J1 vs Vissel Kobe: Match Report

Endured with 10 players, and Yoichiro Kakitani scored the priceless final point. Achieved 6 consecutive wins of league match.

Two days interval from the previous section against Yokohama F. Marinos. Cerezo Osaka challenged the Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League 25th section against Vissel Kobe, which was held ahead of schedule due to Vissel Kobe's participation in the AFC Champions League.

The consecutive away games in the tight schedule. Before the match, as Lotina head coach said, "Some positions need to be rotated," three starters had changed from the previous section. Instead of Eiichi Katayama, Hiroshi Kiyotake and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, Yusuke Maruhashi, Yoichiro Kakitani and Jun Nishikawa were sent to the pitch. For Nishikawa, this was the first professional starter in a league match.

In the first half, Cerezo had the defensive time for a while due to being held the ball by Kobe which Andres Iniesta came back as a starter, but as usual, they competed with the three lines of [4-4-2], which solidified the center. And then in 10th minutes, they made a chance from Kakitani’s through pass after his carrying the ball, though Tokura’s shot did not meet. In 33rd minutes, they also had another opportunity from the counter. Tokura, who came out to Hiroaki Okuno's pass, shot with his left foot that he is good at, but it was blocked by the GK. Right after this, the foot of Tokura who was about to kick the ball again, hit the face of GK Daiya Maekawa, and immediately Tokura got the direct red card. So Cerezo had to fight with 10 players.

After this, Lotina head coach’s decision was quick. Yasuki Kimoto, who was a starter as Volante, was moved down to the defender line to form a 3-back, and in 41st minutes Katayama was put in place of Nishikawa. When defending, there were 5 players in the back, and 3 players in the middle, so Leandro Desabato was in the center, Okuno on the left, and Katayama on the right. With a shift change to [5-3-1], where one top, Kakitani, was placed on the front line, the first half was finished.

A system that was changed with the aim of "eliminating the space of the opponents" (Lotina head coach). The players also responded, filling the space firmly and not giving Kobe a chance. However, as their consciousness leaned to the defensive side, the number of attacks decreased, and they were not able to make time to bring it to the shoot. Even so, "I thought we had one or two chances" (Kakitani), and the score they were aiming for was born in 62nd minutes. The loose ball of the FK that Maruhashi kicked. Leandro Desabato successfully passed the opponent through and provided a cross, and it was Kakitani that responded. "The timing, the quality of the pass, and the start of my movement all meshed." (Kakitani) The heading pierced into the goal net, and Cerezo, one player less, succeeded in the opener.

With this score, Cerezo got increased their concentration more in defense. Even though Kobe had the possession, they did not allow the opponents to enter dangerous spaces and did not allow a decisive shot. The time passed without letting Kobe make a scoring chance, then in 90+6th minutes, Hinata Kida entered the pitch as a substitution and made his J1 league debut. Cerezo won the match 1-0 as it was. The players who carried out the aim of Lotina head coach showed their defense with high concentration. And Sakura's uniform number 8 scored the priceless final point and they achieved 6 consecutive wins of league match. They also succeeded in reducing the difference in winning points to “5” to Kawasaki Frontale who had no match on this day.