Review: Oita Trinita 3-3 Cerezo Osaka (Levain Cup Group Stage MD6)

Attackers shook the net one after another, and got 1 winning point, with some tasks on defense though. Broke through the group stage in 2nd place.

Section 6, the final section of the J.League YBC Levain Cup group stage. Cerezo Osaka, who had accumulated 10 winning points with 3 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, had been determined to be second or higher place in Group A. They had already confirmed to break through the group stage, but they boarded Oita Trinita's home in order to achieve “our original goal of 12 winning points'' (Manager Akio Kogiku). As the next section of the league match is coming up in the middle of the 2nd, the starting lineup was changed by 10 players from the latest league match. Tatsuya Yamashita and Hinata Kida made their first appearance this season.

In the 4th minute of the start, Mutsuki Kato pressed closer and cut the pass from the opponent GK to the anchor. He quickly made a long loop shot from the steal, and it fit into the net, so Cerezo succeeded in scoring the opener. Immediately after, in the 5th minute, Sota Kitano stole the ball with the press, and Kitano shot from Kato's pass. This scene was also decisive, but it was cleared by the DF just before entering the goal.

Cerezo showed the good entry of the game because the aimed press from the high position worked well, but gradually the press was taken off by Oita and there were scenes where the ball was carried to the deep position. In the 22nd minute, after they conceded a goal from a cross, they had the time to be pushed in by Oita's attack for a while. Although Oita had the scoring chances again and again, they blocked with some good saves by GK Keisuke Shimizu, but Oita pushed the ball into the goal from the melee of the CK in the additional time in the first half, and they finished the first half with the reversed score.

The second half, that the modification was required. Manager Kogiku put Kosei Okazawa in the anchor instead of Tokuma Suzuki. In addition, in the scene where they possessed the ball, Koji Toriumi, who was playing in the right side back from the beginning, took more inside position and formed three backs with Tatsuya Yamashita and Kakeru Funaki. Yusuke Maruhashi was placed in the higher position, and the front line approached the goal with Kato, Kitano, and Hirotaka Tameda in the form of 1 top FW and 2 shadows. Cerezo had an improved sense of distance when attacking. They connected the passes through Toriumi, Okazawa, Kato, and Okazawa, and Kitano, who received Okazawa's pass, dribbled past the opponent’s DF and made a one-on-one with the GK. The shot hit the GK, but Tameda picked up a bounce and made a skillful loop shot to the near side, and Cerezo caught up with the tie.

After that, Kato took the back of the opponent and made a chance, and they succeeded in reversing in the 60th minute. Kato held the goal kick from GK Shimizu and fed it to Hikaru Nakahara, and Okazawa, who came out to the space on the right side, matched Nakahara’s pass and sent an accurate cross to the center. Kitano who jumped in made a direct match and shook the net.

In the second half, Cerezo expressed the aim of "moving forward firmly based on anchor. Moving forward with a good sense of distance and counter-pressing. Even if the ball is stolen, retrieving at a high position" (Manager Kogiku). They were caught up to the tie again in the 77th minute, and so they were not able to take the victory, but under the tough schedule, they added 1 winning point with the power of all the teams and broke through the group stage with 11 points in 2nd place. Shonan Bellmare has been decided as the opponent for the playoff stage to be held on the 4th and 11th of next month. "We want to have a sense of unity as a team and work together in high competition," said Manager Kogiku. To the next goal, they have already started to see it.