Cerezo Osaka, who relished a 2-0 win at the away game against Matsumoto Yamaga FC, were desperate for a consecutive victory vs Yokohama F Marinos with the same starting XI. The Japan Under-20 International, Ayumu Seko, who played in the last game, was also drafted into the line-up.
In the 2nd minute, the game changed suddenly. After Marcos Junior threatened the Cerezo goalkeeper, Kim Jin Hyeon, Seko sent a long through pass upfield. Kota Mizunuma dashed behind the defensive line, tackled the defender to win the ball and blasted a shot to beat the keeper at the far post, which led Cerezo to take the lead. In the 4th minute, after a throw-in, Ken Tokura received Bruno Mendos’s dink and fired in his left footed shot, but hit the crossbar.
Together with a full back, Cerezo exploited space in the low defensive line to create a chance. From early in the first half, Cerezo kept overwhelming their foes. However, in the 32nd minute, an accident happened. Tokura injured his right knee when he was landing just after his shot following a dash through the defenders.
Minutes later, he resumed his place on the field, but in the 41st minute, he was replaced.
Late in the first half, Yokohama FM dominated possession for quite a long time, but Cerezo’s defence was brilliant. Then, Cerezo entered half-time without giving away any goal chance to the opponents.
In the second half, although Yokohama FM brought on Tadanari Lee for Keita Endo, it didn’t cripple Cerezo’s performance. In the 59th minute, Naoyuki Fujita passed to Mizunuma. Mizunuma sent a cross from the right flank to Toshiyuki Takagi, who met it with a header near the goalkeeper. Cerezo extended their lead. Cerezo and the fans as one, bonded and celebrated his goal. Tokura in the dugout expressed his joy, raising his fist.
In the 65th minute, attack-minded Cerezo scored another goal. Seko cut in, passed upfield quickly, to Bruno Mendes, then onto Mizunuma who ran behind the defensive line. After meeting one on one with the goalkeeper, Mizunuma scored the winning goal.
Cerezo played well against Yokohama FM who take pride in offensive play. The game was near-perfect as Cerezo never allowed the foes to turn any chance to a goal. Manager Lotina later commented: “My team is heading to a good direction. We will keep going all the way and hope to improve more and more.” Today’s victory means a lot to them. Cerezo will be challenged at the next game, the Osaka derby.