“We are having a good mood recently, however it was a very difficult match today to keep concentration in such windy weather, and despite that condition the players maintained very high concentration. They scored the opening goal at very a nice time in the game, and the additional goal was just the decisive for today’s match. But, just at one moment, when they relaxed down their concentration, lost a goal to the opponent. As we are not having games with a clean-sheet at the moment, this is something we have to improve. The lads worked very hard until the end. I have to positively take that we could maintain the good mood. Sagan Tosu is a tough team who play with hard work, but our guys worked harder today and seized the victory. We are having a very hard schedule, but all the players are making a big effort to overcome this situation, so I feel it will be even better.”
■ Yoichiro Kakitani
Q: Didn’t the opening goal make the flow of the game?
“Yes. We could play calm and made the game in our pace.”
Q: Now you have 3 consecutive wins in official matches?
“The injured players are coming back too, so we will be stronger and produce better football.”
■ Played tough and won the close game, Cerezo has achieved to 3 consecutive victories in official matches
After the first J1 league win against Shonan Bellmare at the 5th round, and AFC Champions League MD5 win against JeJu United that also provided the team hope of passing through the group stage, today’s game against Sagan Tosu became the 3rd consecutive victory at home for Cerezo. They won the game they wanted to earn 3 winning points from and maintain the good mood they’ve been possessing, by Yoichiro Kakitani and Yusuke Maruhashi’s goals that made them win 2-1, and they are climbing up to at the 5th position on the league table by the day.
Cerezo didn’t have very good start. Strong winds were raging in Kincho Stadium, and they positioned in the lee in 1st half that made them to be attacked by opponent who hit behind Cerezo’s defence lines. In 8th minute, Ryosuke Tagawa made it through to the back of Cerezo’s defence and put Cerezo in a critical situation, however, the ‘guardian deity’ Kim Jin-hyeon saved the goal just by his right hand, and rescued the team. Then Cerezo had a chance. In 14th minute, an opponent defender failed to make a good clear on the cross Toshiyuki Takagi made, Kenyu Sugimoto acted on the loose ball and struck it hard to the goal, but unfortunately it hit the post.
Cerezo managed to regain their pace by time past, and succeeded to have an opening goal in 27th minute. When opponent centre back tried to defend the cross from Takagi but dropped the ball by his incomplete action, Kakitani didn’t miss the chance, stole the ball and went towards the goal by himself. He executed with the technical shot calmly from an acute angle into right-hand corner of the goal, and brought rejoicing over Kincho Stadium.
In 2nd half, it was Cerezo who had a chance first. After 1 minute into the 2nd half, Cerezo made an attack like a wave, then Kakitani made a header onto Maruhashi’s cross, but it just missed frames. After that, Tosu made several counter goal attacks and threatened Cerezo, but Cerezo survived the moment, and in 55th minute, they made an additional goal from unexpected situation. Kota Mizunuma made a shot to the pass that Kakitani let go, and that was saved by the goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, however that gave Cerezo a corner-kick took by Maruhashi, he kicked the ball near to the goal post that bent into the goal and sucked into the net by itself.
That made Cerezo in a superior position, however, offensive ability of Tosu who came back behind 2 goals and turned the game around in the last season was still a big threat. In 77th minute, it’s kind of becoming a pattern of losing a goal to Cerezo happened again, they lost a goal by a header that was made on the cross which came from side, and that made just 1 goal difference. Then the manager Yoon Jung-Hwan made a swift decision. He sent Kazuya Yamamura to the pitch as a substitute to Sugimoto, and Yamamura set himself in the defence line. They shifted their defence to a 5 back form like they did several times in the last season, and choose to defend the situation, and ended the match without any further threat by Tosu.
They didn’t necessary overwhelm the opponent, but didn’t miss the chances they had, “Yoon-Cerezo” showed beautiful handling of the game, and also didn’t lose a fight for the ball and that was the challenge for this match. “Sagan Tosu is a tough team who play with hard work, but our guys worked harder today and seized the victory”, the commander who is also ex of the opponent team said proudly after the game.
Although Cerezo couldn’t win at the start of the season and struggled with the position on the league table, they achieved to have consecutive wins now. As well as building up the winning points, the injured players have come back and that will give the team more opportunity and ways to play, Cerezo is getting ready to fight back.