J1 vs Vissel Kobe: Match Report

Despite scoring the opener with Sakamoto’s first goal after his return, lost the point in the last play. The draw that remains the regrets.

Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League Section 15 which became an away game with Vissel Kobe, a rival in the Kansai area. The state of emergency issued to Hyogo Prefecture was extended, and it was implemented in this section in accordance with the admission restrictions (up to 5,000 people) based on the guidelines of the government and Hyogo Prefecture. Although no visitor seats were provided, the applause was sent from Kobe supporters when Cerezo Osaka players entered for the warmup.

Cerezo's starting lineup had changed by one player from the previous section. Mutsuki Kato played J1 first starter in place of Motohiko Nakajima, who was injured during the match in the previous section, and formed two tops with Yuta Toyokawa. At the beginning Cerezo was attacked by Kobe, but they pushed back immediately and got set-pieces in quick succession. They approached the goal including Naoyuki Fujita's long throw.

In defense, Dankler, who was in Kobe until last season and played against his old team, played well. In the 9th minute, he blocked the shot of Kyogo Furuhashi who received the pass from Thomas Vermaelen, and in the following, he prevented some situations that could be pinches beforehand. At the end of the first half, while Cerezo took the initiative, they got a scoring chance in the 39th minute. The shot of Fujita, who picked up the second ball, hit the DF and flew to a good course, but unfortunately it was blocked by the GK. In the additional time of the first half, Kim Jin Hyeon saved the middle shot of Yuta Goke of Kobe. The first half ended as scoreless.

In the second half as well, it started at the pace of Kobe, but like the first half, Cerezo quickly rebuilt, and in the 51st minute, Toyokawa, who received a pass from Hiroshi Kiyotake, threw a shot. Toyokawa had another chance in front of the goal in the 56th minute, but he was not able to make a shot. In the 58th minute, the manager Levir Culpi replaced Kato with Toshiyuki Takagi as the first substitution. They changed the system to [4-2-3-1], where Kiyotake was placed under the top. At the same time, Kobe sent Andres Iniesta and he also entered under the top.

The match entered a new development, and when both teams tried to move the score via MF, the control tower, it was Cerezo who connected the chance to the goal. In the 76th minute, Fujita, Kiyotake, and Maruhashi connected the ball to break the left side, and finally Sakamoto reacted to Takagi's in-swing right foot cross. He jumped in from the other side and shook the net with his header.

How do they finish the game from here? In the last 15 minutes + the additional time, when they played the last minute’s attacks, Cerezo had pinches in succession against Kobe who reinforced the pressure sending Lincoln and Ayub Masika in the 80th minute. Lincoln's middle shot in the 81st minute directly hit the post and nothing happened, and in the 86th minute, the cross from Lincoln's breakthrough was covered by Kim Jin Hyeon and escaped another pinch. At the end of the game, Cerezo kept on the side and advanced the hands of the clock, but they conceded a goal in the last play when the standard 5 minutes was about to pass. The second ball that Tiago competed after the opponent GK kicked was picked up and Cerezo received the raging attacks and then Vermaelen finally hit a strong middle shot and scored. Immediately after this, the time was up. For Cerezo, since they were almost getting 3 points for the first time in 3 games, the result was regrettable. The next match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima is the last match of Yanmar Stadium Nagai before the transition to Yodoko Sakura Stadium. Although it will be a remote match (with no spectators), they want to make sure to grab 3 points at home and change the flow of unwinning.