Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Look, it's Shinji Kagawa!: Yokohama 3 - Manchester United 2

The game started with a bang as Yokohama's Brazilian forward Marquinhos put the ball in the visitor's net within 27 seconds -- and that only after United goalkeeper David De Gea was forced to deny the Marinos once already at full stretch. The young Spaniard needed to be at his defensive best in the contest's early going, and only some help from midfielder Adnan Januzaj and the goalkeeper's cat-like reflexes stopped Yokohama from tripling their advantage in the first 15 minutes.

Jesse Lingard was in the right place, right time for the counter attack, and -- somewhat kindly for the visitors -- the game was back to equal by the time the clock hit 20 minutes. Although Lingard emerged with the glory, the goal was all but set on a platter by the beautiful wing play of Wilfried Zaha, who took full advantage of the 39 year old Yokohama defender who was unfortunate enough to draw defensive duties against United's new signing.

'Unfortunate' also aptly described Yokohama goalkeeper Enemoto and his hapless defender Masakaza Tashiro who combined for a horror show to welcome -- just barely, but welcome nonetheless -- young Januzaj' free kick over the line for a 2-1 United lead near the half hour mark. The Reds may have been on top at this point in the evening, but little did they know that would be their highpoint for the night.

Jonny Evans conspired to miss a wide open goal within minutes of the restart, while Yokohama's defender Fabio made no such mistake, pulling the home side back to level terms before the 50th minute had passed. While the goal was greeted with a shout, by far the biggest cheer of the evening erupted ten minutes later, as Shinji Kagawa entered the contest to replace Januzaj, earning a rapturous reception from the packed Nissan Stadium for pulling on his kit.

The next loudest cheer of the evening came when Yokohama took their second lead of the evening with less than five minutes to play, as Fujita passed the ball under De Gea to hand his side a lead that any but the sternest critics would deny was deserved. While the goal handed David Moyes his second defeat of the tour, it also raised questions about the camera man's fascination with Kagawa -- an almost constant presence on the broadcast, even as he managed to miss his only opportunity of the night. The home side may have won the game, but we're not sure anyone inside the stadium actually noticed -- they were too busy watching Shinji Kagawa.
This is farlieonfootie saying "Over here, Shinji!  We love you!" for July 24.

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