J1 vs Gamba Osaka: Match Report

Hiroaki Okuno’s opener and Yusuke Maruhashi’s golazo. Won the Osaka Derby at enemy’s field and achieved consecutive wins from season opening.

The daily life with J1 on the weekend is back. The Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League has resumed after about 4 months. In the second section, Cerezo Osaka went to the enemy’s field Panasonic Stadium Suita and challenged “Osaka Derby” against Gamba Osaka. Before the game started, the encouragement by Hirofumi Yoshimura, the Prefectural Governor of Osaka was broadcasted in the monitor as "I want you to give energy and courage to Osaka people by playing,", and he made a virtual kick-in. There were no supporters at the stadium, and it became the first remote match in the history of Osaka Derby.

Cerezo changed two starting players from the opening section that won 1-0. Naoyuki Fujita returned to Volante, and Ken Tokura entered the one corner of two tops. While each team was seeing the situation at the beginning, Cerezo started from the defense, but when they passed without rushing, they gradually increased the time to hold the ball and made a chance centered on Hiroshi Kiyotake. In 32nd minutes, the counter was put in motion by Yusuke Maruhashi who cut the opponent's cross. Kiyotake carried the ball dribbling and left the opponent DF, and passed through to Hiroaki Okuno. He was fallen by Hiroki Fujiharu when the scoring chance came in the penalty area, but whistle was not blown. However, just before the end of the first half, Cerezo had a long-awaited first goal. They connected the pass with Fujita, Tokura, Fujita, Kiyotake, and Kiyotake sent the through ball to the side as he aimed. When Maruhashi ran into it and drove a negative cross, Okuno directly met it and shook the net with a vivid combination.

From the beginning of second half Cerezo was attacked by Gamba, but Riku Matsuda defended the pinch of 48th minutes and Fujita also covered the pinch of 51st minutes with his body. Then, in 62nd minutes, when Matsuda and Eiichi Katayama, who came in from the middle, broke the right side, finally Maruhashi scored the flashing shot with his left foot from Kiyotake’s toss. The powerful middle shot pierced the back of the net, and Cerezo widened the lead.

In 68th minutes, Cerezo lost the point from PK given by Yasuki Kimoto’s hand and was approached to 1 point difference, but handled without being broken down solid defense to Gamba who attacked making full use of substitution frame of 5 players. They won a good victory as Lotina head coach praised, “I think the players did a great job and had a good match”.

Osaka Derby with no spectators. Although there was no overwhelming atmosphere created by the supporters, what Cerezo players expressed on the pitch was the concept of offense and defense accumulated over the last year and the persistent obsession for victory. Maruhashi said, "We had the feeling of being in the official game, and we were able to stay focused to play until the end." The supporters who cheered through the screen should have felt their fighting spirits. Cerezo who won the opening two consecutive wins by winning the Osaka Derby. From here on, we would like to continue to make good progress.