J1 vs FC Tokyo: Match Report

Even though they carried over their first league victory at Yodoko Sakura Stadium, it was a valuable 1 winning point to bounce back 2 goals behind.

It was a three days interval after the previous section against Vissel Kobe as the first match after returning from the AFC Champions League. Cerezo Osaka challenged the match at Yodoko Sakura Stadium again, receiving FC Tokyo, who had won four consecutive league matches.

It was Cerezo who made a good entry. In the 4th minute, they stole the opponent’s throw-in and connected it quickly and Hiroshi Kiyotake threw the first shot of this match. Also in the 8th minute, Yoshito Okubo aimed for a goal with a surprisingly long shot. A scoring chance came in the 10th minute. Kiyotake approached where the GK repelled Yusuke Maruhashi’s cross, but his shot hit the post directly. Unfortunately, it did not reach the goal. Then, in the 13th minute, the pass in the build-up was cut, and they received a counterattack that they were wary of, and Leandro finally scored a goal from one-two with Diego Oliveira. From here, the pace of the match leaned toward FC Tokyo. Cerezo held the ball but was not able to break the opponent's defense and had a pinch from the counter, and then in the 39th minute they lost possession in the middle field, and Diego Oliveira came out to Keigo Higashi’s through pass and scored the second goal. Just before the end of the first half, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto broke through vertically from the feint, that he is good at, and made a chance feeding a cross. However the shot of Riki Harakawa went over the crossbar. Cerezo ended with a difficult development the first half, that FC Tokyo showed their goodness.

In the second half, Manager Levir Culpi replaced Okubo with Toshiyuki Takagi. He shifted the system, where Mutsuki Kato was placed as a single striker and Hiroshi Kiyotake was moved down to the attacking MF, that made him possible to play in a wider area, then Cerezo immediately returned 1 point 1 minute after the start. Kato reacted to the cross of Maruhashi, who received Harakawa's pass, on the near side and pushed it into the goal. Kato got another scoring chance in the 48th minute as well. He matched Takagi's cross again on the near side, but this time it was blocked by the GK. Pushing up the whole defense line and continuing to attack from the side, then in the 57th minute, Sakmoto reacted to Takagi’s cross on the far side and scored. Cerezo made the game back to where it started. FC Tokyo also tried to take back the flow with the substitution of three players in the 63rd minute, but Cerezo's momentum would not stop. In the 74th minute, Hiroaki Okuno deflected Harakawa's CK on the near side, and Tiago pushed it in with his header on the far side, and finally they succeeded in reversing. Yodoko Sakura Stadium was stirred up. The mood toward the victory for the first time in eight league games rose at once, but in the 82nd minute, as the same case of the away match, Leandro directly scored a FK and they were caught up to the tie.

Even so, Cerezo fought for victory until the end, and in the 88th minute, Harakawa stole the ball at a high position and Sakamoto shot. In the additional time in the second half, Tiago headed again from Harakawa's CK, but unfortunately it was out of the frame. Just before the end, they gave an FK to Leandro again at the similar position to the third goal, but the wall blocked it. The match ended with 3-3 as it was. The first victory of the league match at Yodoko Sakura Stadium was carried over, but the mentality of not giving up even with 2 points behind, and the offensive power that scored 3 points only in the second half. “(The second half) was close to our ideal form of football. I think it was a match that we did well,” Manager Levir Culpi summed up. They would like to connect this 1 winning point, that they got from the difficult development, to the future games.