J1 vs Urawa Reds: Match Report

Ken Tokura’s recovery bullet and Shota Fujio's J1 first goal! Achieved the clean sheet for the first time in five games and comfortably won.


After 2 days interval from the J. League YBC Levain Cup quarterfinals. It was the game against Urawa Reds in this section that returned to the league match. Cerezo Osaka changed 3 starters from the latest league game. Yasuki Kimoto played as a Volante and Yoichiro Kakitani and Ken Tokura formed the 2-top. It was a fresh team with Hinata Kida and Shota Fujio on the bench.

This match started with Kakitani’s breaking through with a sharp dribble, that excited the stadium in 5th and 6th minutes. In the first half, the content was even. In 15th minutes, Tokura, who took the behind of the opponent from the pass of Hiroshi Kiyotake, made a shot and in 28th minutes they had a chance from FK. Tokura kicked back the ball from Kiyotake on the far side, Kakitani dropped the ball and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto shot. It was blocked by Urawa’s CB, but approached the goal. Although Cerezo had the less ball possession rate, they firmly defended the inside against Urawa's attack. In the Levan Cup quarterfinals, although they showed an unstable play in the first half, this time they regained their usual sense of stability and did not let Urawa make a scoring chance.

In the second half of the 0-0 match, Lotina head coach substituted Hiroaki Okuno for Kakitani from the beginning. When he put Okuno into one side of 2-top, the game moved in 48th minutes. Okuno, who received Eiichi Katayama's pass on the front line, attracted the DF and held the ball, and Sakamoto, who received the side change pass from Kiyotake, switched back and crossed with his left foot. After winning the opponent DF, Tokura, who reacted on the far side, shook the net with a high-hitting-point heading, and Cerezo succeeded in the opener.

After that, Urawa's attack gained momentum, but Cerezo's defense did not break and they got an additional point in 74th minutes. This time, Sakamoto, who received a side change from Naoyuki Fujita, made a vertical breakthrough from the quick switch back that he was good at and entered to the deep position. A cross with his right foot led Thomas Deng’s own goal and Cerezo widened the lead.

With the second point, Cerezo could relax for carrying the game. In 86th minutes, Lotina head coach sent Fujio, who made his J1 debut, on the pitch. Fujio showed his presence in chasing the ball boldly from the front and in competing the long-ball, and in 90th minutes he came out to Fujita’s pass and made a chance. Then in the additional time of the second half, the moment when the stadium was filled with joy came. To the ball that Nishikawa fed to the space, Fujio did not miss to see the chance that Urawa's DF and GK were looking each other, and he stole the ball from GK, poured it into an unattended goal, and recorded his J1 first goal. The bench got excited, like a party, for the goal of his J1 debut match. Lotina head coach also raised his hands to express joy and gave high five with Fujio.

Sakamoto who related to two goals and Tokura who scored as a recovery bullet. And Fujio who scored his first J1 goal. This match, in which many heroes were born in the attacking team, achieved clean sheet for the first time in five league games in defense. Cerezo, who had a good balance between offensive and defensive, won Urawa 3-0 and eliminated the shock of defeat in quarterfinals of the Levain Cup. In the league match, they decorated 3 consecutive wins for second time in this season, and kept the second position to follow the lead.