Levain Cup vs Nagoya Grampus: Match Report

Cerezo conceded two goals despite taking the lead of 2-0 in the first half. Unchanged ranking in Group C.

If Cerezo Osaka won the Nagoya Grampus game today, they could have advanced to the knockout stage. For this game, the starting line-up was changed from the last league game. Souza and Yasuki Kimoto who played the first game, were deployed again. Also, Yoichiro Kakitani made his first appearance this season.

From early in the first half, Nagoya held onto the ball. Under pressure, Cerezo only once allowed Nagoya to shoot in the penalty box. It occurred in the 10th minute after the foes broke down the left flank, but Tatsuya Yamashita shielded it.

Cerezo exploited the high defensive line. In the 13th minute, Toshiyuki Takagi picked the ball after Leandro Desabato had cleared it, and started to dribble forward, but was immediately blocked, which caused to fall him. Immediately, the referee awarded free-kick to Cerezo. The free-kick taker, Souza intended a direct free-kick, but it was deflected by Eiichi Katayama’s foot, then, it hit the net. The goal was given in the 15th minute. Cerezo took the lead.

Late on, Nagoya dominated more possession, but Cerezo created more chances for scoring. In the 24th minute and the 32nd minute, respectively, Kakitani approached the goal. In the 39th minute, a great opportunity fell to Cerezo. Takayuki Fukumitsu made a telling run onto Katayama’s pass and sent it to Kakitani, but the defender quickly cleared his powerless shot. Soon, a corner-kick was given. Kakeru Funaki met Souza’s free-kick with a header, which doubled their lead.

In the second half, again, Cerezo took a chance first. In the 52nd minute, Takagi cut through behind the line and met one on one with the goalkeeper after receiving Atomu Tanaka’s pass, but it was saved by the goalkeeper. In the 53rd minute, Mateus broke down, then, Shuhei Akasaki took a chance to head it in, but it was cleared by the Cerezo goalkeeper Kentaro Kakoi. In the 57th minute, Fukumitsu and Souza broke down the right flank, Tanaka connected with Souza’s pass to do the finish, but it was disallowed due to offside.

While taking alternately favourable and unfavourable turns, in the 68th minute, Nagoya brought on Jo. From this point, the momentum switched. In the 69th minute, after Yuki Souma broke down the left flank, Naoki Maeda, who was brought on after half-time, scored a goal. In the 73rd minute, Cerezo allowed Jo’s header, but it narrowly went wide.

Cerezo were desperate for one more goal to regain momentum. In the 78th minute, a big chance arrived. After Leandro Desabato threaded the ball to Funaki, who cut through in the left flank and sent in a cross to score a goal, but it went wide.
After Cerezo squandered the chance, Nagoya broke through the goal line, and Jo placed the equaliser in the 79th minute.

Both teams had a chance before the end of the game. In the 82nd minute, Takagi sent a cross from the right flank to Kakitani who was unmarked at the far side, his shot was saved by the goalkeeper. In the 90th minute, Nagoya counter-attacked. Naoki Maeda fired a shot, but it narrowly went wide. In the 94th minute, the last chance fell to both. A substitute, Riku Matsuda who brought on late in the second half, send a cross but failed to connect with Kakitani’s header at the far side then, the game was over.

Cerezo who doubled their lead in the first half hoped to win to go through to the next stage. However, Cerezo surrendered to Nagoya’s hard press, inserting key players in the second half, such as Maeda and Jo, which made it difficult for Cerezo to go ahead. Given that Cerezo had fragile moments at some points, it is just fortunate not to give away three points to the opponents. After the game, Cerezo remain top in the group. If they win or draw against Oita Trinita at the next home game, they will qualify as the 1st position of group C.