J1 vs Kashima Antlers: Match Review

Cerezo looked as though they had the upper hand, but Kashima’s counter attack destroyed their wishes with a frustrating first home defeat

Cerezo couldn't actualize a winning run during the last two away games with 1 draw and 1 win. They played hard with the gloves off for a home win. At the early stage of the first half, Kashima dominated possession, and have had 9 wins and 1 draw after the installation of their new manager, Go Ohiwa. Against the dominator, Matei Jonic and Yamashita, the centre backs, exerted to create a chance by pressing hard, tackling and nicking the ball, which is a classic defensive tactic of Cerezo.

After 15 minutes from the kick-off, a chance arrived for Cerezo.
Meanwhile, they were gradually getting back to their own form. Kota Mizutani, Sugimoto, Sawakami, Hotaru Yamaguchi, and Yoichiro Kakitani had threatened the goal post countlessly. However, Kashima defenders, Sogahata, Naomichi Ueda, and Shoji Gen who is a Japanese national team player were too solid to break down. Meanwhile, Cerezo dealt with Kashima’s counter-attacks.
Without any goals, they went into the half time break.

In the second half, Kashima played offensively and pressed hard. Sawakami commented later that they patiently attacked for a goal. Both teams fought frantically. Meanwhile, Kanezaki Mu, the Kashima forward, threatened the goal, which was saved by Kim JinHyeon. Cerezo intended to disrupt Kashima’s pace and flow. This effort suddenly switched the game on the 75th minute. Middle shots blasted over from Yusuke Maruhashi and Souza, header from Sugimoto after a corner kick threatened Kashima. However, again, Sogahata an experienced goalkeeper saved the ball. Next, Cerezo brought Santos on in the 78th minute. The tall strong Brazilian forward created a chance but was not good enough to score a goal.

On the 88th minute, Kashima exploited a gap to break the balance. The unmarked Leandro met a right cross from Kaneszaki and got a shot in the penalty area. Riku Matsuda and Kim JinHyeon attempted to save it but it was too late. The ball was sucked into the back of the net. Mizutani said later “ Kashima’s way is no matter how bad the delivery is, they never fails to score a goal.” Sugimoto also commented “ Kashima plays a counter-attack at least once. We played the game, bearing that in mind, but we were beaten.” Yoon said “ My men played hard until the end of the game, bearing Kashima’s style in mind. But we conceded a goal due to a lack of concentration.”

Cerezo were desperate to draw level and take the lead. They never gave up attacking till the arrival of the final chance. As a last resort, Kim JinHyeon, the goalkeeper, joined the attack near the Kashima’s goalpost. But none succeeded to hit the net. The game was over. Cerezo lost 0-1,which was the first defeat this season. They descended to the 4th position with seven goals difference from Kashima.