ACL vs Guangzhou FC: Match Report

2 points from Riki Harakawa's CK. Overwhelmed Guangzhou FC with offense and defense, and won the first match of the group stage.


It is the fourth challenge in three years for the AFC Champions League (ACL). About the starting lineup for the first match of the group stage, the Guangzhou FC match, 4 starters had changed from the latest official match, the second round of the Emperor's Cup against Gainare Tottori. Kim Jin Hyeon, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, and Adam Taggart, who had been selected as representatives of each national team, had returned, and Toshiyuki Takagi was also in. In addition, in the last two official games they played with the [3-5-2] system, but this time they took [4-2-3-1] that Hiroshi Kiyotake played under the top line.

From the beginning Cerezo took control of the game with keeping possession, then in the 5th minute, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto dribbled into the penalty area and created a chance. In the 9th minute, Sakamoto headed to Takagi's cross and aimed for the goal, and in the 15th minute Cerezo succeeded in the opener from the CK. Hiroaki Okuno, who became free in the penalty area, reacted with the header to the kick of Riki Harakawa and shook the net.

After that as well, Cerezo intensified the offensive against Guangzhou FC, whose all field players returned to their own half to defend when defending. In the 19th minute, from Sakamoto’s pass, Adam Taggart took the back of the opponent and made a shot. In the 33rd minute, to the cross of Yusuke Maruhashi, who broke the left side, Adam Taggart reacted with his header, but it flew out of the frame. They had another scoring chance in the 34th minute. Takagi headed back on the left side to the cross of Harakawa on the right side, and Kiyotake shot in front of the goal, but it was blocked by the GK's good save. In the first half, Cerezo's ball possession rate was 79%. The opponent's shot was only one shot from a distance, and they finished the first half.

From the beginning of the second half, Hirotaka Tameda, who made his first appearance at Cerezo, entered the pitch on behalf of Takagi and approached the goal many times. In the 46th minute, he cut in from the left side and shot, and in the 48th minute he dribbled and made a chance. He appealed for his existence with a bold playing attitude. In order to aim for additional points, a manager Levir Culpi sent Yoshito Okubo to the pitch in the 60th minute and Motohiko Nakajima in the 66th minute to activate the attack. In the 68th minute, Tameda's curving shot to inward hit the DF and was slightly out of the frame, but Cerezo scored the second goal from the CK obtained here. Again, to the kick of Harakawa, this time Tiago reacted with his header and they widened the lead.

Cerezo decided the match with this score. Just before the end, Maruhashi fired a sharp direct FK but unfortunately hit the crossbar directly. Although they could not get the third goal, they won 2-0 keeping Guangzhou FC away from the goal throughout the first and second half. They won the first match of the group stage against Guangzhou FC, whom Cerezo had suffered many disappointing defeats in the ACL stage.