The J.League YBC Levain Cup also started. Cerezo Osaka is in Group A with Gamba Osaka, Kashima Antlers, and Oita Trinita, and the first match was an away game against Gamba. The starting lineup had changed 10 players from the opening game of the league. It was a total replacement except for Riku Matsuda on the right side back.
Cerezo, who showed a good entry, succeeded in scoring the opener as early as the 7th minute. Hirotaka Tameda matched the FK of Tokuma Suzuki with the back head and poured it into the goal. For Tameda, happily this was his first goal at Cerezo. Everybody smiled, including the bench. In this match, Cerezo’s synchronised press, which started from the two FWs of Satoki Uejo and Sota Kitano, fit in the game, and they cut many times aiming for a pass from the opponent's CB to the anchor. In the 24th minute, Kitano carried the ball by himself and shot from a powerful ball steal. He made a scoring chance. In the 28th minute, the vertical relationship on the right side also functioned, as Matsuda took the back of the opponent from Hikaru Nakahara's pass and fed the cross. In the first half, Cerezo took the advantage from beginning to end, and added another point in the 41st minute. This time, Nakahara, who took the corner of the penalty area from Matsuda's pass, kept the ball while being surrounded by DFs. Uejo, who received the drop, hit a strong shot into the side net of the opposite side.
Even in the second half, which started with a two-point lead, the match proceeded at the pace of Cerezo. In the 51st minute, Kitano shot to a return pass from Nakahara's vertical breakthrough. Unfortunately, it went above the crossbar, but two minutes later, Kitano got another chance. This time, he reacted to the return pass from Uejo, who came out to Suzuki’s pass, but he met the cover of the opponent DF and did not finish. Then, in the 59th minute, after a momentary gap was found and one point was returned, Cerezo turned to be inferior to Gamba, who sent Takashi Usami and Shu Kurata immediately afterwards. At the scoring chance of Gamba in the 63rd minute, GK Keisuke Shimizu showed a big save, but in the 74th minute, the second ball of CK was picked up by Gamba and Cerezo conceded a goal from the cross. They were caught up to the tie for an instant.
However, as Nakahara said after the match, "I was only thinking about winning even after being caught up," no one in this situation faced down and started the attack again. Hiroshi Kiyotake, who was substituted in the 72nd minute, played an important role here. In the 82nd minute, he made a scoring chance with an exquisite through pass to Nakahara, and approached the goal by himself, immediately after that. Then in the 84th minute, Nakahara, who received the pass from Suzuki, dribbled and made a pass to Kiyotake, and Kiyotake fed a gentle pass to Haruki Arai, who also played from the midway. Arai accelerated vertically with one touch, left the parallel running DF behind and sent back a cross to the center with the outside of his right foot, and then it was Nakahara that matched there. Cerezo succeeded in winning with vivid cooperation.
For Cerezo, the new forces like Nakahara, Uejo, and Suzuki lively played on the big stage called Osaka Derby. Despite Gamba’s onslaught on the way, they succeeded in winning at the end, and shared the joy with the supporters who dyed a corner of the away stadium in pink. We got off to a great start to win in the group stage.