Levain Cup QF 1st Leg vs Gamba Osaka: Match Report

The defeat with 0-1 in the quarter-final of Levain Cup, Round 1. They made chances, but could not reach the goal one step further.

The first round of the J.League YBC Levain Cup quarter-finals, which became the first home game as a new organization. In this match, which was against Gamba Osaka following the league game, Cerezo Osaka had changed the starting line-ups by 8 players from the league match. As the words of Manager Akio Kogiku at the press conference the day before, "It’s the timing to give an opportunity to the players who are hungry for the chance to play", fresh members lined up on the pitch.

Cerezo had some time to be pushed in by the opponents in the early time, but when they immediately regained the initiative, they got a scoring chance in the 13th minute. Riki Matsuda flicked the vertical pass from Tiago. After Motohiko Nakajima held the ball, Hiroto Yamada brought it dribbling and shot, but it was blocked by GK Masaaki Higashiguchi. In the 21st minute, Toshiyuki Takagi, who received a pass from Kim Jin Hyeon, dribbled and fed a throw pass. Nakajima received it, turned back and swung his left foot with all his might, but it was blocked by Higashiguchi again. After that, while developing passes centered on Hinata Kida, who was a starter as an anchor, Cerezo continued to push in, with the two FWs Yamada and Riki Matsuda aiming for taking the back of the opponents. In the 28th minute, Nakajima shot from Kida's vertical pass. In the additional time as well, Riki Matsuda dropped Koike's pass and Yamada shot. They actively approached the goal. Even in defense, they did not allow Gamba to make any single shot in the first half. They finished the first half with good content.

At half-time, Takashi Inui appeared on the pitch and greeted the spectators. He said, "I want to build the best team," and the supporters gave a big applause. Even in the second half, when there was no substitute to start, it was Cerezo who went on the offensive from the start. In the 47th minute, Koike, who received a side change pass from Kida, broke through vertically and crossed. Yamada reacted to it with the heading, but it was slightly out of frame. Koike also dribbled into the penalty area in the 51st minute. He tried to break through with aggressive play. They got a chance from the counter in the 54th minute. Yamada dribbled and carried it, and Nakajima's vertical pass went to Riki Matsuda. It was a scene that would be 1-on-1 with the GK if it reached, but Riki Matsuda's trap was slightly off. In the 58th minute, Cerezo received Gamba’s first shot but Kim Jin Hyeon blocked the shot by Yosuke Ideguchi.

Both teams changed players one after another in the second half and tried to move the game. In the 72nd minute, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, who was sent as the substitution, entered in front of the goal with a one-two with Yamada. He broke through, but he was not able to finish the shot. In the 74th minute, Koike crossed from Yoshito Okubo's keep. In the 76th minute as well, Hirotaka Tameda, who took the back, crossed from Mutsuki Kato's keep. However, none of them matched the inside, and it did not lead to a shot. While they were not able to finish even with many chances from the first half, they conceded a goal in the 89th minute just before the end. When the defense on the left side went to be disordered, Hiroto Yamami, a special license player who played from the midway, made a controlled shot with his left foot. Immediately after the goal, Okubo had a chance, but he could not shoot and the time was up. The conceded goal was Gamba's second shot that Cerezo received, but this was the final point. It was a regrettable defeat, but it was a harvest that the players who had few chances to participate in the league match made a big move on the pitch. It was also a match that will lead to the future. Victory is the only condition for Cerezo to advance to the semi-finals in the second round of the quarter-finals, which will be held in away stadium after a three days interval. They all work together to aim for a breakthrough in the reverse.