J1 vs Shonan Bellmare: Match Report

The opener from Hiroaki Okuno, then additional goal of Hiroshi Kiyotake’s 1st goal of the season. Cerezo Osaka ended 1st half of the league season with the great victory.


It was the last match of the first half of the league season, Cerezo faced Shonan Bellmare away at Shinan’s territory. Although the long-lasted rain has just stopped before the kick-off, it was a game in increased humidity with heat. At the beginning, Cerezo was attacked from left side twice, however gradually managed to increase the ball possession time, and began to dominate the match. Because Shonan’s press didn’t start at high point, Cerezo was able to built-up from the GK and defence-line without much effort.

However, although they linked the ball well, Cerezo failed to break through, thus didn’t shoot so many times. In 39th minute, Bruno Mendes ran through for the down-the-line pass made by Ayumu Seko and made himself face to face to the GK, however, he was received off-side decision. It was actually on-side, so it was so unlucky. After all, Cerezo made shots just twice in the 1st half. Although they didn’t give any opportunities to the opponent with their good defence and carried the game safely, it was rather quiet development in the 1st half.

Stimulated by the manager Miguel Lotina in the halftime, Cerezo strengthen their push in the 2nd half, and in 48th minute, Hiroshi Kiyotake dribbled through and made a shot. It showed positive approach to the goal, then in 51st minute, there comes the major development. From the pass made by Riku Matsuda, Yasuki Kimoto who ran through behind the opponents at right-hand side became the starting point and passed the ball back to Matsuda who made a cross. The ball surfed on the wind, flew over the GK, reached to far-side of the goal, and hit the post. Hiroaki Okuno kicked the bounce-backed ball back into the nets and Cerezo succeeded to score their opener. Then in 54th minute, Kota Mizunuma went behind the defence for the pass from Naoyuki Fujita, and almost had one versus one chance against GK, however it was blocked by quickly returned defence, and missed the 2nd goal.

Cerezo kept their firm defence in the 2nd half and didn’t give any chances to Shonan, and then in the 83rd minute, they obtained a long-waited additional goal. Fujita received the ball in mid-pitch, made a down-the-line pass to Kiyotake in between 2 defenders, Kiyotake received the ball unmarked, dodged an opponent by dribbling, and shot the ball by his left foot. The ball hit a hand of GK and struck into the nets. Cerezo’s teammates ran up for joining the celebration to the number 10 who opened up his arms with expression of joy and relief on his face. The supporters of Cerezo at behind the goal also got excited for the long-waited skipper’s 1st goal of the season.

In 86th minute, Atomu Tanaka who was a substitute to Kiyotake, and also in 90th minute, Bruno Mendes had a chance from CK to score, however, both opportunities were denied by GK thus no goal number three. However, Cerezo showed no worries on defence, and Shonan’s one and only chance in 87th minute, a header by Kosuke Taketomi was not even on the target. In the stoppage time of the 2nd half, Seko who changed his position to midfield during the game made a shot, also Yusuke Maruhashi tried from CK, Cerezo never loosen the attack until the end.

They linked when they had to link, and kicked when they had to kick. “Lotina-Cerezo” sealed Shonan’s ability of ‘press & counter’, had the complete victory, and made the total winning points to 26. Cerezo ended the first half of the league season with lots of positive elements for both defence and offence, and rose up number 7 on the table. With aiming the higher position, the second half will begin from the next match.