J1 vs Kashima Antlers: Players’ Comments

Yoichiro Kakitani

It makes sense that the opponents set members aside for the ACL’s final game. That is why irregular players who got a chance did well. Last season, our players called “ Levain group” was just like them. The opponents’ goal could be Jin-hyeon’s fault but our forwards could not score any goals despite of many corner kicks. Not being able to make up for the loss is our responsibility. If we could find better attacking form, our game could improve. Our attack does not start from breaking defense, which we need to practice more. It has been hanging over us for a while. We aimed to win the match today to qualify the coming ACL, but it may be difficult. Even so, we have to move forward without giving it up. For us, having higher target must be good. The last four games are held at home. We need to play for the ACL again, while reflecting on our performance. The team needs to be united to keep up the motivation of players, staff and supporters. For me, every game is important and meaningful. We have to move forward step by step with an appreciation of each game, which will improve our play. Main players, such as Hotaru, Kenyu, and Maruhashi, will discuss what to do next, and that will improve us. Whatever the result is, many supporters come to cheer us up. Given that, we need to show a much better performance. I really would like to move on based on the reflection of each match.

Kenyu Sugimoto

Q: During the first half, your shot hit a post, didn't it?
“ There were many chances for a goal, including mine. I got a decisive chance twice. If I could have turned them to goals, you would have seen a different development during the match. I feel guilty.”

Q: The opponent team did not use regulars. Instead, many young players took on you. Were you frustrated?
“ I did not care about that. Even if they changed players, I do not think they are weak. I played as usual. Whoever the opponents are, defeat is frustrating. Even after conceding a goal, we need to play better. Jin-hyeon made a mistake. I tried to make up for that as he has saved us many times, but the opponents’ goalkeeper brilliantly saved our attempts many times.”

Q: You are still fighting with the aim of 3rd or above, despite of nearing the end of the season.
“ It could be difficult, but without the aim, we may be found ourselves further down in the table. We still have some chance to go up. Four games remain. One month will go by quickly. I would like to win the rest of the games without any regrets, such as “ I should have done this or that.”