Review: Cerezo Osaka 0-0 Gamba Osaka (Levain Cup Group Stage MD5)

The first scoreless draw in the history of "Osaka Derby", but decided to break through the group stage.

Section 5 of the J.League YBC Levain Cup Group Stage, which was the second "Osaka Derby" this season. Cerezo Osaka would break through the group stage with more than a draw in this match. The cup game until this had often changed the starting lineup from the league game, but since it was after a five days interval, only two players changed from the latest Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 9 against Avispa Fukuoka. Hiroshi Kiyotake was a starter for the first time after recovering from his injury, and Tokuma Suzuki entered the anchor position in place of Hiroaki Okuno, who got injured in the match against Fukuoka and took a break just in case.

In the first half, they looked at how Gamba approached. When defending, they selected the form to set the defensive line rather than going to steal from the front. While looking at the way of Gamba's build-up, they filled the space and responded. When attacking, they started the [4-2-3-1] system where Kiyotake entered the attacking FW and Hiroto Yamada played on the left side, then they got a scoring chance in the 14th minute. Hikaru Nakahara headed the feed from Matej Jonic, and Mutsuki Kato dropped it with his foot, and Kiyotake passed to Yamada, who made a wide space to the side. Yamada shot from the left side of the penalty area, and the ball that hit the opponent's DF who came to the block headed for the goal. However, on the verge of shaking the net, Kwon Kyung Won was cleared and it did not reach the goal. After that, they could not make a scoring chance, but they allowed the opponent only one shot and finished the first half without any pinches.

In the second half, “They made clear the pressing way during the half time and so they started to attack more aggressively.” (Manager Akio Kogiku) Cerezo increased the pressure from the front and dominated the game. Kiyotake and Yamada had changed positions from the middle of the first half, and in the second half, Kiyotake made a starting point on the left side, and 2 FWs of Kato and Yamada gave the driving force, and then, there was a chance from the right side in the 50th minute. In the 62nd minute, Kiyotake and Yusuke Maruhashi broke the left side, but since the center of Gamba was also solidly defended, they were not able to bring the ball to the center. In the second half, Cerezo picked up the second ball and carried the game in the opposition half, and they got a scoring chance also in the 74th minute. Kato pressed and Riku Matsuda, who stole the ball at a high position, fed a cross. The ball that hit the opponent's DF came to Yamada, but the GK cleared quickly and he could not shoot. At the end of the game, Jean Patric, Bruno Mendes, and Satoki Uejo shot in quick succession, but they were not able to break the goal.

Cerezo fought for victory to the last, but at the end of the game, they carried the match while keeping in mind the condition that they would break through the group stage even if it was a draw. In the second half as well, they did not let Gamba make a chance, but in the 90 + 3rd minute, they gave the only scoring chance in this match, but Matsuda cleared with his chest the header of Leandro Pereira who matched the cross from the right side. They did not allow Gamba to score the goal and endured to the end. The match ended 0-0 as it was. It was the 56th official match and the first scoreless draw to be settled in "Osaka Derby". However, the value of this one winning point is great for Cerezo. Cerezo have increased their points to "10", and have been confirmed to be within second place in the group. They made it to advance to the playoff stage. After the match, with a preface "It was regrettable that we ended up in a draw," Manager Kogiku said with a look of relief, "We could clear the objective to break through the group stage. That was a big achievement. I'm glad that the whole team won this right." Cerezo broke through the first barrier to the Levain Cup crown for the first time since 2017.