- Playing well with good vibes.
- Be aware and support your team mates as quick as possible.
- Don’t lose your concentration to the end.
“It was our 1st game in J1 since quite a while ago today, however so many people came to the stadium to see the match and I want to thank all those people so much. Because of the power of support they gave us, the players worked so hard till right to the end. I felt some tension among them, but they didn’t stop running until the last whistle. We aimed steadiness of defence in this game and it worked, however lacked precision in attacks, so I would like to revise on it.”
Q: How do you feel about earning the 1st point in J1 at the 1st game after the promotion?
“We had so many supporters who came to the stadium, so I wanted to get 3 points for them but ended up just 1. So I want to make this 1 point as ‘a valuable 1 point’ for future games.”
Q: Among the players, there must be some nervousness and they may of found it difficult to fit-in, as it was their 1st game in J1 after a while. Did you feel they were getting over it as the game went by?
“There is so much work which we must get on with, and we are not 100% yet, so it should be getting better as we play more games.”
■ Yoichiro Kakitani
Q: How do you feel about the defence?
“The opponent went back very quickly to their defending position, and also they didn’t come forward too much, so as the game developed we rather restrained each other”
Q: Are there any assignments in offence?
“The receiving ball position was more like in mid-field, so I felt it was a little too far to move inside. I keep feeling that I should receive the ball deeper so I could have more attacking chances. However the communication with the defenders was perfect, and as we are working on the defence I want to continue this positive side. And when we have a chance of counter attack, I want one or two more guys to be ready to run forward.”
Q: Do you have ambition for future games?
“I am really looking forward to play every single game. It would be a fantastic start if we won the 1st game but I should take it positively as at least we didn’t lose and we really want to win the next game.”
■ Kim Jinhyeon
Q: How do you feel about the team’s defence, though not many times you had opponent players come into your penalty area?
“We knew Shunsuke Nakamura was the one who would be feeding ball, so we marked him for not getting ball, and even if he did we had the prepared positioning that we could put him under pressure, therefore we didn’t have any serious threats at all. So Shunsuke received ball in mid-field, and we didn’t allow him to feed the ball in. We were conscious about what we’ve been working on, all 11 of us played compact and covered each other, so we didn’t create so much dangerous situations.”
■ Riku Matsuda
Q: How do you feel after the 1st J1 game as a member of Cerezo Osaka?
“I enjoyed playing, but we should of won the game.”
Q: You had a great cross to Kenyu Sugimoto in 1st half. Did you play as the team aimed and working in the practice?
“Yes. The manager is telling me to create a base at the side and make a cross, he gave me the opportunity to play with my excellence.”
Q: On defence side, Cerezo didn’t allow any goals, did you?
“The whole team is conscious about defending together, even Forwards run hard for defence, and that is great help for us too.”
Q: I presume you wanted to win, but how do you feel about this 1 winning point?
“This is such a variable 1 winning point, and it is good thing that we didn’t lose.”
■ Hotaru Yamaguchi
Q: Cerezo finished the game without losing any points…
“That is only thing I value about the game.”
Q: What was wrong?
“In the preparation we spent most of the time practicing defence, so on attacking side I felt timing was off and we could not link properly. I think that is our challenge for future.”
Q: There were chances by attacking from the sides, do you think the team is starting to express the skills you’ve been working on?
“It is true that since Mr Yoon became the manager, we attack more from sides than from the center. We were all conscious about attacking from the sides today too.”
Q: There was a chance created by you when you made the feed with center forward pass, wasn’t it?
“Of course, we cannot do side attack only all the time. It is important to use side attack and center attack case by case. It can be players distance or maybe combinations, and as we play more games, we’ll learn more and get better. I want to take today’s result positively.”
Q: How are you feeling after the 1st game of the season?
“It was a game in a very difficult situation as it was the 1st match, and though we could not get 3 winning points as we aimed, I think it wasn’t too bad that we could earn 1 point. We must work hard as a team to get better.”
Q: What was a good thing in today’s game?
“We kept our spirit to win the game throughout the 90 whole minutes, even when we faced difficult situations during the game we kept our concentration and being strong. That was the best thing in this game, I should say. As a team, we must keep such strong spirit, and I will play with such spirit in coming games.”
Cerezo Osaka is back to J1 after 3 seasons. At their home ground, Yanmar Stadium Nagai - known as the Mecca of historical cherry blossoms, they faced Jubilo Iwata led by manager Hiroshi Nanami. Cerezo lacked Hiroshi Kiyotake in their line-up because of his injury.
Though it was only 9.7℃ but nice sunny day, they had 33.208k spectators. Cerezo Osaka struggled in the 1st half by the team ‘Sax Blue’ by their ball passing skills, and the team now has a Japanese national player, the lefty Shunsuke Makamura who just joined Jubilo Iwata from this season. However Cerezo has been working on their defence from right beginning of their training with the new manager Yoon, the blossom warriors kept their calm. Solid defence led by the centre back pair Matej Jonjić and Tatsuya Yamashita, held Jubilo’s players back and didn’t allow them to come in.
At 36 minutes, GK Kim JinHyeon denied Jubilo Iwata’s Midfielder Adaílton dos Santos da Silva’s middle shot. However Iwata’s new star player Nakamura’s set-pieces became real threats, and there was a dangerous situation at Iwata’s corner kick just before halftime, but got over it with a contribution of Iwata player’s foul.
On the other hand, during 1st half Cerezo Osaka also started to get their rhythm, and managed to create some chances by side attacks that they’ve been practicing in their training under Yoon’s conduct. At 27 minutes, Souza received the feed from Riku Matsuda from right side and hit middle shoot, also at 45 minutes Sugimoto reacted to Matsuda’s early cross with an opponent defender. The ball hit the defender and reflected towards Iwata’s goal, but hit the bar and missed the goal.
“I feel good vibes. Be conscious to support your team mates as quick as you can. And keep your concentration until to the end.” Yoon gave the instructions to the players at halftime, however Cerezo faced an accident soon after the 2nd half began. Kota Mizunuma suffered by an injury and was substituted by Mitsuru Maruoka who had never played for J1 games until then. And it was Jubilo Iwata pacing at beginning of the 2nd half. Cerezo also showed some struggling with Iwata’s new forwarder Kengo Kawamata’s driving power.
But they managed to keep their concentration on their defence. “Everyone were so conscious about what we’ve been practising, all the 11 players played compact and covered each other, so we didn’t allow them to create critical situations.” Said Kim JinHyeon.
Then Cerezo increased their chances by handler Yamaguchi’s works and the intercept by Souza. At 78 minutes, Yamaguchi passed the ball to Kunimitsu Sekiguchi, then it connected to Kakitachi who had a shot with his left foot but just missed the goal. Cerezo built up their offence by adding Ricardo Santos in at 86 minutes, Yusuke Maruhashi had a shot at 87 minutes, Kakitani and Ricardo Santos also made attempts in the additional time, however they were held and denied by Iwata’s GK Kaminski. Cerezo managed to not lose any points and resulted because of their defence, but there was no goal in this game, and Yoon’s Cerezo Osaka’s 1st game ended as a no score draw.