Levain Cup vs Kashiwa Reysol: Match Report

Lost 3 points for being trapped by Kashiwa’s tactics. Disappeared in best 8 for Levain Cup.

It was 2 days interval from the last league match. Cerezo Osaka challenged the J. League YBC Levain Cup quarterfinal against Kashiwa Reysol. They changed 6 starters from the league match. Taiga Maekawa was the first starter after returning to Cerezo, and Jun Nishikawa was the first starter as the professional. The system was not 4-4-2 as usual, but 4-3-3 that Yasuki Kimoto was the anchor in holding the ball, and Hiroaki Okuno and Maekawa played in inside half.

It was Cerezo who had possession in the first half, but for lacking accuracy in the build-up pass, and they let Kashiwa make chances from the counterattack again and again. In 2nd minutes right after the start of the game, they were taken the back and gave a scoring chance, but were saved by a crossbar there. Cerezo had many pinches after that, but with GK Kim Jin Hyeon’s good save, they were able to avoid losing points. However, in 40th minutes, they received a counter from a bad way to lose the ball and allowed Kashiwa to get the opener that Hiroto Goya shot at the end. Even on the offensive side, in the first half when they lacked a sense of stability unexpectedly, they were not able to break Kashiwa’s block, and made just one shot.

In the second half, Lotina head coach changed back the system to 4-4-2, and in 55th minutes, sent Koji Suzuki, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, and Naoyuki Fujita at once. Then, from there, the flow of the game came toward Cerezo. In 59th minutes, when Yusuke Maruhashi's direct FK was bounced by GK, Yoichiro Kakitani approached the goal. And in 63rd minutes, Sakamoto dribbled vertically and crossed, and Suzuki reacted it well, but it hit the post there. Even in 75th minutes, Kakitani, who was running out from Sakamoto's through pass, had a one-on-one chance with GK, but was blocked by GK's good defense. In 79th minutes, also they had a melee battle in front of the goal from the pass of Hiroshi Kiyotake who entered the pitch just 4 minutes ago, and Sakamoto pushed it in at the end, but could not steal the goal for GK’s block again.

Despite the onslaught, one point was far for Cerezo. Then in 84th minutes, they got a counterattack from the place where the pass exchange was misaligned, and were scored by Ataru Esaka at the end, that was a painful second point. Cerezo was disheartened by this and were scored by Esaka again in 90th minutes, and there was nothing more they could do. After passing the group stage in the first place of all three wins, the expectation for the second Levain Cup crown for the first time in three years was also high, but in the form of being trapped by Kashiwa’s tactics, they defeated in the quarterfinals.