J1 vs Kawasaki Frontale: Match Report

Showed their full potential, but could not reach for a step. Regrettably defeated to the leader.

The biggest match at home against Kawasaki Frontale, the leader. Cerezo Osaka showed a wonderful fight in the first match that had more than 10,000 spectators after the interruption due to the coronavirus. However, Kawasaki went further, and they lost 1-3. The difference in winning points to the leader was widened to "14" as a result.

At the beginning, Cerezo was attacked by Kawasaki, like the shot of Akihito Ienaga in 4th minutes and the heading of Jesiel from CK in 7th minutes as scoring chances, but GK Kim Jin Hyeon made big saves with his quick reaction. After that, they gradually regained their composure and started to control the game with their own rhythm. In 15th minutes, Bruno Mendes headed to Tatsuhiro Sakamoto's FK and it flew to a critical course, but was blocked by a good save of opponent's GK.

From there, Cerezo dominated the game for a while, but the scene that they did not fit well in front of the goal for the last steps repeated. Then in 37th minutes, they allowed Kawasaki to take the lead. When the second ball that they cleared CK was developed to the right side, Ayumu Seko was not able to clear the shooting cross of Yasuto Wakizaka, and it became an own goal. Still, Matej Jonic immediately inspired the team. In the second half without feeling down, Sakamoto came out to Matej Jonic’s long pass in 53rd minutes and approached the goal, but it was just blocked by the opponent’s response.

In 55th minutes, Eiichi Katayama made a shot from the cut-in, but unfortunately it was out of the frame. Even so, as they increased the momentum to score like getting CK in quick succession from there, the long-awaited moment came in 62nd minutes. Bruno Mendes competed to the kicked ball by Kim Jin Hyeon, and Naoyuki Fujita picked up the loose ball and developed to the right side. In the moment that Riku Matsuda received the ball, Hiroaki Okuno, who felt "coming", entered between the CBs in front of the goal and took an exquisite position, hit a perfect heading on Matsuda's cross and shook the net. The stadium greatly got excited. From there, they wanted to head to a reversal, but Kawasaki immediately sent Ryota Oshima and Kaoru Mitoma to retrieve the flow.

The head coach Lotina also sent Shota Fujio in place of Bruno Mendes. He hoped into the expected rookie who "plays well from training". However, at the end of the game, while Cerezo was continuing to be on the defensive, in 83rd minutes, they lost the point again from the second ball of CK. Reo Hatate, who picked up the clear ball, released a strong middle shot. Kim Jin Hyeon barely managed to block this, but Leandro Damian, who had just entered, approached the loose ball and they allowed Kawasaki to score the winning goal. Immediately after, in 84th minutes, Mitoma pushed another goal into it and stole the third point that determined the match.

As the head coach Lotina looked back after the match “I think we had a good game overall," the fight Cerezo showed was enough to make Kawasaki suffer. However, "The fact that we lost two goals from the loose ball of CK is an issue that we must overcome in the future" (Head coach Lotina), and there are the strength and competitiveness to find a slight gap in the leader. The difference in winning points widened, and the long-awaited reversal victory became quite difficult, but with the lessons that they have learned in the two games against Kawasaki in mind, all they have to do is “To win the game in front of us” (Head coach Lotina) one by one for the remaining 13 games.