After going through a series of continuous games, there was a three-week interval. During this period, keeping up the players’ motivation was a challenge. I predicted that today’s game would be difficult. However, the result was good, which will get us to the next stage. In particular, our fans who came here, despite of the bad weather, are buoyed with the victory. After this game, we will have a long off-season. I would like the players to have good rest and preparation for the rest of the league games.
■ Matej Jonjic
What I am disappointed in today was that we could not make any additional goals. Miyazaki pressurized us, trying a through-pass or cutting through behind the line. We had a dangerous moment at some point, but in the end, it was good to finish the game with 1-0.
Q: Did the slippery pitch affect your play?
As it was raining and the pitch was slippery, even a small mistake might have been a caused for conceding a goal. So, I needed to focus on the game. I am happy with our result.
Toshiyuki Takagi scores the winning goal. The solid defense leads Cerezo to a good start with a clean sheet
Cerezo fought against Tegevajaro Miyazaki in the second game of the 98th Emperor cup. In the opening of the first half, Miyazaki put out quite an offensive side with a 3-5-2 formation. The defenders pressed from the back, and after an interception, a ball was quickly sent to up front. The opponents’ cross from a wingback was about to hit the net. Midst Miyazaki’s threat, Cerezo calmly played until a chance arrived. On the 16th minute, Fukumitsu jumping into the front met Osmar’s loop pass with his header, but hit the post. Yoichiro picked it up to prod it home, but it was disallowed due to Fukumitsu’s off side play. Later on, Miyazaki’s side attacking and lurking techniques created a nerve-racking situation for Cerezo. After 25 minutes passed, the game increasingly heated up.
On the 25th minute, the Miyazaki goalkeeper parried Maruhashi’s cross, Osmar quickly picked it up for blasting a strike. Toshiyuki Takagi set up a chance to allow Fukuimitsu to score a goal. Under an electric atmosphere, the first goal was scored.
On the 31st minute, after Sugimoto’s throw-in, Kakitani dribbled the ball toward the Miyzaki’s half upfield through the right flank. Despite being surrounded with the opponent’s defenders, he calmly flicked the ball past them onto Takagi waiting at the far post. Kakitani dinked the ball to pass to Takagi, who calmly prodded it home,an opening goal. On the 40th minute, Souza played a one-two with Kakitani, dashed into the front of the goal and blasted it. The first half ended with Cerezo’s lead.
In the earlier stages of the second half, Miyazaki continuously got the chance for a corner kick, however, Cerezo managed to dominate possession. On the 64th minute, Souza’s middle shot hit the post. On the 65th minute, Sugimoto blasted a ball, which was saved by the goalkeeper. On the 66th minute, Maruhashi’s right-footed high-rising corner kick was met with Matej Jonjic, but it flew onto the bar.
Cerezo squandered the second chance. On the other hand, Miyazaki never allowed for any additional goals with their tireless goalkeeper, Tatsuya Murao. At this point, the game was changed and Miyazaki got momentum. On the 68th minute, Felipinho who was brought on as a substitute, set up chances, by cutting thorough behind the defense line or delivering a cross from a side, which threatened Cerezo many times. Matej Jonjic and Kenta Tanno made an intense effort to clear the balls with composure. On the 77th minute, Cerezo blocked down Miyazaki’s cross but unwittingly gave them a chance to pick up the ball that the defenders cleared, which caused a crisis, but eventually the defense side managed to close it down. On the 84th minute, Felipinho stepped into the inside-left channel after playing a one-two, which appeared to finish Cerezo off, but Tanno cleared the attempt shot from a tight angle.
Cerezo who failed to turn a chance into a second goal, faced Miyazaki’s counter attack. Again, they had to go through the nerve-racking moment. Before the game, Tanno said: “Patience is very important when the game is not our side.” The pitch was slippery due to the continuous rain, which potentially triggers a careless miss, which may concede a goal. With this circumstance, Cerezo defenders worked hard throughout the game. It is a deserved clean sheet.