Levain Cup vs Urawa Reds: Match Report

Valuable victory toward winning through the group stage. Also harvesting the rise of new force.

J. League YBC Levain Cup, which had been postponed from the second section onwards due to COVID-19, was resumed for the first time in about half a year. However, the tournament system has changed significantly, the playoff stage has been abolished, and the group stage has become a single round-robin league match. As a result, the weight of one match has increased, and this section to play against Urawa Reds was the second round but was already biggest move towards the prime stage.

Cerezo changed 5 starting players from the latest league match, but an accident occurred soon after the beginning. Yasuki Kimoto, who was a starter as CB, was forced to change due to a muscular problem, and Matej Jonjić suddenly entered the pitch. In the first half, Cerezo was unable to take the initiative due to Urawa's momentum. They were not able to connect the ball to the press from the front, and the second balls after kicking out were also picked up and turned to the defensive. In 9th minutes, they allowed Leonardo, who came through the back, to have the scoring chance, but GK Kim Jin Hyeon blocked it. In the following 11th minutes, Leonardo was approaching vertically in the penalty area, but Leandro Desabato demonstrated excellent crisis detection ability, and there was nothing to be happened.

After that as well, they were not able to regain pace, and Cerezo finished with zero shots in the first half but kept the clean sheet with their high concentration on defense, and that led the second half.
In the second half, Cerezo replaced Bruno Mendes and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto with Yuta Toyokawa and Jun Nishikawa, and in 47th minutes Nishikawa, who had just entered the pitch, cut in from the right side and shot. Although it was unfortunately out of the frame, he immediately heated the stadium. In 61st minutes, Leandro Desabato tenaciously stole the ball and Koji Suzuki made a shot from the cross, but it went above the crossbar.

Urawa’s pace did not change in the second half as well, but even in the biggest pinch of 65th minutes, Ayumu Seko and Matej Jonjić blocked with their body and allowed no goals. In 62nd minutes, Hiroaki Okuno took a Volante, and Hiroshi Kiyotake entered the left side half in 69th minutes, and then Cerezo gradually regained their form with possession and retrieved the flow of the match. After creating the opportunities in 75th minutes and 80th minutes in a row, in 82nd minutes, the moment of joy finally came.

Leandro Desabato left the two opponents in a splendid step from their own field side, carried the ball with a powerful dribble that flew away Ewerton, and connected it to Kiyotake, and Nishikawa, who received the pass from Kiyotake, accelerated dribbling. He attracted three opponents and provided the last pass to Toyokawa running around from outside, and Toyokawa successfully stopped the ball and shot the near. Nishikawa, who succeeded to assist for the winning goal in the professional debut match, and Toyokawa, who happily made his first goal after joining. When the circle of joy spread around the two of them, then they started to close the game with composure. Just before the end of the game, as Nishikawa also made a shot directly hitting on the crossbar, the match finished in an offensive mood.

It was a game that was overwhelmed by Urawa from the beginning, but when it ended, Cerezo succeeded in bringing it to the winning pattern. The result of the victory they wanted to win through the group stage and the rise of new force. They got two harvest.