“I’d like to express my gratitude to all our supporters who came over long way to the stadium despite the bad weather. We faced the game as a challenger against powerful Kashima, and I believe our concentration and persistent brought us the result. We played good soccer as much as Kashima did. They made several substitutions, and Kashima was indeed very strong opponent. Our players worked so hard and kept running until real end against the strong team like them. And those players’ efforts brought the victories to us in a last few weeks. We will have more games to come. I want to be positive, and all the players should be well prepared and go for it.”
Q: About the winning goal scorer Kazuya Yamamura, not only he scored the goal but was involved in many other chances and seemed to be very determined. What is your verdict?
“He used be playing at centre-back and mid position, but I put him other positions where he can get more involved in the attack, and it’s working. He’s been always very consistent and plays well. Together with Kenyu Sugimoto, they can start creating chances, and that makes the game go smoothly. And, I shouldn’t forget to mention this, we had the 1st ‘goal from flow’ today. I am expecting more ‘goals from flow’ to come, and hope we execute the chances.”
■ Kazuya Yamamura
“(Q: Please retrace the moment of the goal)
We were talking ‘attack from near the goal’, so, then Kuni (Kunimitsu Sekiguchi) brought ball in and made a good toss, I’m so glad I executed well.
(Q: You managed to be free from Naomichi Ueda’s marking, were you aiming it as you knew him as a former team mate?)
It’s not because of Ueda, but I wanted to do something I used to get very annoyed when I was centre-back. So I’m happy I did it.
(Q: How do you feel about you played as an opponent player at Kashima Stadium, frankly?)
I mentioned this before the game too, but it was my aim to come back here to play, and I worked hard for it, so I am very glad to realize it, and also Cerezo made victorious.”
As the one, the team held on Kazuya Yamamura’s ‘returning favour to the club’ goal. The game they put their heart and soul brought Cerezo Osaka the 3rd consecutive victory in the league!
The 11 starting members were exactly the same as previous game against Yokohama F Marinos. They had Tatsuya Yamashita who‘s recovered from injury and Kota Mizunuma as substitutes. At the early stage of the game, Kashima Antlers mainly held on ball, but Cerezo defended well by linked formation topped by Kenyu Sugimoto and Kazuya Yamamura. They kept their cool and succeeded to establish their way to play the game. It was just one occasion in the 1st half, at 42nd minute, got a goal attempt from the centre gap, however GK Kym Jin-hyeon firmly denied.
Though Cerezo’s ball possession time was less than Kashima’s, Cerezo overwhelmed in the running distance, and never defeated at ‘fighting for the ball’ as Kunimitsu Sekiguchi pointed out for the importance prior to the game, and overall Cerezo played better than their opponent in 1st half. Then soon after start of the 2nd half, they moved the game forward. Sekiguchi stole the ball at low position in their own territory and passed it to Sugimoto at top. Sugimoto received and dropped the ball to Elierce Barbosa de Souza, then Souza made a fantastic pass to Sekiguchi who run up to the top. Sekiguchi then went into right side and made a near goal cross that was perfectly caught by Yamamura who’s been very determined for the game at his old club. He managed to become free from his old team mate Naomichi Ueda’s marking, and sank the ball into the net by header.
Even after the goal, Cerezo eagerly continued to seek for the 2nd goal, at 60th minute, combination play from Yoichiro Kakitani to Hotaru Yamaguchi and back to Kakitani into the penalty area to attack goal, and 69th minute, through-in received by Yamaguchi passed onto Kakitani then to Yamamura who created another chance. However Kashima who didn’t want to be defeated on their home ground started their fierce counterattack for the rest of the game. But Cerezo players never switched off their concentration until the end. At 88th minute, the strike by Kento Misao of Kashima narrowly hit the post, before end of the game Kim Jin-hyeon made some great saves, and made to the end of the game without any more goals. Cerezo earned 3 fantastic winning points against last season’s J league champion Kashima Antlers, with a great performance.
All the players never stopped moving their feet on the pitch until the end, fought through the entire game, and Cerezo Osaka grabbed the great victory. They are in great force by 3 consecutive league wins, and will face Gamba Osaka at home, Yanmar Stadium Nagai, for Osaka derby next.