Review: Vegalta Sendai 2-3 Cerezo Osaka (Emperor’s Cup 3rd Round)

Jean Patric's first goal is the final point. Win a come-from-behind victory and advance to the Emperor's Cup Round 16.


After a three days interval from Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 17 against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Cerezo Osaka faced the third round of the Emperor's Cup with Vegalta Sendai. Due to the schedule between the league games, 6 starting members were changed from the Hiroshima game. Among them, the vertical line of Matej Jonic, Koji Toriumi, Hiroaki Okuno, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Bruno Mendes was kept as starters from the league match.

Cerezo entered the game with the enthusiasm that “We want to aggressively press, steal the ball at high position and aim for scoring the opener, not being passive” (Keisuke Shimizu), but Sendai took possession at the beginning. In defense, while they were struggling to adapt to the build-up of Sendai, they conceded a goal in the 6th minute. Shimizu blocked the shot once, but the opponents picked up the bounce and scored. Another pinch came in the 14th minute. Chihiro Kato, who scored the first goal, broke through the left side and shot in the decisive form, but this hit the post directly. They managed to prevent the second goal, and immediately after that, Cerezo got a scoring chance. Kakeru Funaki and Jean Patric broke the left side and fed a cross to the inside. Okuno, who received Hikaru Nakahara's pass, shot but it flew slightly out of the frame.

From here, Cerezo, centering on Kiyotake, increased the time to take possession and regained the initiative, then the press from the front began to work and they pushed Sendai. Then, in the 31st minute, they caught up to the tie from FK. Bruno Mendes matched Kiyotake's kick on the near side. He successfully headed it in and scored. As Nakahara threw a powerful shot from the cut-in in the 33rd minute, Cerezo continued to attack, and in the 42nd minute scored from the set piece again. Bruno Mendes competed for Nakahara's kick in the near side, and Matej Jonic kicked the loose ball and succeeded in reversing.

In the second half, it was Cerezo who moved the score first. In the 50th minute, Okuno stole the ball in the middle range and launched a short counter, Bruno Mendes dribbled and sent a through pass to Jean Patric, who was running behind. Jean Patric, who became one-on-one with the GK, calmly scored, and Cerezo widened the lead.

Cerezo made a decisive scene also in the 57th minute, but Nakahara's shot unfortunately went over the crossbar, and then they conceded a goal in the 62nd minute. The point difference became 1 point again. From here, both teams substituted the players, carried the game with keeping the intensity and created opportunities for each other. In Cerezo, while Hirotaka Tameda broke through the left side and brought it closer to the scoring chance, in the 78th minute Sendai made a scoring chance from a cross from the side. But here, Shimizu made a big save for the header from a close distance and did not allow another goal. At the end of the game, Cerezo received Sendai’s onslaught, but all players on the pitch defended with all might and the time was up without allowing a tie. They won 3-2 and decided to advance to the Emperor's Cup Round 16.

Six consecutive wins in the official match had stopped in the latest match against Hiroshima. Since they had lost for the first time in eight official games, it was a big win in the following game, this match. Players who have few chances to participate in league games also played and won, which helped raise the level of the team. The next official match will be the J1 League Section 18 against Shimizu S-Pulse after a three days interval. After two away games in a row, they return home and aim to win the official game in a row.