J1 vs Gamba Osaka: Match Report

Despite Cerezo’s taking the lead, the 40th Osaka derby was settled as draw after heated battle of ofense and defense.

It was the 40th Osaka derby as the league match. The derby battle, that had been fiercely fought many times for each other’s pride, was held at home, Yanmar Stadium Nagai in this time. After the suspension period, the first match of the league restart was Osaka Derby, but at that time there were still no spectators. At Panasonic Stadium Suita, only the voices of players and staffs and the sound of kicking the ball echoed, but this time the stadium was filled with nearly 20,000 spectators, and the sight filled with pink and blue black was spectacular.

Before the match, singer Yoshimi Tendo sang "Cerezo Osaka Anthem" solo, and the premiere feeling increased further. At the match that started with maximum excitement, Cerezo Osaka dominated from the beginning of the game. They firmly held the ball, moved the opponents, and attacked starting from Hiroshi Kiyotake on the left side. Also Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Riku Matsuda, who had returned from injury for the first time in four games, enhanced the quality of the buildup on the right side and dominated the side. In 11th minutes, Sakamoto, who came out to Matsuda's pass, shook off the DF and crossed to the center. While the chance came, in 20th minutes, Yuta Toyokawa jumped into Yusuke Maruhashi's cross and approached the goal.

Cerezo was carrying the game in a good flow, but in 32nd minutes, Gamba Osaka took advantage of one chance and scored a goal. Still, two minutes later, they quickly caught up with the tie. When Maruhashi kicked the FK that Kiyotake got for being fallen, it perfectly hit Yasuki Kimoto on the far side. Kimoto's volley shot directly hit the crossbar, but Toyokawa approached the bounced ball and shook the net. Cerezo gained momentum with Toyokawa's goal in three consecutive games, attacked for the opponent's goal at once from there, and got a scoring chance in 40th minutes. Sakamoto and Toyokawa broke the right side, and Naoyuki Fujita responded as being free to Toyokawa's minus cross at the end, but unfortunately the shot was out of the frame. Right after, Cerezo also had a decisive pinch, but Kim Jin Hyeon made a big save for Takashi Usami's shot, which was 1-on-1 with the GK. 45 minutes passed quite fast in the heated first half, and it finished 1-1 while the stadium was excited.

In the second half, Cerezo was on the defensive at the beginning, but they endured without giving a scoring chance, and then Yoichiro Kakitani entered the pitch taking the place of Toyokawa in 63rd minutes. From there, the flow of the game gradually leaned toward Cerezo. In 70th minutes, it was unfortunately offside, but they approached the goal with a splendid combination of Kiyotake and Kakitani, and in 82nd minutes, Kakitani came out to Matsuda's through pass and had a chance. In 85th minutes, Maruhashi, Kiyotake, and Kakitani broke the side, and Leandro Desabato shot at the end. Also like in 90th minutes, Hiroaki Okuno, who came out to Maruhashi's pass, was fallen just outside the penalty area, Cerezo developed the attack with great vigor at the end of the game. In the additional time of the second half, Kiyotake aimed at the goal with an overhead kick from Eiichi Katayama's long throw, but it was slightly out of the frame.

The match ended 1-1 as it was. They could not achieve the “season double” of Osaka derby for the first time since 1999, but Cerezo’s players showed a wonderful fight in front of many supporters who came to cheer up. A big applause broke out in a space surrounded by excited heat, which is typical of Osaka derby, and the 40th Osaka derby closed its curtain.