Learn a lesson From Defeat—Hiroshima Shields Cerezo’s Attack—
At the 3rd game, Cerezo Osaka fought against Sanfrecce Hiroshima with hoping fora consecutive home win, following the J-1 opening game against Vissel Kobe. For this game, Cerezo changed three players from the starting lineup who played the last game against Nagoya Grampus. They were Leandro Desabato, Riku Matsuoka, and Eiichi Katayama.
In the 3rd minute, Cerezo created a chance. After Katayama intercepted a ball, it was passed to Hiroshi Kiyotake, and then on to Souza who shot but it was closed down by the defenders. “A long period of ball possession during the game” is Manager Lotina’s aim for this season. Compared to the last two games, the retention time was improved. That said, Cerezo struggled to break Hiroshima’s press due to its solid defence.
In the 19th minute, the game was dramatically changed. After Leandro Desabato passed it back, Matej Jonjic and Cerezo goalkeeper, Kim Jin Hyeon both went to pick it up. Meanwhile, Emil Salomonsson exploited the space to prod home. Later on, Cerezo repeatedly passed the ball around the team, but could not create a chance to break down the defence, as Hiroshima put out a defensive side. There were also not many chances to cut through behind the defensive line. It looked stagnated.
After half time, Cerezo’s attack improved. During their possession, they appeared to make speedy passes, aiming to break down the defence, and it was getting faster and faster. In the 54th minute, Matsuda kept the ball to cut through behind the line after a Leandro Desabato’s pass and shot, but it went wide. It looked like his goal would be coming soon.
In the 57th minute, to revitalize their play, Lotina brought on Ken Tokura who is excellent at holding and a high ball, and Toshiyuki Takagi, a superb player for going through a defensive line, and changed the formation to 4-4-2. Then, immediately, the chance arrived. In the 65th minute, Tokura tackled a ball from Katayama with his head and dropped it to Yoichiro Kakitani, who passed it to Takagi running alongside the flank. Takagi delivered a cross for scoring a goal.
In the 74th minute, Hiroaki Okuno was replaced with Kota Mizunuma as the last substitute. Kiyotake positioned as a midfield anchor to be the core for possessing the ball longer. In the 81st minute, after Tokura won the ball from a Takagi's cross, Leandro Desabato shot. In the 86th minute, Tokura dropped the ball from Yusuke Maruhashi’s cross to Takagi, which was a chance but it was squashed.
In the 89th minute, Cerezo’s free kick, Maruhashi delivered a strong cross to near the goal, but it was cleared by the defence. With this, Cerezo got a chance for a corner kick. Kiyotake took a short corner. His spinning ball dropped off the target. During an additional time, at 90 ＋4 minutes, the game began with Kim Jin Hyeon. The ball was sent to Maruhashi, then to Tokura, and on to Maruhashi. Kakitani tried to meet a Maruhashi’s cross, but it was not close enough.
During the game, Cerezo’s ball possession was 66% and their passing was more than double that of Hiroshima. Cerezo showed many attacks and a lot of spirit until the end of the game, but the game ended with a 0-1 defeat. It was a very disappointing result. However, the players vowed to take it on board to improve their performance and quality. Perhaps, it may be regarded as a rite of passage to achieve “Lotina’s Cerezo.” They will learn a lesson from this game.