J1 vs Shimizu S-Pulse: Match Report

Yoichiro Kakitani scored the final point. They achieved the reverse win in the final home game and sent out with a smile Kota Fujimoto who announced his retirement.

There were the last two J1 league matches that started in February. In the 33rd round, the final home game of this season for Cerezo Osaka, a battle was held with Shimizu S-Pulse at Yanmar Stadium Nagai. The starter was changed by 2 players from the previous section against Vissel Kobe. Hiroshi Kiyotake came back as starter at the first time in these 9 league games, and Ayumu Seko also played as starter of CB at the first time in these 8 games.

At the beginning, Cerezo carried the game with advantage mainly on the left side, and in 2nd minutes, Yoichiro Kakitani who was playing as one of 2 tops in this game, broke through the left side and crossed. Kota Mizunuma jumped in, but it did not reach a goal. In 5th minutes, when Mizunuma and Kiyotake went through as one-two and received the foul, Maruhashi’s sharp direct FK caught the goal frame but it was blocked by GK. Cerezo aggressively attacked, like Riku Matsuda on the right side also actively participated in the offense, but in 18th minutes, lost the point as Elsinho pushed in.

Although Cerezo was about to get into the bad flow with opponent’s opener even in having an initiative, after receiving the message from Lotina head coach “We are playing a good game, so let’s go to open the door by ourselves”, they entered the second half and started to do a series of aggressive attack from around 70th minutes. In 74th minutes, from short CK, Maruhashi, who received the pass from Koji Suzuki in front of goal, shot and struck the crossbar. And in 75th minutes, Mizunuma's heading that corresponded to the Matsuda’s cross, caught the frame, but it was punched by GK and hit the crossbar. Cerezo was far from the goal while offensively pushing in but caught up from the CK obtained here. Naoyuki Fujita's kick was cleared by DF, but Mizunuma picked it up and dared to shot. This hit the opponent and the course changed, and a drive rotation shot pierced the net.

4 minutes later, Atom Tanaka, who entered the game midway, shot from the short CK. Kakitani immediately responded to the loose ball that hit to DF and dropped, and touched with his foot and pushed it in. He scored a reverse goal. After that, Cerezo who did not cut corner of attacking, and in 86th minutes Mizunuma got the scoring chance from Kakitani’s pass. Although it was blocked by GK and could not take the third point, they did not allow Shimizu to make a scoring chance except for losing point and achieved the reverse win the first time in this season. Decorated the final home game with winning white star.

After the match, captain Kiyotake and Lotina head coach greeted as the final home game ceremony. Each vowed this season's gratitude and the next season's further leap forward. Later, also the ceremony was held for Kota Fujimoto who announced his retirement at this season end. After a video celebrating his past achievements, the video message from former teammates Tatsuya Furuhashi, Takeshi Hamada school coach, and the players who are currently active in Europe like Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui and Takumi Minamino was also shown.

While the sentimental mood spread throughout the stadium in Fujimoto's speech that filled with gratitude,
when Teruyuki Moniwa, Noriyuki Sakemoto, and Tatsuya Yamashita, who played as the pair of defense line in his past, appeared with a bouquet as surprise, Fujimoto showed a smile on his face. The number 4, who was sent out with 4 times of tossing himself into the air by all players. Everyone gave their blessing to the start of his second football life, with gratitude for his great contributions to the club by now.