing home from the left of the box after Anderson Lopes squared it with his back to goal.

Yoshiyuki Shinoda's side leveled in the closing moments of the first half after a lengthy check by the video assistant referee confirmed journeyman striker Utaka stayed onside in the run-up to his goal off Yoshiki Torikai's pullback.

Lopes was also instrumental to Marinos' 61st-minute winner, getting through on goal and hitting the post under pressure, with the rebound providing a straightforward tap-in for Nishimura.

After Kofu brought all 11 men forward in search of an equalizer in injury time, defender Eduardo Mancha found the net but was ruled offside, with a VAR check going against the J2 side this time.

Aiming to go back-to-back as champions for the first time since 2004, Marinos will kick off their J1 campaign against 2022 runners-up Kawasaki Frontale at Todoroki Stadium on Friday.

© Kyodo News