‘The Osaka Derby’ – after 3 years, since returning back to J1 league, Cerezo faced the arch-rival Gamba Osaka. The 7th league match that everyone was waiting for was held on 16th April. All the tickets were sold out by the 12th April. So many supporters came along to our Cerezo Osaka’s home ground Yanmar Stadium Nagai, it was full house with 42.438k excited crowds.
The day of ‘Osaka derby’ came with rather good mood for Cerezo who has been victorious for 3 consecutive games, no defeat for the last 6 regular games, and obtaining 11 winning points as tie as Gumba Osaka. As with the momentum, the blossom-pink warriors push Gamba from beginning of the game. However they couldn’t manage to kick inside the goal at the chances. It was scoreless in the 1st half.
In the 2nd half, Cerezo continued attacking with goal opportunities by Kenyu Sugimoto and Souza’s header. But while they were failing to execute, Gumba took a chance they were seeking for. At 57th minute, Cerezo gave the opening goal away to Gumba and became under pressure.
Then the manager Yoon Jung-Hwan tried to change the mood. He sent Kiyotake onto the pitch as a substitute to Sekiguchi at 68th minute. Cerezo started the counterattack with the key-player who had the loudest cheers by the supporters. It took only 3 minutes to wait to have the moment of joy. It was Sugimoto who received the pass from Yusuke Maruhashi at left side, and turned over towards goal near the penalty area. He calmly watched opponent defenders and goalkeeper, stroke with his right foot, then the ball dynamically sank into the net. The number 9 who swore “I would definitely score a goal in this game”, made his word true and changed the flow back to Cerezo’s way by his goal.
On top of that, at 86th minute, the great striker who’s been grown up in the blossom club executed another big job. First, Souza made to left side and fed a returning cross to in front of the goal by his right foot. And, it was Sugimoto who took this cross and made a header goal. The man who made so much improvement in the last season showed off his ability on the stage of Osaka derby. Also this is the 1st success of bounce back for the team in this season.
It supposed to be ended up as it was with Cerezo’s victory, then entered into the additional time, however as this was the ‘Osaka derby’ the scenario was never that simple. At 92nd minute, Gamba earned a corner kick, and that led a goal by Shu Kurata. At the end, result of the game became 2-2 draw. Cerezo played predominantly, made the bounce back to Gumba’s lead and had a good vibe though out the game, so letting the victory goes away like that at the last moment made players very very frustrated.