Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League in 2021. Cerezo Osaka started from a match with Kashiwa Reysol at home. Manager Levir Culpi, who conducted for the first time in eight years at Cerezo. He had prepared two surprises for the opening round. One is that Ryuya Nishio, who made his J1 debut, was placed as one of the CBs. And another is that Yoshito Okubo, who returned to Cerezo for the first time in 15 years, was assigned as a starter. Among the new players, Riki Harakawa also played one corner of anchors.
At the beginning, Cerezo had the time to be pushed in by Kashiwa for a while. Although they invited the pinches in 2nd minutes and 8th minutes, they never allowed the goals with good saves of Kim Jin Hyeon. Cerezo's first shot was Okubo in 15th minutes. When he received a big pass from Harakawa on the left side, he shot from the cut-in. From there Cerezo took control of the match. When they attacked the space that happened on the side of the midfield of Kashiwa, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto broke through the right side in 19th minutes and had a big chance. In 21st minutes, Yuta Toyokawa reacted to Sakamoto's cross with a volley, but unfortunately it was well defended by the GK. Toyokawa also threw a strong shot in 24th minutes, but it was also blocked by the GK. With the momentum, Ayumu Seko pushed in the loose ball from CK in 28th minutes and shook the net, but Yusuke Maruhashi made a hand just before, and as a result of the VAR judgment, the goal was canceled.
Cerezo to attack further. In 35th minutes, when Okubo came out to Maruhashi's feed at the right time, Kashiwa's CB Takumi Kamijima made Okubo fall with his hand, and immediately got a red card due to "blocking a decisive scoring opportunity." Cerezo, who got a numerical advantage, finally succeeded in the opener in 42nd minutes. It was Okubo who broke the right side and finally reacted to Riku Matsuda's cross to the near side. The uniform number 20 achieved excellent results in the opening game of this season and in the first round of his return. The stadium got very excited for this excellent player. Also like Hiroaki Okuno got a chance from Hiroshi Kiyotake's pass in 44th minutes, Cerezo attacked again and again from the middle of the first half.
In the second half, taking advantage of the situation where there was one more player, they aimed for additional points while controlling the game. In 51st minutes, they had a pinch, but Kim Jin Hyeon made a big save again. The absolute guardian deity of cherry blossoms showed his reliability in this season as well. In 60th minutes, Toshiyuki Takagi replaced Okubo, and in 70th minutes, Mutsuki Kato replaced Toyokawa. For Kato, this was his J1 debut. With the addition of two fresh players, Cerezo accelerated their attacks again. Takagi jumped into the cross, that Sakamoto fed from the switch back that he is good at, and made a chance in 75th minutes, and then they added points in 85th minutes. Kato's shot hit the post in front of the goal, and Takagi picked it up and shot but it was blocked by the DF, and Sakamoto shot the loose ball on his right foot. The match was determined with a goal of a uniform number 17, who is aiming for a "double-digit goal" in this season.
Okubo said, "I played with a strong will in this match." The new season started with the goal of uniform number 20 who came back for the first time in 15 years. "Levir Cerezo", the first in eight years, made the best start.