Cerezo Osaka and Omiya Ardija will face each other again on Sunday the 29th for J1 League 31st round, so it wasn’t only for the best 4 of the Emperor’s Cup but also for the forthcoming league match, Cerezo was determined to win today. However, in the 1st half, there were some threatening scenes caused by some careless misses, but Daichi Akiyama and others showed very high consciousness for covering, and defended firmly at critical scenes. As Kunimitsu Sekiguchi said “There were some scenes that the opponent kept the ball, but we allowed it and covered the space while retreating, and defended very well”, they played patiently as they have been in the recent games.
Then at 23rd minute, Cerezo made a break through from set-play that they are very strong at this season. At left side, Yusuke Tanaka made a long throw-in and Ricardo Santos headed it to in front of the goal. Though it was cleared at once, Tanaka managed to catch it again and made a cross by his right foot. And that was Takaki Fukumitsu who came through in front of opponent’s defenders. He twisted his body and struck the ball with his head, and the ball was sucked into the goal in a beautiful arc. As he said “It was a surprising goal for myself too. I just aimed to send the ball towards the goal and jumped to the cross”, his successful attempt with the obsession was also his 2nd consecutive Emperor’s Cup match goal. Cerezo took the lead by this opening shot.
From that point, the pink warriors started to show off ‘Yoon Cerezo’, i.e. strength by the ball and speedy approach to the opponent who possesses ball. Starting the 2nd half with 1-0 lead, though they were pushed down to their own territory at the beginning, Cerezo defended patiently, and at 54th minute, earned the 2nd goal. Kunimitsu Sekiguchi made through to right side, and instead of his right foot, he turned and made a cross by his left foot. Ryuji Sawakami ran into from far side to this cross and caught it by his head at high point, and sent the ball into the opponent’s goal. All the team and supporters were exultant by this young hopeful striker’s 1st goal of the season that everyone was waiting for. It became a very valuable additional goal in this match.
After this, Omiya’s counterattack got stronger, but Cerezo’s defence kept their concentration, made some brave clears, intercepted ball with good reading, and shut out the opponent’s chances. Like Kota Fujimoto said “We were unified and became one, and so defended well”, Cerezo showed united defence and didn’t give away Omiya any room to step in. Towards end of the match, Kazuya Yamamura who has been just recovering from injury, Yusuke Maruhashi and Hiroshi Kiyotake joined into the match as substitutes. Though there were threatening moments near the end from set-play and counter, the goalkeeper Kenta Tanno repeated great saves, and didn’t allow the opponent to score till the end. Cerezo made 2-0 shout out victory, and entered into the best 4, first time since 2011. They stepped through to the semi-finals that will be held on 23rd December.