Firstly, I would like to give credit to lots of people. As for the team selection for today’s game, it was not straightforward because the game against Kobe is just around the corner. Two consecutive games were overwhelming, so I chose the team members who have consistently made a good flow during recent games. Before the game, I gathered that Kobe’s line-up would be the almost same as for the league cup. We battled against such players but my team was level with them. Each player’s determination to win brought today’s victory. I feel that they showed a lot of spirit. Needless to say, my players were not as good as Kobe, but when it comes to teamwork, they were admirable. So, again, I would like to give my team credit for the fine display.
■ Kota Fujimoto
The game against Hiroshima in the Levain cup was the same as today’s game. It was oppressing. But having had such an experience before, I could play calmly, thinking this game is our pace. It was hard, but we all are not persmistic. So, all in all, it was a good game.
Q: Do you think that your team was able to play your tactics for the Levain cup?
"Well, to be honest, we should have done more passing, but our stamina was not strong enough to keep going, partially because of the high humidity and massive heat. In retrospect, there could have been some way to deal with such circumstances."
Q: You are the top in the league table, waiting for the final game. You’ve completed the group stage with 4 wins and 2 draws, haven’t you?
"It depends on our opponent. I must have fingers crossed to go through in first position. For me, it was a good performance in the group stage being beaten."
Teamwork brings victory! Saved shot from Fujimoto, moves us up to the top in Group B!!
The opponent, Kobe has many great players, Kazuma Watanabe, Kim SeungGyo, and Takuya Iwanami. The game seemed challenging. From the kick-off, Cerezo played aggressively against Kobe, being cheered by the home supporters. In the 7th minute, Takaki Fukumitu threatened to their goal. In the 10th minute, Sawaue attempted a goal. In the 11th minute, the opponent’s foul play gave a chance for Cerezo to make an opening goal.
Yusuke Tanaka’s free kick from the left side of Kobe, Yasuki Kimoto latched on to the pass at the far side, and passed it to Kota Fujimoto who was just running in front of the post, and with his right foot volleyed it towards the target.
The ball flew above the goalkeeper’s head into the back of the net. It was an awful finish. No 4, with 14 years-experience, hit the net and is the second oldest player after the today’s skipper, Noriyuki Sakamoto. The score changed the mood of Cerezo and made them more offensive.
Hirota Mizutani, Fukumitu, and Kunimtu Sekiguchi created other chances for additional goals. Midst Kobe’s counter-attack, the defender, Tanaka completely blocked the right side. Kobe could not get through.
Kobe brought on Kotaro Omori in the second half, despite that they were bound to win the title even if the result is a draw. The pressure increased. Cerezo could not find any chance to score a goal. All of a sudden, the Cerezo manager changed the formation and brought Kimoto into the defensive line to make a back 5 formation, expecting to boost the defence. In the 68th minute, 16-year-old, Seco who is born in 2000, was brought on. He is appreciated by the manager,saying “ He is physically strong and has good skills with feet and head ”
In the 73rd minute, Takeru Kishimoto came on to make the front line work. This change clearly made the defence and attack stronger. Three minutes later, Kobe’s midfielder, Masatoshi Miura received a second yellow card due to his foul play for blocking Kishimoto. During the remaining 15 minutes, Cerezo made the most of the opportunity against the 10 men.
Eleven players had focused on the game until the end. Finally Cerezo won a 1-0. Their victory pushed them up to the top in the Group B table with 4 wins, 2 draws and without any defeats.