Before the game, I said to the lads, “ We have not won at this stadium, we need to change our fixation. We must become a legend.” Perhaps “becoming a legend” is overstated. Fortunately, we got numerous goals and the difference was 2. I am really happy to share this away game victory with lots of fans. In terms of the game, early goals gave us a good start but later on we had to put out a defensive side. On the whole, the team performed well with a lot of spirit, which brought this result. Each game is very important for us. I believe that today’s game will have a positive influence on the next game.
■ Yoichiro Kakitani
Q1: It was the first goal in this season, wasn’t it?
I expected that you’d say so. As you know, a chance comes to everybody. So I always try, but there are ups and downs. Sometimes it goes well like today but sometimes it goes wrong. Before trying it, who knows? For me, more importantly, I was not patient at the time I had to be. I’d say the opponents helped me as my impatience didn’t cost so much. I found many things to improve, so I need to tackle these. During the game, Sendai overwhelmed us with the electric atmosphere of the fans. Especially, when they played well or hit the net, the supporters became louder and stronger. While playing, I felt it was amazing. However, even in such a circumstance, our team pressed ahead with a strong mentality. I think this victory is good but we sill have something to improve upon because we couldn't seal them and missed our chance for a goal. There is a still long way to go before savoring the victory. We just need more improvement.
Worthy rival – Cerezo sealed victory of Sendai at a fierce battle. The Team takes a step forward with a solid mentality
Shortly after the kick-off, Sendai were very offensive while Cerezo were under siege. Cerezo had patiently cleared the opponents’ attempts for a goal. On the 16th minute, Kakitani found an opening on counter attack. Kiyotake picked up the ball that Matej Jonjic cleared, sent it to the forward, Kakitani. He ran the channel at the back three and poached the goal with his left foot. This fantastic goal, set up by the partnership, excited the away supporters.
4 minutes later, in a high line Souza picked up the ball and sent it to Sugimoto Kenyu. He got the ball up to Kazuya Yamamura as quickly as possible. Yamamura hit the net from close range. An additional goal was scored. Cerezo astonished Sendai with their decisive plays that never missed out any chance for a goal. That said, Sendai’s mentality never weakened thanks to the home supporters’ passionate cheering. Meanwhile Cerezo failed to break down the opponent’s build-up play, and eventually conceded a goal on the 36th minute. The vibe turned worse. On the 39th minute, Kiyotake attempted a counter attack, dribbling through the defense. At that moment he got a problem with the back of his left thigh. He collapsed on the pitch, calling for his replacement.
This tragedy changed the game. Cerezo had to play the defensive game to keep one goal lead despite of having gained upper hand with 2 goals.
In the first half Cerezo’s defensive frailties were outstanding issues. After the break, they managed to keep their shape. “ We’ve taken the lead. Next goal is crucial. Score it first” Kim JinHyeon said to the lads. With this consensus, the eleven came back to the pitch, started to dominate the half. On the 58th minute, Tatsuya Yamashita headed the cross from Maruhashi and got the 3rd goal.
Immediately, Sendai brought Chrislan on. Cerezo changed the back line to three including Yamamura. On the 61st minute, Chrislan created the chance, broke down the back three and scored. It shrank the goal gap again. This season, Yoon’s side has shown strong resilience against such circumstances. On the 68th minute, Souza picked up a cleared ball from the opponent, and held it with Sugimoto and shot the goal but it was saved. The deflected ball was hit by Hotaru Yamaguchi. Finally Cerezo had extended their lead.
After that, they continued the 5-4-1, which ended up closing out the game although Sendai aggressively pressed ahead. Kim JinHyeon’commitment also contributed to their stability later in the second half.