J1 vs Kashima Antlers: Match Report

Despite the seesaw development, lost the point for giving in to Kashima’s press. It was a second consecutive defeat this season.

It was a weekday night game after a 2 days interval from the previous section against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Cerezo Osaka challenged the away match against Kashima Antlers, and about the starters, Riki Harakawa played in 10 games and Ayumu Seko played in 9 games for the first time, and also Yoshito Okubo and Adam Taggart returned to the bench for the first time in 4 games.

In the first half, while Kashima had a long time to keep possession, Cerezo solidified the inside defense and moved the opponent away from the goal, then they found the way to accelerate the offensive with the simple attack taking the behind. Mutsuki Kato, who was the starter for three games in a row, aimed at the back of opponents, and Hiroaki Okuno, who entered one corner of two-top, received the ball at the down position and made a starting point. In the 21st minute, Okuno held the ball and connected it to Hiroshi Kiyotake and Harakawa to break the left side, and then Okuno dropped the cross of Harakawa and Riku Matsuda made a shot. In the 25th minute, Kato, who came out diagonally from Yusuke Maruhashi's pass, aimed for a goal. In the 45th minute as well, Kato worked hard on the front line, and Harakawa threatened Kashima’s goal with a shot from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto's pass. On the defensive side, in the 42nd minute, Kim Jin Hyeon showed a good save to the direct FK of Katsuya Nagato. The first half finished by 0-0.

In the second half, Cerezo replaced Kato for Adam Taggart from the beginning, and he entered the one corner of two-top. The uniform number 9 in the second game after joining the team boldly aimed for the back of opponents and activated the attack. In the 53rd minute, Kiyotake and Harakawa connected the ball, and Adam Taggart developed to the right. He jumped into Riku Matsuda's liner cross, but unfortunately he did not match. In the 56th minute as well, as Sakamoto dribbled from the counter and made a shot, they aggressively approached the goal. Turning from the first half, which ended with a quiet development, in the second half, which became an open development, Kashima strengthened the press and sharpened the attack, but Maruhashi covered the shot with his body in front of the goal in the 54th minute. GK Kim Jin Hyeon also continued to save steadily and did not allow Kashima to score.

The competitive match moved unexpectedly in the 72nd minute. To the Kashima’s interlocked press, Cerezo made a misalignment of pass in building up from the final line, allowed the opponents a short counter and conceded a goal. Immediately after the 75th minute, the manager Levir Culpi replaced Naoyuki Fujita with Okubo. Okubo, who returned to the match, showed the bold defense from the front line, and jumped into the cross in the 78th minute, but it was not matched for one more step. In the 82nd minute, Adam Taggart stole the ball at high position and directly approached the goal, but was blocked by the DF with his body.

In the 84th minute, Ryuya Nishio entered the CB and Seko went up to the anchor. Cerezo attacked for a tie until the end, but the match ended as it was. It was a match that they tried to win for the first time in five games, but they could not break Kashima's stronghold and suffered their second consecutive defeat this season. The next section against Vegalta Sendai, which will be held after a 3 days interval due to the participation in ACL in June, will be a break for Cerezo in the league match. They definitely want to conclude with a victory and finish the tough matches in May.