The game was as tough as predicted. However, we played patiently and at last scored a goal. This victory means a lot for us. I would like to give credit to my players who played hard until the end of the game.
It was a tough game. We faced many things to overcome during the game, apart from playing against Jeju. Our resilience and valiant play led us to win.
Never give up! Mizunuma scores a winning goal. Teamwork brings Cerezo a dramatic victory. Good progress in the Asian league!
A dramatic turn happened after 90 minute had passed. Yang Dong Hyun, a substitute, tired to intercept a ball sent from Kim Jinhyon, but it was slipped behind Yang. Kenyu Sugimoto dashed to hit it long up front. Toshiyuki Takagi, a substitute, swept past, trapped it and shot at a goal, but went wide. The ball was not saved by the goalkeeper and was rolling toward the goal post. Immediately, Mizunuma sprinted there and struck a shot, which led Cerezo to take a lead in the last second. Their real strength was displayed at this critical moment, which is a recurrence of the 2017 Emperor Cup where Cerezo gained three points at the away game against Jeju.
"It was a tough game. The opponents' physicality was also strong. We worked hard throughout the game, just about 90 minutes." Matej Jonjic who contributed to the victory as a solid defender, commented later with a wry smile. The away game of the AFC Champions League MD1 was as tough as predicted.
Shortly after the opening, Riku Mastuda who is a right side back was challenged by a fierce tackle. That reminded Cerezo that they are playing at the ACL. The opponents' frantic interceptions were relentless, but their attack never affected Cerezo. They kept passing calmly, waiting for an opportunity to threaten Jeju whose defence was in the manner of a back 5. On the 21st minute, Hiroshi Kiyotake met the cross from Mizunuma with header and hit a long pass to forwards near the halfway line. Amid the Jeju defenders struggled to clear the ball, Mizunuma picked it up and struck a looping shoot, but it went wide.
Cerezo defenders calmly blocked Jeju's simple attack attempted by the two forwards, Thiago Marques and Magnos Cruz who was a former Cerezo player. After 30 minutes passed, the game heated up. In the late stages of the first half, Increased Cerezo's fouls led Jeju to win free kicks and corner kicks continuously. Cerezo defenders orbitted around Matej Jonjic Nich who never broke down to shield against the attackers. The first half ended with 0-0.
In the second half, Cerezo were very offensive. On the 53rd minute, after Cerezo sprawled from left to right, Kiyotake crossed the ball toward the front of the post. Yoichiro Kakitani met it with back header from close range, but it went over the crossbar. On the 66th minute, the biggest chance arrived to Cerezo. After kicking the ball from the deeper side of Jeju's area, Sugimoto passed to Kakitani, and Kakitani dropped it for one touch, blasted it with his right foot, but was saved by the goalkeeper.
Cerezo who created more chances had struggled to get a winning goal. Meanwhile, frantic attacks struck them late in the second half. The mood was darkened as if " Only one away goal were their wish." That said, Kiyotake revealed later that no one wished to finish with a draw. Manager Yoon sent on Takagi, a powerful attacker, and the third substitute who was the last resort for Yoon. He commented later that he brought on the last substitute to get what we want. Immediately, his hunch went right. Cerezo embraced the joyous moment as was mentioned in the beginning.
Manager Yoon, who led Cerezo to have a good start in the third game in Asia, commented with a relived smile that he wants to give credit to the players who worked hard until the end of the battle. The win means a lot for us.