Emperor’s Cup vs Nagoya Grampus: Match Review

Cerezo protected Fukumitsu’s lightning opening goal by working together as one team, and advanced to the quarter finals.

There was a movement soon after kick-off, at 6th minute, Daichi Akiyama snatched ball from opponent at their pass error, passed it to Ricardo Santos who stopped the ball on his body and sent a gentle pass to Takaki Fukumitsu. Fukumitsu managed to get through behind back of Nagoya’s defence line, faced one on one to goalkeeper, and scored a goal calmly, Cerezo succeeded to score first. Prior to the game Cerezo was planning to defend well and attack when they see a gap in Nagoya’s offence, and this early opening goal made the composition of “attacking Nagoya & defend ’n’ counterattack Cerezo” clearer.

It was Keiji Tamada who was the core of Nagoya’a ball possession, and he used to be playing in the blossom pink uniform until last season for 2 years. He showed his technic off here and there, however as Teruyuki Moniwa’s word after the game, “we were saying even though we might allow Tamada to make some chances, but don’t let him become a finisher”, Nagoya possessed the ball but couldn’t enter the penalty area, and nor deciding shoot. At 33rd minute, Simovic’s target play created threating scene with Ryu Nagai who was also former Cerezo and determined to win, however Nagai’s shoot was blocked by Yusuke Tanaka. Then just before end of 1st half, Cerezo had some chances from counterattacks. At 39th minute, Kunimitsu Sekiguchi made a fed to Ricardo Santos. At 42nd minute, Akiyama intercepted and fed to Fukumitsu. Both chances should have been scored but denied by another former Cerezo goalkeeper Yohei Takeda.

In the 2nd half, it was also Cerezo who had the 1st chance. Sekiguchi sent a fantastic pass from dribbling to Ryuji Sawakami, and Sawakami turned around from dribbling and made a shoot. However unfortunately, the ball flew over the bar. After this event, Cerezo had to endure Nagoya’s attack for a while. It was tough moment for Cerezo as their defence line was going slowly but backwards. Then Yoon Jung-Hwan made a move. He sent Hotaru Yamaguchi, a substitute to Sawakami, then moved Yasuki Kimoto down to defence line, and changed the positioning to ‘5-4-1’. Also at 85th minute, Kimoto was swapped to Yamamura who became a part of 3 back, that made stronger defence for keeping clear sheet. And, at 85th minute. The moment Cerezo has been waiting for had come. Hiroshi Kiyotake was sent onto the pitch, after some 3 months absent for regular games since the game against Vegalta Sendai at 16th round of J1 League. “It wasn’t just my effort to make the comeback like this, but thanks to the manager, staff, team mates and supporters, all these people made me to be able to concentrate on rehabilitation. I’d like to work hard from now on and return the favour back”, Kiyotake said. He also said after the game “this is just start” and emphasized his future activities, and Kiyotake’s return is good news for the team as he has the strength to decide the game towards end of the season. At 89th minute, Kiyotake received a pass from Noriyuki Sakemoto to back, and nearly crossed against opponent’s goalkeeper Takeda, Fukumitsu made a shoot to the dropped ball, but narrowly missed the target.

Cerezo didn’t allow Nagoya to score and the game ended. Though Nagoya possessed ball all the time, as Moniwa said “don’t let opponent to get into the most dangerous situation”, Cerezo’s players returned very fast against Nagoya’s shots in penalty area, and devoted until the end.