Review: Cerezo Osaka 2-2 Yokohama F. Marinos (J1 MD21)

Despite the best flow with 2 points lead from the right command, conceding 2 goals in the last minutes. A regrettable draw, but shows growth from the opening section.

This section was the last of the three consecutive battles with the "Top 3". Cerezo Osaka received Yokohama F. Marinos, the leader to the home, and challenged the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 21. This section was held as the supporting match of Nipponham Group under the name of "CEREVOLUTION", and before the match, "Fighters Girl" from the professional baseball team Hokkaido Nipponham Fighters appeared as a special guest. The game started in a different atmosphere, such as the "fox dance" being performed. The starting lineup was changed from the previous match against Kashima Antlers for four players. Riki Harakawa and Ryosuke Yamanaka returned, and Mutsuki Kato, who scored the goal in the previous section, and Satoki Uejo, who also assisted in the previous section, formed the two FWs. For Uejo, he was the first starter in the league match after joining.

Yokohama FM aggressively tried to go forward attacking, from the beginning. In the 6th minute, Leo Ceara seemed to score from Kota Mizunuma's cross, but there was no goal due to the offside. After that, Yokohama FM also took possession, but Cerezo managed it keeping the compact formation of [4-4-2]. In the first half, they proceeded the match without allowing Yokohama FM to throw a shot on target, and then in the 31st minute, they took advantage of one chance and succeeded in scoring the opener. To the pass of Yokohama FM from CB to the anchor, Uejo approached and cut it. He quickly connected a pass to Kato, and Kato carried it dribbling and shot. He dynamically shook the net from outside of the penalty area. Cerezo gained momentum, and Yamanaka aimed for the middle shot goal with a blurred ball in the 36th minute. In the 38th minute, they had a pinch because the side was broken through, but Hiroaki Okuno returned and cleared. They succeeded in finishing the first half with a one-point lead.

In the second half as well, Yokohama FM took possession from the start, but the first scoring chance came to Cerezo. In the 48th minute, Harakawa stole the ball in the middle range and Hirotaka Tameda dribbled. He threw a shot from the cut-in, but it was slightly out of the frame. In the 59th minute, Manager Akio Kogiku substituted three players. In place of Kato, Uejo, and Tameda, who ran well from the start to offense and defense, he threw Bruno Mendes, Adam Taggart, and Jean Patric in. He sent the posture of farther attacking to the pitch, and this command was right. In the 63rd minute, from a throw-in that they got in the opposition half, Bruno Mendes made a starting point, and Seiya Maikuma dropped and held the cross from Jean Patric, who were in support, and Adam Taggart calmly scored.

The stadium got excited for the goal that the attacking four players, three players to participate from the middle and Maikuma, were involved to break the defense completely and obtained. In the 67th minute, Bruno Mendes headed to Jean Patric's cross and made a scene to score almost the third point, but it flew in front of the GK. Cerezo had a perfect grasp of the flow of the game, but accidents occurred one after another from here. In the 76th minute, Adam Taggart, who scored the second goal, was injured and replaced, and in the 79th minute, Yamanaka pushed an opponent to the ground in the penalty area and gave a PK. He also left the pitch for a red card. Even after this penalty was scored by Leo Ceara, Yokohama FM continued to attack, and Cerezo corresponded to it with [4-4-1] leaving Bruno Mendes as an only FW. They advanced the hands of the clock to try to run away, but in the additional time in the second half, Leo Ceara scored again from the cross from the side and tied the score. The match ended 2-2 as it was, and they missed two winning points. Against Yokohama FM, since the prepared tactics for both offensive and defensive fit well, and they were showing the best development of the match until the halfway through, many players said "regret" after the game, but they firmly showed the growth on the pitch from the opening section.

The three consecutive battles with the "Top 3" ended without losing 1 win and 2 draws. "There were a lot of positive aspects. Especially, it is a plus to be able to fulfill the offensive and defensive role no matter which player appears. However, (the challenge) is the game control. As in the previous section, when the opponent makes a pressure, (we need) the power to handle it. With making use of the opponent’s power, bring the ball forward, score the additional points, and control the game. When we can grow into such a team, I think we can move forward again," said Manager Kogiku. Since they were one step closer to victory in the previous section and this section, we had the chance to win the best result of three consecutive victories, but we also got a lot of harvest. From here, the Emperor's Cup round 16 with Nagoya Grampus will be held after a two days interval, and the "Osaka Derby" in the league match will be also held after another two days interval. They would like to continue to grow from the high competition within the team.