Levain Cup QF 2nd Leg vs Gamba Osaka: Match Report

With a spectacular goal rush, the second round was a 4-0 victory! Achieved to advance to the semi-finals of Levain Cup with a total of 4-1 in 2 games.

J.League YBC Levain Cup quarter-final Round 2 with Gamba Osaka. For Cerezo Osaka, who lost 0-1 in the first round, the only condition for advancing to the semi-finals was victory. It was a match that needed two goals or more to win in 90 minutes. As Manager Akio Kogiku said on the day before the match, "I think we all have to be disciplined and defend well throughout the match," a sense of balance between not only corresponding the alerts in defense but also pouring energy to the attacks were required in this match.

As expected, the second game in away stadium, in which the five starters were replaced from the first game, progressed in the development exactly Cerezo planned. In the 6th minute, Hiroto Yamada had his first chance from the counter, and they continued to play in the opposite half and threatened the opponent's goal mainly with set pieces. Then, in the 24th minute, the long-awaited moment came. Starting from the vertical pass of Hinata Kida, Motohiko Nakajima and Yamada connected the pass, and then Kida picked up the cleared ball of Yamada's cross and made a middle shot. This hit the opponent's DF and the loose ball reached Yamada, and he stopped it well with his right foot and shot with his left foot. It hit the post and was absorbed into the other side net. After the first goal, the smoothness of the pass increased, and an additional point was scored in the 32nd minute. Koji Toriumi of CB received the ball as free and made a soft pass behind the opponent's DF. Yamada, who came out running diagonally, held it and shot, and Mutsuki Kato reacted to the bounced ball to the post and successfully screwed it into the goal. After that, there was a time when they were on the defensive, but the strength of the defense was high, and they finished the first half without giving Gamba any shooting chance.

In the second half as well, Cerezo strengthened the offensive from the start and got a scoring chance in the 54th minute. Tiago bounced off the opponent's throw-in, and Kato held it in and passed to Yamada. The shot that Yamada threw after dribbling past the DF slightly went over the crossbar, but two minutes later the third goal was scored. After breaking through the right side starting from Riku Matsuda, Naoyuki Fujita shot directly at the place where Riku Matsuda's cross was bounced off. A sharp trajectory pierced the goal, giving Cerezo a greater advantage. In the 66th minute, Takashi Inui, who returned to Cerezo for the first time in about 10 years, appeared on the pitch. When the momentum was further strengthened, in the 68th minute, Riki Matsuda, who entered the pitch at the same time as Inui, stole the ball from the opponent's DF at a high position and directly brought it to the shot. It was the first happy goal for Riki Matsuda after joining, and Cerezo decided the result of the match.

Inui, the focus of attention, made some featured scenes in quick succession at the end of the game. In the 85th minute, he dribbled past the opponent with a vivid double touch. Also in the 86th minute, he threatened the goal with a curving shot from 45 degrees to the left, and in the additional time, he made a chance with a skilful pass on the outside of his right foot. He showed his skill and ideas in a short time. Cerezo proceeded with the match without danger even in defense. In the scene of Gamba’s scoring chance in the 87th minute, Kim Jin Hyeon avoided conceding a goal with his good save. "I didn't want to concede a goal no matter how many points we scored," he concluded the game with a clean sheet. Cerezo won the match 4-0 as it was. Cerezo, who regained the defeat of the first round in away, broke through the Levain Cup quarter-finals with a total of 4-1 in the two rounds, and advanced to the semi-finals waiting for the match against Urawa Reds.