Levain Cup vs Albirex Niigata: Match Report

1-0 victory with Yusuke Maruhashi’s super long shot. Cerezo secured top 3 in Group B!

Cerezo Osaka had a game against Albirex Niigata at their home ground Kincho Stadium for the 5th round of J league YBC Levain Cup, Group B. They had only 3 days between the previous J1 10th round away game v Kashiwa Reysol and this match, a rather short preparation period, and Cerezo faced the new opponent with new player line-ups.

At the beginning, Cerezo struggled with Niigata who just had a new manager and possessed full of determination for the victory. However at one scene, the Goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon stretched his arms out and blocked, the ball hit the crossbar and he avoided to lose a goal. Cerezo escaped from the crisis by the great play of the mighty saver. Then from around the 30th minute, Cerezo started showing better play, but the 1st half finished scoreless.

However, as Yasuki Kimoto later said “we survived without losing a goal, and that led us to the 2nd half”, Cerezo well endured over Niigata’s attack, and in 2nd half they played and stayed longer in the opponent territory. And they strengthen their offence position by sending Hiroshi Kiyotake at 63rd minute and Yusuke Maruhashi at 65th minute on the pitch, then at 79th minute, got the awaited opening goal. Maruhashi kicked long feed from left side in Cerezo’s own territory towards in front of the opponent goal, and Kiyotake and Ricardo Santos reacted to this ball and run after it as hard as they could. Though they couldn’t reach to the ball, it caused Niigata’s goalkeeper Tatsuya Morita’s misjudge, the ball bounced high over Morita’s head and drawn into the goal. For Maruhashi, who made the mistake at clear and that caused the team defeated by losing a goal in previous game against Kashiwa, it was the goal for wiping the disgrace.

After that there were some counter attacks by Niigata, but whole team of Cerezo defended firmly by risking their body including fantastic header clearance by Teruyuki Moniwa to Niigata’s goal shot, and didn’t allow a goal to the opponent. After all, Cerezo managed their victory by 1-0 and added the winning points to 11, made them secured within top 3 of Group B that guaranteed for entering to the play-off stage, along with Vissel Kobe who also won on the same day and has 12 winning points. Cerezo has made another step closer to be in the best 8 of Levain Cup after 3 years.

YBC Levain Cup Section 5 Albirex Niigata 1 - 0 YBC Levain Cup Section 5

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