EC vs Sagan Tosu: Match Report

Cerezo Osaka drew Sagan Tosu away in the third round of the Emperor's Cup, and having played Giravanz Kitakyushu in the league four days earlier and with another match coming up against Tokushima Vortis three days later some rotation was required. Overall five changes were made, with Ricardo Santos starting up front, Shohei Kiyohara and Kunimitsu Sekiguchi lining up behind the Brazilian, and Kenta Mukuhara and Teruyuki Moniwa coming into the defence.

This was the first time Cerezo had faced a top flight side since being relegated in 2014, and Hotaru Yamaguchi suggested after the game that they were initially perhaps a little hesitant as a result. Tosu moved the ball with good rhythm and picked up a lot of second balls, leaving Cerezo struggling to contain their attack.

In the 31st minute Yusuke Maruhashi brought down Tosu striker Yohei Toyoda to concede a penalty, which Toyoda himself converted to give the home side the advantage. Just two minutes later Sagan had another opportunity but goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon got a slight touch on Toyoda's header and diverted it onto the crossbar.

Cerezo finally went close shortly before half time, but Mukuhara was adjudged to be offside when sent through on goal by Kiyohara in the 44th minute. Then, in additional time, Kiyohara had a shot that was narrowly blocked by a Tosu defender.

From the start of the second half, manager Kiyoshi Okuma sent Kenyu Sugimoto onto the pitch and Cerezo started to create better opportunities. Souza was also introduced in the 58th minute and for a while Cerezo had the upper hand, with Ricardo Santos sending two shots narrowly wide.

After failing to take those chances Cerezo embarked on another attack in the 75th minute, but when it broke down Tosu countered. The home side were more ruthless with their opportunity and Takamitsu Toyama made it 2-0.

Cerezo had 11 shots in the second half to Sagan's six, but they weren’t able to find the net with any of them. That means this tournament is over now, leaving just one target remaining for the season – promotion to J1.

Emperror's Cup 3 Sagan Tosu Emperror's Cup 3