Review: Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Shimizu S-Pulse (J1 MD18)

The start of the second half of the league. Despite conceding an opener goal, it ended in a tie with Kakeru Funaki's first J1 goal. Accumulate 1 winning point.


The Meiji Yasuda J1 League has entered the second half of the season from this section. Cerezo Osaka received Shimizu S-Pulse to their home and challenged Section 18 of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. The starting lineup was changed by one player from the previous section. Tokuma Suzuki entered the anchor instead of Riki Harakawa. Ryuya Nishio was appointed to the left side back, which lacked Ryosuke Yamanaka, following the previous section.

Cerezo took possession from the beginning and went on the offensive. In the 5th minute, Hirotaka Tameda threw the first shot, and in the 10th minute, Matej Jonic headed from Hiroshi Kiyotake's CK. Even in the defense, they stole the ball at a high position and showed a good entry, but an accident occurred in the 14th minute. Shimizu's player tackled Kiyotake, who prevented Shimizu's CK in defense and picked up the second ball and carried it by dribbling. Kiyotake injured his left ankle and was forced to be substituted. From here, Cerezo could not reach shooting easily. In the 35th minute, the clearing ball of Matej Jonic, who entered the cover on the near side for the cross from the right side, directly entered the goal. They gave an own goal as the opener. Immediately after, Tameda sent a pass to Seiya Maikuma, and Mutsuki Kato had a scoring chance from Maikuma’s return, but his shot could not catch the frame.

Cerezo chasing one point sent Kakeru Funaki in the left side back from the beginning of the second half. They carried the game in the opposition half from the beginning, and in the 52nd minute, Bruno Mendes headed Maikuma’s cross on the near side. Also in the 61st minute, Bruno Mendes made a starting point on the left side from Funaki's pass, and Riku Matsuda shot on the far side to cross from Tameda's breakthrough. Aiming for the goal centered on the crosses from both sides, the scoring chance came in the 64th minute. Kato successfully headed for Funaki's cross, but it was blocked by Japan national team GK Shuichi Gonda. Also in the 73rd minute, Kato trapped and shot from Suzuki's vertical pass. This was also a decisive form, but it was again blocked by Gonda's good save.

Cerezo overwhelmingly took possession and attacked. In the 76th minute, they finally scored a goal. Funaki headed to Suzuki's CK and shook the net. For Funaki, happily this was his first goal in J1. After scoring, he showed a fist pump from the bottom of his heart and was blessed by his teammates. Cerezo attacked to the end while the atmosphere of the stadium got more excited with the mood of reversal. Shimizu made a chance once in the 87th minute, but the shot went over the crossbar and Cerezo did not allow the opponents to win. At the end of the game, Hikaru Nakahara, who participated in the middle, entered vertically and cut-in to the center. They got CKs in quick succession, but did not score another goal. The match ended 1-1 as it was. They obtained only one winning point at the first match of the second half of the season.

It was a painful draw to aim for the top, but in spite of the accidents in the first half like the injury of Captain Kiyotake and the own goal, getting one winning point has a big value. "In a game where the overall strength of the team was questioned, we continued to attack until the tie and a little more reversal. I am proud of the players. I think we played a game which could make us feel “The direction we are aiming for is not wrong".” As Manager Akio Kogiku looked back, the plays that the players showed in this match were something touchy. In the next section, they will receive Kawasaki Frontale, who is in 3rd place, at home. It is a tough situation where the player gets injured one after another, but “at such times, let’s unite as a whole team” (Manager Kogiku) and challenge the Kawasaki match.