After a two days interval from the first round of the J.League YBC Levain Cup quarterfinals against Kawasaki Frontale. Cerezo Osaka challenged the "Kansai Derby" against Vissel Kobe in the Section 24 of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. In the third game of five consecutive official games in midsummer, in which the team's overall strength was tested, the starting lineup was changed for five players from the match against Kawasaki. Among them, Hikaru Nakahara played as a starter for the first time in 14 league games since the match against Kashima Antlers in Section 10.
It was a see-saw game at the beginning, but Cerezo started to take the lead as they gradually strengthened the intensity and stole the ball. In the 12th minute, Satoki Uejo entered in front of the goal, made a counter pass to Nakahara and had the first chance. In the 17th minute, Riki Harakawa was injured and replaced by an accident, but in the 22nd minute, they succeeded in scoring the opener. With an organized press from the front line, they locked on the Kobe’s build-up, and Jean Patric pressed hard against a back pass to the GK. From there, it caused GK’s kicking mistake, and Hiroaki Okuno cut it and passed it directly to Adam Taggart on the front line. Adam Taggart, who turned forward with exquisite trap, calmly scored a goal in two official games in a row. Cerezo, who got on the momentum, had another scoring chance immediately after that. Once again, they lured Kobe’s mistake again and made a counterattack and in the end, Nakahara matched Uejo's cross, but this was blocked by the GK.
After the water break in the first half as well, Cerezo kept on attacking and added a point in the 31st minute. Okuno directly passed the clearing ball of CK kicked by Suzuki to Suzuki. He received the ball, made sure that the opponent did not come close to him, then touched the ball to set the right position and shot with a clear aim. This shot was stabbed to the opposite side without spinning, and he scored his first goal after joining Cerezo, which was also his first J1 goal. In the 33rd minute, they broke through the left side and brought it to the scoring chance, but Nakahara's diving shot was blocked by a DF. Despite failing to score the third goal, Cerezo overwhelmed Kobe in the first half.
In the second half, Kobe had more time to take possession, but Cerezo also created chances one after another from counterattacks. In the 50th minute, Uejo pressed back and stole the ball, and Jean Patric brought it and shot. The ball that was repelled by the GK was about to be sucked into the goal, but it went slightly off the frame. In the 51st minute, Kakeru Funaki approached the goal by his header, and in the 53rd minute, Mutsuki Kato, who participated from the second half, reacted to Suzuki's pass, took the behind of the DF line and threw a loop shot, but unfortunately it went out of the frame. In the second half, Kobe had a scoring chance at the beginning and after the water break, but they did not allow Kobe to score with Kim Jin Hyeon’s good save and Funaki's hard returning defense. Then, in the 87th minute, they scored the third goal for good measure. After a quick start of FK, Kato headed a cross from Riku Matsuda and shook the net. The wave of blessing for the goal to celebrate his 25th birthday expanded.
Cerezo won the match 3-0. They won the three consecutive league games for the second time this season, and have moved up to 3rd place. After the match, while they were sharing the smiles centering on Suzuki, who scored his first J1 goal, and Kato, who scored his birthday goal, and the performance of the light “SAKURA NIGHT” was held, creating a magical scene where the entire stadium was covered with pink light. This section was held as "Yanmar #Football is our engine Supporting Match". The stadium with 18,240 people, the second largest spectator in the history of Yodoko Sakura Stadium, was filled with joy.