Emperor’s Cup vs Sagan Tosu: Match Report

Mutsuki Kato's goal was the final point. The whole team defended until the end, achieved the clean sheet and reached Top 8 in the Emperor's Cup.

After a two days interval from Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 24 against Avispa Fukuoka. The Emperor's Cup Round 16 was held, and Cerezo Osaka challenged the battle with Sagan Tosu at Yodoko Sakura Stadium. The starting lineup had changed from the match against Fukuoka to four players. Young players like Ryuya Nishio, Yuta Koike, Hinata Kida, and Mutsuki Kato were appointed, and Hiroshi Kiyotake was placed at the attacking MF of [3-5-2] system.

In the 3rd minute, Tiago turned back Kiyotake's FK with his head, and Cerezo threatened the goal first, and in the 8th minute Kiyotake, who cut the opponent's pass at a high position, brought it forward with a dribble. Cerezo made a good start, but gradually Tosu started to take possession and had more time to push Cerezo. Although Cerezo continued to put up with it, in the 16th minute Kato brought the ball forward from the counterattack and Adam Taggart shot. Also in the 18th minute, as Kiyotake, who received a pass from Hiroaki Okuno, aimed for a shot from outside the penalty area, they showed their motivation for the goal.

When Tosu was holding the ball after the water break, Cerezo had pinches from the left side in a row in the 29th minute and the 33rd minute, but in both cases the opponent's shots were out of the frame and there were nothing. Then, in the 34th minute immediately after, Cerezo succeeded in scoring the opener. Adam Taggart dropped the diagonal pass from Nishio, and Naoyuki Fujita flicked it with splendid footwork and fed a pass. Kiyotake received the ball as being free, carried it by dribbling, and sent a pass where he aimed at from the margin to attract the opponents, and then Kato came out behind the DF and made a loop shot over GK's head. In the 37th minute as well, Kato picked up the ball, when the opponent's DF’s pass exchange was off, and aimed for a goal with a long shot from a distance. In the first half, Cerezo was inferior in ball possession rate, but they found the opponent's gap, effectively brought the chance to the shot and finished the first half with a one-point lead.

The composition of the game did not change in the second half. Tosu held the ball and attacked, and Cerezo aimed at the counterattack from the defense. In the 50th minute, Tosu connected the ball at a good tempo in the middle of the field and got a scoring chance, but the final shot flew in front of GK Kim Jin Hyeon. While Cerezo continued to be pushed in, there was the substitution for three players at the same time in the 61st minute. Yuta Toyokawa, Motohiko Nakajima, and Riku Matsuda were sent in, and they aimed for the additional goal, securing the amount of exercise from the front. In the second half, as time went by, Tosu began to show the color of impatience, and to increase the mistakes in the scene of pass-connections.

On the other hand, Cerezo responded to Tosu's side attack with 5 backs when defending, and 3 pieces inside firmly bounced the cross back. They proceeded the match without inviting any pinches after the scene of the 50th minute, and made some chances from the counter at the end, but the last passes did not match and these did not become an additional point. Even so, Cerezo kept their concentration until the end and won 1-0. They dispelled the shock of losing the match against Fukuoka, gained momentum for future league matches and reached Top 8 in the Emperor's Cup.