J1 vs Sagan Tosu: Match Report

From the perfect breaking up, Bruno Mendes scored the winning goal for 2 games running. Cerezo was victorious at the opponent territory and triumphed back to back victory.

At the match before, Cerezo Osaka defeated FC Tokyo who leads at top of the league table at their home. Cerezo aimed back to back win and challenged today’s match. For this away match against Sagan Tosu, they faced with the same 11 as the last match lined up on the pitch.

It was Tosu who had a chance first. In 2nd minute, on the flow from their FK, Yohei Toyoda of Tosu attempted a shot, but missed the target. Then in 3rd minute, Matej Jonjic made a header to FK. The match started with both teams threatened opponent’s goal from set-pieces. Cerezo linked the ball well all the way from the back and tried to breakthrough Tosu’s defence, however struggled to enter the last one-third of enemy’s territory.

As Naoyuki Fujita quoted, the situation of ‘the both teams passed the ball well at the back, but struggled to send it to the danger zone’ continued, they both managed to defend without scoring, but then in 39th minute, Cerezo succeeded at their 1st chance. While Cerezo was building up, one of the midfielders go down to receive the ball, and they tried to breakthrough by Yusuke Maruhashi receiving the ball at high position then Hiroshi Kiyotake running in, after all this operation worked, and brought them the 1st goal.

When two of the opponent players came to press, Riku Matsuda managed to clear them and sent a pass to Fujita. A Tosu’s midfielder came up to press Fujita too but he flicked the ball at one touch to Kiyotake who received the ball in between the opponent’s defence line and midfielders, then started dribbling. Then he sent a through pass aiming towards Maruhashi who had an overlapping run. Maruhashi was running behind opponent’s side, received the ball and made a cross to Mendes who caught it and shook the nets with the goal.

Immediately after that, again in the vital area, Kota Mizunuma who received a pass from Maruhashi, beat a DF and struck a middle range shot, the powerful ballistic flew into the frames but unfortunately denied by GK’s punch.

Into the 2nd half with Cerezo leading by one goal, it was Cerezo again who had a chance first. In 52nd minute, they linked small passes, the superb collaboration from Maruhashi to Kiyotake to Mizunuma, then Kiyotake got out and shook the nets, however he was just offside and the goal was disallowed. Also in 59th minute, Cerezo had a big chance again. From another superb pass-work, Mizunuma got out to Kiyotake’s pass, but his shot was blocked by a DF.

After that, it turned to the development of Cerezo weathered Tosu’s attacks. In 67th minute, Isaac Cuenca sent a cross to Mu Kanezaki in the penalty area, and his shot hit the post. However, although Cerezo’s defending time was increased, they had a chance for an additional goal in 74th minute. Bruno Mendes made a powerful shot to the pass from Kiyotake, but it just missed the target.

In 77th minute, the manager, Miguel Lotina sent Toshiyuki Takagi to the pitch. Then switched Hiroaki Okuno to midfielder, who was a starting member and one of the 2 tops as the previous match. In 83rd minute, Atomu Tanaka was added too for activating offence. They met the expectation, moved energetic at the front for both offence and defence, and created the time. Towards end of the game, Tosu tried their power play by putting one defender up, however Cerezo stayed focused until the end, tolerated with one goal lead, and earned precious 3 winning points from the away match.

After the match, Miguel Lotina thought back many times saying ‘it was a difficult game’. It was quality of breaking through at attack, that decided the winner at this very competitive game. As Mizunuma said before the match ‘we will of course fight as we should do, also be aware of Tosu’s character, and want to seek our accuracy’, Cerezo showed the quality at the scene of scoring, and exceeded the opponent’s defence. They also won over the fighting attitude, earned a goal by breaking up opponent’s defence with firm intention, it was a match they showed steady growth as a team.