Overwhelmed Urawa Reds with aggressive offense and defense. Decided to advance to the final following last year.
After a three days interval from Leg 1 that ended with a 1-1 draw. Cerezo went to the home of Urawa Red Diamonds and challenged Leg 2 of the J.League YBC Levain Cup semi-finals. Their starting lineup was changed only for the GK from the first match. After missing the last two official games, Kim Jin Hyeon returned to defend the goal.
Urawa entered the match cautiously, as they were determined to win the semi-final match even if it was a scoreless draw. Cerezo, on the other hand, could not win without scoring. Before the match, as Manager Akio Kogiku said, "From the way that we erase the opponent's strengths, in this match we will stick to our style of football. We want to express that kind of football," they showed the aggressive entry in their offense and defense that they led. In defensive, two FWs of Mutsuki Kato and Satoki Uejo became the starting points, and both side halves and defensive MFs also made high pressing in a synchronised way. Also, the build-up was improved in this match. When they took possession, Tokuma Suzuki took the position of anchor and built a vertical relationship with Hiroaki Okuno. Seiya Maikuma and Hirotaka Tameda took wide position on both of sides like wings.
While taking the initiative in both offense and defense, they scored the opener they wanted in the 23rd minute. Maikuma was the starting point, and the pass was connected to Okuno and Suzuki, and Suzuki's through pass made Maikuma get behind the opponent's left side back, and a cross hit the opponent and went into the goal. They succeeded in the opening goal in the form of an own goal. From there, Cerezo continued to gain momentum and attacked Urawa's build-up, pressing them in. Then, the additional point in the 30th minute. This time, they made the starting point and broke through on the left side, and Kato made a through for Tameda’s cross, and Okuno, who jumped out from the second row, threw a loop shot from one trap, carefully observing the GK's movement. He shook the net with a vivid cooperation. Even in defense, Urawa's shots were kept to zero in the first half. Only once, in the additional time, Urawa entered the deep position on the side, but in the end, Ryosuke Yamanaka made a brilliant tackle to block the shot. They succeeded in finishing the first half with a two-point lead.
In the second half, against Urawa, who changed players and formation, Cerezo had a restless start, but scored a third goal in the 51st minute. After receiving Riku Matsuda's pass in the center, Tameda politely passed it to Yamanaka who was outside of the PA. Yamanaka sent a direct cross to the far side, and Kato jumped in and headed it. Uniform number 20 showed the burst of joy for scoring a goal at Saitama Stadium 2002 following the previous league match. With this goal, Cerezo gained an even stronger advantage, and from here on, they lowered their pressing position compared to the first half, repelling Urawa's attacks. However, the attitude itself to steal from the front line did not change until the end.
In the 80th minute, Jean Patric and Sota Kitano, who entered halfway through, joined together to press. Kitano stole the ball and sent a quick pass, and Jean Patric shook off the DF, brought it to a one-on-one with the GK and scored the 4th goal. He unleashed a blow that decided victory. In the second half, there were more scenes where Urawa attacked, but all the players did not slow down until the end and avoided a crisis. A few mistakes led to pinches, but the teammates covered each other well and achieved a clean sheet.
Manager Kogiku praised the players who took the initiative of the game from beginning to end, saying, "I'm really happy that they showed 100% of what they have prepared for offense and defense." This year's Levain Cup semi-final was the same pairing as a year ago, but Cerezo broke through in a way that showed the growth of the past year. The final opponent is Sanfrecce Hiroshima. “I am very happy to have the opportunity to fight again at a great stage as a final and get revenge against the opponent we lost three times this season in the league matches and the Emperor’s Cup,” said Manager. And “As a finalist, we want to finish surely with a win. Above all, I want to take the title with Cerezo pride,” said Suzuki. Only the final remains of this season's Levain Cup, which they have continued to fight under the slogan "We go get what we left behind last year." We definitely win and carve the third star.