Emperor’s Cup vs Arterivo Wakayama: Match Report

Despite the close battle entered the extra time, Tatsuya Yamashita's powerful heading bullet brought the win. They barely broke through the second round

The Emperor's Cup JFA All-Japan Football Championship is the one of the three major domestic titles alongside the Meiji Yasuda Life J1 League match and the J League YBC Levan Cup. The first game in this year for Cerezo, which is the second match of the Emperor’s Cup of 99th times, was held against Arterivo Wakayama, and Cerezo won 3-1 after the extra time. They advance to the third round.

At the beginning of the game, Arterivo Wakayama showed aggressive attitude. Cerezo had a bit of confused scene, but brought back with time, and started to rule the ball from around 10th minutes. Then, the first decisive opportunity came in 15th minutes. Hiroto Yamada, who got out to the pass of Atomu Tanaka, entered the scene of one-on-one with GK, but the shot went out of the frame. Also, in 19th minutes, a big chance for Cerezo. Tanaka was the starting point again, and Toshiyuki Takagi put in a header to the cross from the right side, but it was cleared by DF.

After that, time passed without breaking the defense of Arterivo Wakayama to pull and protect, but it was Hiroaki Okuno who broke this flow. After sending an exquisite pass to Takagi, who ran diagonally from the left side, Takagi took the back of the defense line, brought one-on-one to the GK from a superb trap and calmly scored, and Cerezo managed to lead in the 38th minute.

Although this seemed to have grasped the flow of the game for Cerezo, they allowed Wakayama to equalize bullet at the beginning of the second half. However, without being upset by unexpected point, they moved up the attack gear and made the decisive mass-opportunities. Yoichiro Kakitani in 56th minutes, Yamada in 72nd minutes, Kota Mizunuma who was sent in the middle, in 84th minutes, Mizuki Ando, who was sent in the middle, in 87th minutes, and Tanaka in 90th minutes, they made chances to decide the game in a row, but they were blocked by the opponent GK’s good defense and a crossbar, and it was not possible to take the winning goal.

When the game entered the extra time, Cerezo kept attacking even after the extension. Then, in 98th minutes, the second point that they wanted at last came in. From the 16th corner kick of this match, Tatsuya Yamashita, who jumped from the far side to the kick of Naoyuki Fujita, moved the game with a dynamic header.

Just before the end of the match, Kakitani, who got out behind from the pass of Kakeru Funaki, broke down on the left side. When he sent a pass to Ando who was free in the center of the goal, Ando scored neatly as an additional point. Cerezo was forced to struggle before Arterivo Wakayama’s struggles, but at the end, they aggressively attacked with 31 shots and won 3-1. To show off the spirit of the J1 club, they decided to advance to the third round that Renofa Yamaguchi FC is waiting for.