J1 vs Kawasaki Frontale: Match Report

Cornering the last season’s league champion with two goals of Yoshito Okubo who scored at two consecutive games in the opening round, but regrettably defeated.


Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 the 11th section was held ahead of schedule by participating in the AFC Champions League. The match that they got into the Kawasaki Frontale's home started with a shocking blow in the 5th minute.

When Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Riku Matsuda sandwiched Kaoru Mitoma, the key man of Kawasaki, and stole the ball from him, Sakamoto dribbled and passed to Yoshito Okubo. Then, "Because the time was early, with the mind that I want to make a shot inside of the frame”, Okubo’s shot which was with all his might, went over the GK’s head and scored in. To the old home, which was full of memories such as winning the top scorer for the third consecutive year, he made a strong shot for the second consecutive game since the opening.

Right after this, Cerezo’s left side was broken and Leandro Damião scored a strong volley shot to catch up with the tie, but the number 20 fascinated the spectators again. When Riku Matsuda picked up the second ball, that Toshiyuki Takagi's direct FK hit the wall and bounced off, and crossed, it was Okubo who jumped into the ball that flowed to the far side. Cerezo succeeded in winning again with the hotline following the opening round.

After that, although Kawasaki kept the possession, Cerezo responded by using the press and retreat properly and solidifying the inside. There were some dangerous scenes, but they did not give Kawasaki scoring chances and finished the first half.

Like the opening game, Cerezo wanted to keep the time with a lead and aim for additional points, but turned to be defensive in the second half against Kawasaki who raised the gear and entered a deeper position on the side. In the 47th minute, the left side was broken again, and Leandro Damião scored with his heading from the cross. Moreover, they were not able to stop Kawasaki who got the momentum, and in the 62nd minute, Mitoma whom they had managed to control so far scored. And they allowed the reversal.

After that, they attacked each other, and Cerezo had a big chance in the 71st minute. Mutsuki Kato dropped the pass from Riku Matsuda, and then Okubo threw a decisive shot aimed at the course, but it was blocked by GK Jung Sung Ryong. After that, Riku Matsuda and Sakamoto set up chances from the side, but no tie goal was scored and the match ended 2-3 as it was.

Okubo scored two points and they had the development with the lead twice, so it was a match that they wanted to bring back at least one winning point, but the manager Levir Culpi praised, "They fought bravely, aiming for victory, not being afraid of losing.” Cerezo cornered last season's league champion to the last step. "It is important to keep doing it with confidence. If we keep doing it, we will become a scarier team," Okubo said. The team look forward and prepare for the second section against FC Tokyo, which will be an away series after two days interval.