The head of Okuno that met Maruhashi's cross was the final score. Kim Jin Hyeon also saved the team with repeated good protection
2019 Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League 31st section, Cerezo Osaka, who welcomed Shonan Bellmare of 16th place to home stadium, changed one starter from the previous section. Yusuke Maruhashi, who returned from the injury in the previous section and played from the middle of the game, returned to the starter. In this section as well, Koji Suzuki entered one corner of the two-top, where were missing injured Bruno Mendes, and teamed up with Hiroaki Okuno for two consecutive games.
In 2nd minutes, Cerezo suddenly invited a pinch. From the cross of Toichi Suzuki on the left side of Shonan, Hiroshi Ibusuki held and almost brought one-on-one with GK, but Matej Jonjić got his body close and the shot did not meet. It got nothing. Immediately after, Cerezo also got the scoring chance. From Souza’s side change, it was connected to Riku Matsuda, Kota Mizunuma, and Koji Suzuki, and Yoichiro Kakitani came out to the pass of Mizunuma but was sharply blocked by GK’s leg.
After that, Cerezo could not carry the ball as expected due to receiving a press from Shonan. In 20th minutes, they allowed Ibusuki to head from FK but escaped with a good save of Kim Jin Hyeon. On the side of Cerezo, who was pushed in, in 17th minutes, when Kim Jin Hyeon kicked the long feed to forward to turn over Shonan’s press, Koji Suzuki received and developed to Mizunuma. Souza’s middle shot hit the DF, and Kakitani packed the place where the ball’s direction changed, but it was out of the frame. In 27th minutes, to the long throw of Naoya Fujita, Okuno pushed in with his whole body, and the ball was almost over the goal line, but it was blocked a little bit before by GK.
It was struggling first half, but Cerezo gradually took the initiative, turned back to the second half, and succeeded to score the opener in 50th minutes. From Matsuda, when making a starting point based on the close relationship between Okuno and Koji Suzuki, Maruhashi, who came to participate in the offense from the left side, broke through vertically from one feint. To the negative cross, Okuno met with his head twisting his body and shook the net.
After that, the whole game went slow, and the space was born, and it became a development that attacked each other. For Cerezo, in 60th minutes, Okuno received a ball in a good form and dribbled. Suzuki pulled DF’s attention running diagonally, and Mizunuma, who drove into the vacant space, had a chance, but the shoot went over the crossbar. In 61st minutes, Kakitani on the left side broke through dribbling. When entering the penalty area and raising the cross, Koji Suzuki met with a volley, but struck the front of the GK.
While they were struggling to steal the additional point during the attacking time after the opener, Shonan also made the scoring chance. In 59th minutes, the scoring chance that Tenma Matsuda met with the head to Toichi Suzuki’s cross was blocked by Kim Jin Hyeon’s good save. In 83rd minutes, the shot that Tsukasa Umesaki threw rolling from the left side went to the severe course, but here as well Kim Jin Hyeon hit the hand and did not allow a score.
While Shonan had been aggressively linked to the offense and defense, although Cerezo had long suffering time in this section, they could “play feeling the good vibes in the difficult situation” (Fujita), as they kept on building up “without any rush” (Okuno) and gradually broke through the development. The links of two-top were also better than in the previous section, and both Okuno and Koji Suzuki were able to bring to the finish.
On defense side, Cerezo could keep 1 point to the end, centered on Kim Jin Hyeon, also achieved the 14th clean seat in this season. They won a victory as the first win in the three home games and have moved up to 5th place. The remaining 3 games, they will continue the matches until the end to aim for the AFC Champions League.