Cerezo Osaka have been in a good form since the last two away games, the 5th match with a draw and the 6th game with a win. They won at Nagoya Grampus in the YBC Levian cup recently. After two consecutive away games, Cerezo came back home to host the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo game. The starting eleven were the same as the last game against Kawasaki Frontale, but a different formation, 4-4-2, was used. They started with a back 4 for the first time this season in a league game.
From early in the first half, both teams battled aggressively. In the 12th minute, Cerezo had a chance for a counter-attack. Yoichiro Kakitani broke down the left flank to deliver a shot, but it was saved by Sapporo’s goalkeeper, Gu Sung-Yun, who started his professional career at Cerezo.
In the 22nd minute, Eichi Katayama, right back, dribbled past defenders and assisted Tokura who hit a shot at the front of the goal, but it was cleared by the defenders.
In the 24th minute, Anderson Lopes threatened Cerezo, exploiting a loose ball from a corner kick, but, fortunately, it went inches wide. In the 41st minute, Souza’s free kick from outside the penalty box was saved by Gu Sung-Yun.
Cerezo attacked down the right flank for taking a chance, while Sapporo’s focus was the left flank. Without any decisive moments, the first half finished with a 0-0 draw.
In the second half, Cerezo first took a chance like the first half. In the 46th minute, Souza fired in a middle-ranged shot outside the penalty box, but it was again nullified by Gu Sung-Yun. Meanwhile, Cerezo gradually increased possession of the ball, maintaining consistent vigilance for the opponents’ sudden counter-attack. In the 62nd minute, Tokura dashed to meet Hiroshi Kiyotake’s cross, but could not strike a shot.
Cerezo have struggled to press forward. In the 73rd minute, Anderson Lopes who cut through behind faced one-on-one with Kim Jin-Hyeon, the cherry blossom’s guardian, but it was parried by the goalkeeper’s body.
Afterwards, Cerezo were awarded a set piece continuously, but the team could not turn them into a goal. In the 80th minute, the flow of the game changed when Cerezo gave away a corner kick to the foes, following Kim Jin Hyeon's brilliant save of Anderson Lopes’s decisive shot. Ryosuke Shindo met Akito Fukumori’s kick with his header at the far side.
In the 84th minute, Manager Lotina sent on Jun Nishikawa as the third substitute and changed the formation to 3-4-2-1, deploying Toshiyuki Takagi and Kota Mizunuma as wing-backs, and positioning Nishikawa as a shadow striker, with the aim to strengthen their attack. In the 91st minute, Nishikawa, who made his league debut, cut it in and blasted a shot, which went straight at the goalkeeper.
Before Cerezo could equalize against Sapporo, the time was up. It was a disappointing loss for Cerezo in the midst of building up better play. Cerezo will have a fresh start from the next away game with Shimizu S-Pulse.