Emperror's Cup SemifinalYANMAR STADIUM NAGAI
- Mizunuma (90+1'), Kakitani (98'), Souza (114')
- Omori (90')
I am pleased that we could delight many fans who came to the stadium, and supported us through in cold weather. I could not predict how today's game would have gone. With the absence of main players, the game did not go as well as I wanted. We had some chances but could not easily turn them into a goal. In the second half, we conceded a goal but shortly afterwards, we bounced back to be level, which led us to this result. Having a long way to reach this stage, we will play hard to grab the title. During the game, some players got injured. but, available players can do their best.
Q: What do you think of the goal which made the Cerezo equalizer?
I hit the net shortly after we conceded a goal, so I was very happy. This goal formed our rhythm and led us to come back from behind. Finally we won. I think that we displayed our strength during the game.
Q: It took so many years for Cerezo to get to the semi-final of the Emperor's Cup.
I have heard that Cerezo reached the semi-final for the Emperor's Cup 14 years ago. So I am happy to come here with this team. Personally, I have no experience of any final games, so I am looking forward to the 1st January in 2018.
Mizunuma equalised, in extra time Cerezo made a dramatic comeback. Cerezo go forward to a semi-final for the second victory!
Kobe predicted that Cerezo would dominate possession, with Manger Takayuki Yoshida admitting that he changed his plan after learning that Cerezo outplayed Kobe at the last game in the Yanmar stadium one month ago. In fact, Cerezo held the ball in the early part of the first half. Kobe were direct, playing deep with a solid defence. While the Kobe three midfielder were pressing forward with the second ball, Cerezo were struggling to form their own attacking rhythm
On the 13th minute, Cerezo almost got into a pinch when Kobe intercepted a ball from Souza. On the 14th minute, Kazuma Watanabe nearly turned the ball home from a long throw-in by Naoyuki Fujita,. On the 19th minute, Cerezo had a chance. Yamamura intercepted the ball after Kim Jyhohiyon, the goalkeeper, kicked. Fukumitsu ran through between lines to stab the net, but the ball went to the front of the Kobe goal keeper. Cerezo struggled to find effective attacking tactics against Kobe's solid defence. Meanwhile, they were hit by a short counter attack after Souza was intercepted on 36th minute.
The first half ended without any dangerous or decisive play for either team. In the second half, Cerezo started to press hard. Shortly after the second half began, Cerezo had a chance with 2 consecutive corner kicks from the left. On the 55th minute, Kiyotake collected a ball and pass it to the centre. Souza dashed to meet it with a shot it in. It went close, sliding cross bar. On the 60th minute, Cerezo got a chance for a free-kick. Souza tried to place it but the ball flew to against the Kobe goalkeeper, Kim Seung Gyu. Meanwhile, Cerezo closed down Kobe's long ball and counter-attack. In this way, they kept their own pace. On the 77th minute, it was the decisive moment for Manager Jung-HwanYoon. He immediately sent on Kakitani, a game maker, for Fukumitsu. One minute later, Kakitani caught the ball from Kiyotake, and attempted to set up a goal for Kiyotake with a pass. During the second half, Cerezo had some good chances but did not find it easy to score a goal at an away game. Kobe played a counter-attack. On the 90th minute, Kotaro Omori's cross was sucked into the back of the net. Cerezo unwittingly allowed the oppornents to take a lead. The game seemed be over. However, Cerezo did not givie up. Souza sent a long ball to upfront, who commented later that our team does not have such words as "give up." Yamamura met it with a header after tackling the opponents, and dropped the ball down to the pitch. The Kobe goal keeper,Kim Seung Gyu, tried to clear but the ball slipped. Kota Mizunuma immediately picked it up, and made a jumping volley to hit the net. Mizunuma made it level.
The game went into extra time. On the 98th minute of the first half, Cerezo were awarded a penalty kick by a Kobe defender's handball from Yusuke Maruhashi's free kick. The ball Kakitni kicked once saved by Kim Sungu, but the ball was parried. Kakitani swiftly headed the ball in, which led Cerezo to take a lead. Afterwards, Kobe brought in Mike Havenaar and Shyuhei Otsuki to get better upfront. To respond to this measure, Manager Yoon Jung-Hwan dropped Yamamura to the back to form the back 5. Against Kobe's powerful attacking, Cerezo managed to close out the game. On the 114th minute, Souza shot a winner. Cerezo eventaully got three points. The Levain Cup title winner, Cerezo desperate to get another title of the Emperor’s Cup thrashed Kobe and stepped forward to the final game after 14 years since 2003.