Despite conceding an opener goal while pushing in, Adam Taggart equalizes in the last minute. They lead to the second round.
After a three days interval from Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 23 against Avispa Fukuoka, Cerezo Osaka challenged the first match of J.League YBC Levain Cup quarter-finals against Kawasaki Frontale. Before the match, Manager Akio Kogiku was tested positive for the COVID-19 and was unable to enter the bench. Coach Daisuke Takahashi took command. In addition, this match was also designated as “the operation verification game of gradual introduction of voice support”, and so the supporters cheered for the first time in about two years and half in Cerezo’s home game, and for the first time in Yodoko Sakura Stadium.
Cerezo took the initiative in the first half, receiving loud cheers from the supporters behind the goal. Mutsuki Kato and Satoki Uejo boldly pressed from the front, stole the ball and developed to the side. Ryosuke Yamanaka fed a sharp cross into the center. In the 7th minute, Uejo made a first shot with his header from Yamanaka’s cross, and in the 11th minute, Yamanaka put in a sharp FK into the near side, but it did not match with Seiya Maikuma’s jumping. After that, Hiroaki Okuno ran to the front line at once and Hirotaka Tameda broke through from the side. They attacked in various ways also as Uejo took the back of the DF line. In the 20th minute, Uejo stole the ball at the high position and threw a mid-range shot directly. It was a powerful blow, but blocked by GK Jung Sung Ryong.
Cerezo, who stole the ball at the high position and connected it to their second attack, launched a wavy attack in the 27th minute, but were unable to shake the net. Then, in the 33rd minute, Kawasaki made use of one chance and scored the opener. In the 40th minute, Kato came out to the back of the opponent from the pass of Uejo and got a scoring chance, but the floated shot that was made carefully looking the position of GK slightly went out of the frame.
In the second half, Cerezo could not make chances like they did in the first half against Kawasaki, who changed the system to [4-4-2] to eliminate spaces. In the 62nd minute, coach Takahashi tried to break out of the situation by bringing in three attacking players at the same time, but the gear did not go up as expected. Then, in the 67th minute, Kawasaki broke the right side and created a scoring chance from a cross, but GK Kim Jin Hyeon made a big save with his right foot to keep the goal from breaking.
It was a big play that would have affected the game result, as it would have been a tough development if they had conceded a second goal here. At the end of the game, when Kawasaki started to get tired, Cerezo regained the momentum. In the 83rd minute, Adam Taggart, who received a pass from Tokushin Suzuki, made a turn, went forward and shot. And then in the 89th minute, the equalizer was scored to pull the game out of the fire. Ryuya Nishio stopped Leandro Damian, and from here he connected the pass to Okuno, Sota Kitano, and Yamanaka, and finally Adam Taggart, who took the back of the CB, reacted to Yamanaka's pinpoint cross.
The voltage of the stadium further increased due to the tie-up at the last minute. In the additional time in the second half, Jean Patric excited the supporters with his high-speed dribbling. As Coach Takahashi said “”Let's go get another goal” in the last minutes,” Cerezo aimed for a reversal till the end but the time was up without scoring the second goal. The "first half" of the quarterfinals ended 1-1. “The ideal would have been for us not to concede away goals and pile up our score to win, but we understand that it will not be an easy opponent. We took the result as positive to catch up to tie and finish the game with 1-1.” Coach Takahashi summed up. After the game, the supporters sang "Let's dye the cup pink" to the players around the ground. The tenacity of the tie-up play was greatly influenced by the power of the supporters who continued to cheer with their voices until the end. It was truly a match where the entire stadium united and fought through.