“I am very sorry for our struggle at the start of the game, our players just had the International game and this was the 1st game after the interruption period, and also we couldn’t deliver a good result despite having so many supporters who provided us with strength. However, even though we fell behind, the players kept fighting until the real end and made it a draw. All the players never gave up and kept running, and this is the strength our current team has. We lost a goal, and then had many chances. Unfortunately we could not execute those chances, and I feel that it is what the game of soccer is about. You must grab a chance and execute it when it comes. It’s not easy of course, but execution is the important thing. We must treat today’s 1 winning point as a very important point. From now on, the schedule is becoming very tight, so all the players should become one as a team, get over the hard schedule, and work hard and continue winning.”
■ Hiroshi Kiyotake
“Just wanted to win. Even though we had many chances in the 1st half, we couldn’t score, then in the 2nd half I joined in, but… well, I wanted to win, honestly. I played behind the striker, and that was my favourite position, and also that is the position I could change the game’s flow very easily. I enjoyed playing, so I hope we could have the result too. Our team is doing so well right now, so I wish we had 3 winning points from this game.”
Even though consecutive victories in the league matches stopped at 4, Cerezo showed desperate efforts until the end, and continues their undefeated games at home
Cerezo had 4 consecutive victories in the league matches, and when include the cup matches, 6 consecutive victories in regular games until this game. However, as Tatsuya Yamashita commented prior to the game “This is the match we should be very careful, we should start with high concentration and avoid making mistakes”, how they start this 1st match after the interruption period was a very important point. But just 3 minutes after start of the 1st half, they were caught off their guard by Shimizu S-Pulse. At right side of Cerezo’s territory, Tiago Alves made a left cross from a Shimizu’s simple slow-in, and Jong Tese scored with his header.
However, Cerezo started their counterattack immediately. Though there was a moment of struggling by Shimizu’s strong pressure, they eventually got into the opponent’s territory, then the full-back’s i.e. Yusuke Maruhashi and Riku Matsuda joined in attack, and strengthen their offence with their current forte set-pieces. But Cerezo failed to execute any goals, and ended the 1st half 0-1.
Entered into the 2nd half, the manager Yoon Jung-Hwan made an action. “Wanted to have a victory so bad today” as he said later, for aiming to win, he sent Hiroshi Kiyotake who had just been recovered from injury to the pitch. As Kiyotake said “that was my favourite position, and that is the position I could change the game’s flow very easily”, he set himself down at behind the striker, and speeded up the Blossom’s counterattack by moving around and creating through passes, that was just like hitting body-blows, Cerezo made real efforts and pressurised the opponent.
Also at 82nd minute, Yoon sent Kota Fujimoto as a substitute to Riku Matsuda, into a part of centre-back. That made Cerezo with 3 defenders, and put more efforts on attack. Close to the end of the match at 89th minute, as the last move, he sent Ryuji Sawakami at the top, and powered up in front of the goal. Then in the stoppage time, Cerezo managed to reverse their fortune of the game back to at the starting point. Just after the opponent’s final substitution, they had a free-kick at right side, and though that was cleared in front of the goal once, Cerezo managed to keep the ball and delivered it into inside the Shimizu’s penalty area, and that caused opponent defender’s hand-ball when Fujimoto was vying for the ball. Cerezo gained a penalty-kick. Kiyotake stroke the ball into the goal with high spirit, and made it draw. The Cerezo’s obsession just bore fruit. After this goal, they kept attacking for a winning goal, however the time was up as 1-1 draw. Though they kept undefeated games at home, failed for the 5 consecutive victories that they had in 2005 last time.
“We lost a goal right at the beginning, and that seemed to make all our game plan collapsed… After that, even though we had some chances, we couldn’t execute, and couldn’t make it correct, that was useless.” as Maruhashi said, they fell into Shimizu’s aim, and Cerezo should reflect on this. “Even though we fell to behind, players kept fighting until the real end and made it draw. All the players never gave up and kept running, and this is the strength our current team has.” as Yoon Jung-Hwan said, the attitude of attacking through and never neglecting hard work on defence & offence brought the 1 winning point to Cerezo Osaka.