J1 vs Vegalta Sendai: Match Report

A new system worked. Despite getting the opener with Tiago’s first goal, they could not score the additional point and it was a regrettable draw.

The Vegalta Sendai match in this section, which was an away game in a row after a 3 days interval. To finish May with a victory, which they suffered without good results as 2 draws and 3 losses, Cerezo Osaka adopted the 3 back system for the first time in this season. Ayumu Seko, Tiago, and Dankler lined up on the back line, and Riki Harakawa was the anchor. Riku Matsuda and Yusuke Maruhashi on both sides took high positions, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, and Hiroaki Okuno moved fluidly in the middle, and Adam Taggart entered the top position, aiming for the finish.

It was the sudden arrangement of "the day before the game" (Sakamoto) that they tried the new system, but the form adopted under the strong will of manager Levir Culpi "I want to bring out the potential of the players" reasonably worked. From the beginning, they pushed up the whole defense line keeping possession, took a high position on both sides and brought the ball to feed the cross. In the middle, Kiyotake got in between the opponents, received the ball, and aimed at the behind. In the 23rd minute, Adam Taggart received Kiyotake's pass and brought it dribbling and shot, and in the 24th minute Riku Matsuda's sharp shot hit the goal. However, although they kept the possession, while they were struggling to break the organised defense of Sendai, there were scenes where they received the crossbar hit shot twice from the counter after Cerezo’s pass connection mistake.

As “We talked about 'let's aim for the goal more and more' during the half-time," (Sakamoto), they reconfirmed the strong motivation for the goal and entered the pitch in the second half. In the 49th minute, Sakamoto cut in from the right side and shot. They switched on the attack and then succeeded in the opener in the following 53rd minute. FK that Sakamoto got after receiving a foul. It was Tiago that reacted Harakawa's kick. He met it well with his head and screwed it into the goal. Tiago, who scored his first goal after joining the team, made a decisive header from CK in the 72nd minute as well, but it was blocked by the GK. Yoshito Okubo, who participated in the middle of the game, kicked this loose ball, but it was covered by the GK again. In the 78th minute, Sakamoto, who had come out to Kiyotake's pass, had a scoring chance, but the shot was again blocked by the GK’s good save.

While they were not able to take the second goal to decide the result of the game, they disappointedly lost the point in the 79th minute. To the cross from the left side, Martinus pushed it in on the far side from no angle. Even so, Cerezo did not give up the victory until the end, and in the additional time in the second half, Tiago connected the pass to Kiyotake on the front line with a quick pass from Kim Jin Hyeon. Kiyotake cut in from dribbling. He aimed at a goal with the shot of his right foot, which reminded us of the final point he scored at Yurtec Stadium Sendai in the last season, but it was slightly out of the frame. Just before the end, Naoyuki Fujita's long throw was caught by the GK, and they received a counterattack, and then there was a scene of nearly PK at the end, but the whistle was not blown here and it was nothing.

The match ended 1-1 as it was. Compared to the last few games, there were more chances in this section, and the newly tried system has made us have expectations for the future. However, they could not take advantage of the development that they scored the opener in this section as well, and only one winning point was marked. Both the harvest and the challenges remained. The next section of the league match will be Section 20 against Vissel Kobe on July 17th, which will be the first game at Yodoko Sakura Stadium. They want to recover the situation at a new home.