The surprise 2-0 win for Yokohama F. Marinos at high-flying Vissel Kobe on Sunday went a long way to saving the job of coach Ange Postecoglou, a source close to the club has told ESPN FC.
Postecoglou, 53, left his position as head coach of Australia in October after leading the Socceroos through qualification for the 2018 World Cup and then took over at Yokohama in December.
But it has been a tough first season in the J.League. Under the Australian, the Marinos, fifth last season, have slipped down to 15th in the 18-team league and are in danger of a first-ever relegation from the top flight. Prior to the win over Kobe -- who boast stars such as Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski -- Yokohama had lost five of the previous six league games, with talk that Postecoglou might be sacked.
However, a source said the three-time Japanese champions knew it would take time to implement a new playing style.
The source added that the win in Kobe was essential for many reasons, not least because it kept Yokohama out of the bottom three which would have put extra pressure on the coach. Yokohama now have three successive home games against mid-table opposition in Shimizu S-Pulse, Kashiwa Reysol and Urawa Reds.