J1 vs Urawa Reds: Match Review

It was 1st away game in this season for Cerezo Osaka who is back to J1 after 3 years. They played against Urawa Red Diamonds a.k.a. Urawa Red’s, at their home. The game was played in the heat created by 43.826k spectators and that included the manager of Japanese national team, Vahid Halihodzic.

Against Urawa who is probably the best team for passing ball in the league, as Cerezo’s players commented prior to the game “if we just try to steal ball without any plan, they will simply dodge and shift”, Cerezo didn’t set up their pressing point high up, kept 3 lines of 4-4-2 formation compact and created blocking, and tried to pass the ball straight to the front when they managed to steal. They started fine at the beginning of the game though they didn’t possess ball as much as Urawa did. However because Cerezo didn’t try pressing at early point, Urawa’s 3 back formation had ball easily, and at 14 minutes Wataru Endo made an accurate feed to Yuuki Muto. Fortunately Muto made an error for trapping the feed, but at 22 minutes Endo made an another feed, that went through Shinzo Kouroki, then Muto trapped the ball, turned and struck with his waist twisted into the goal, made Urawa’s lead.

After losing this goal, Cerezo became defending at all the time. Even when they managed to steal ball they were stolen back almost immediately by Urawa’s counter press, and at 37 minutes Yusuke Maruhashi of Cerezo lost his ball by Muto of Urawa at left side when Maruhashi was hesitating to pass. Rafael da Silva received the ball from Muto and struck, Cerezo’s GK Kenta Tanno blocked but Kouroki made the rebound to Urawa’s 2nd goal. The pressure was building up by the 2nd goal led by Cerezo’s error.

Urawa Red’s dominated 1st half by their speed of passes, strong pressing and decisions of play, and that continued into 2nd half. At 52 minutes, Cerezo’s Hotaru Yamaguchi’s pass was intercepted by Takuya Aoki, Aoki made run and produced a through pass to Rafael da Silva who struck another goal calmly at 1 v 1 situation against Cerezo’s goal keeper.

Cerezo lost decisive 3rd goal but didn’t give up. At 59 minutes, Kenyu Sugumoto acquired Corner-kick that was taken by Souza, and Matej Jonjic’s header earned a goal back. The 1st goal of the team for this season made the away team supporters loud, then Yoon Jung-Hwan sent Shohei Kiyohara to the pitch 1st time for J1 game, also at 73 minutes Kazuya Yamamura substituted for Maruyama. Yamamura paired up with Sugimoto and formed kind of ‘2 top’ formation, and Yoichiro Kakitani positioned at left side. From this point Cerezo started pressing at early point and put pressure on Urawa Red’s who started showing tiredness of playing at 5th game of 5 consecutive matches. At 80 minutes, Yamamura narrowly missed a goal by his header to the cross from Kakitani, and at 87 minutes, Kakitani struck volley to Kiyohara’s shoot like cross. Unfortunately they couldn’t get 2nd goal but their play at the end showed us positive possibility to the future.

Since the new beginning, at their friendly games and the opening game Cerezo Osaka didn’t lose too many points nor defeated until now, but made an utter defeat by Urawa Red’s who was last season’s highest winning point earner. Cerezo was initiated for J1 by Urawa’s not only power of institution but also their ability of quick decision and strength for ball handling. After the game, Yoon told players off by saying “There was nothing we did right for both defence and offence”, however thinking about length of the team’s development time, this result may have to be put up. It up to them if they learnt from this game and can improve in the coming game, and that will make Cerezo’s fate of this season.