Review: Cerezo Osaka 0-3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (J1 MD27)

Despite aggressive attacking from the beginning, the goal was far away, conceding 3 goals. A regrettable defeat instead of revenge for the away game.

It was Section 27 of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League, they received Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who had won three league games in a row, at home. Cerezo Osaka played their first official match in 17 days since the J.League YBC Levain Cup quarter-final leg 2. Hiroshi Kiyotake and Bruno Mendes returned to the bench. They started the game in the system of [4-4-2] with two FWs of Mutsuki Kato and Satoki Uejo as starters.

From the beginning, Cerezo strengthened their awareness of pressing, centered on the two FWs, and entered the opposition half. In the 6th minute, Tokuma Suzuki picked up the second ball from a FK and threw the first shot in this game, and in the 9th minute, Kato who took the back of the opponent from Ryosuke Yamanaka’s pass made a shot. In the 13th minute, Hirotaka Tameda cut in dribbling from a counterattack and although it was slightly out of the frame, he fired a close shot. In the early stages, they offended hard with quick attacks from the press and slow attacks from behind, but after the water break, they conceded a goal on the first shot they allowed to Hiroshima. After a fierce scramble for the ball in the middle of the field, the ball spilled over to Hiroshima, and Hiroshima made the starting point in the center and developed to the side. From the cross of the left wing back Yoshifumi Kashiwa, the right wing back Yusuke Chajima jumped in on the far side and scored with his header. However, Cerezo fought back without being discouraged. In the 28th minute, Kato got a chance after receiving a through ball from Tokuma Suzuki, and immediately after that, Seiya Maikuma stole the ball at the high position. Kato was about to come out to Uejo's pass again, but he was blocked by DF. Even so, Cerezo picked up a clearing and Tameda matched a cross from Riku Matsuda with a volley, but the shot was blocked by GK Keisuke Osako. Also in the 37th minute, Tameda ran into Matsuda's cross and fired a header, but it flew right in front of the GK. In terms of content, Cerezo pushed the game forward, but they were unable to break through Hiroshima's defense and ended the first half with a one-goal behind.

At the start of the second half, Yamanaka took the ball at the high position and passed it quickly to the front line. Maikuma, who ran there, seemed to have been pushed down by the opponent's DF in the penalty area, but it was judged no foul. Then immediately after that, Cerezo was in a big pinch, but Ryuya Nishio cleared the opponent's shot in front of the goal line. They managed to prevent the second goal, but in the second half, it was a difficult development where Hiroshima controlled the game. They took possession, but they were not able to put the ball in effectively, and crosses from the sides were bounced back, and they were unable to bring it to shots as expected. In the 63rd minute, Manager Akio Kogiku substituted three offensive players at once. In the 75th minute, Kiyotake, who had just returned from his injury, and Bruno Mendes were sent to the pitch to strengthen their attacking-forward stance. Even so, while they were struggling to turn over the situation, in the 81st minute, the opponent picked up Cerezo's misaligned pass exchange at a high position and they received a counter. At the end, GK Kim Jin Hyeon blocked the shot of Makoto Mitsuta, but the loose ball was scored by Taishi Matsumoto. In the additional time of the second half, Bruno Mendes had a chance from Sota Kitano's keep, but the shot was blocked by the DF. Then they conceded the third goal just before the end. It was the first defeat in 13 official games, and 8 league matches. It was also a regrettable result not to score any goals since Section 13 against Nagoya Grampus. However, “There were also good points as a team, and so I’m positive (about the contents). We are going to fix the problem, share it with all members once again and play making sure that we can win the next Emperor's Cup," said Manager Kogiku after the match. Kiyotake, who was in his comeback match, also looked forward, saying, "The best thing is to believe in what we are doing and keep doing it. I think it is important to keep doing it consistently." After the next league match against Consadole Sapporo at away stadium, they will fight again with Hiroshima in the quarterfinals of the Emperor's Cup. "We cannot lose three games in a row. We will play with a fresh mind once again," said Kiyotake. In a one-shot tournament match, they want to achieve "Overthrow Hiroshima" next time.