Review: Cerezo Osaka 1-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Emperor’s Cup QF)

Despite Adam Taggart’s opener, concedes two goals in the last minutes. Regrettable reversal defeat that lost the opportunity to obtain the title of Emperor’s Cup.

After a four days interval from Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 28 against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Cerezo Osaka challenged the quarter-finals of the Emperor's Cup with Sanfrecce Hiroshima. The starting line-up was changed for two players from the previous game. Riku Matsuda, who was in a suspension in the Sapporo match, returned to the right side back position, and Mutsuki Kato entered a corner of two FWs.

At the beginning, Cerezo had a pinch as Hiroshima broke through the left side, but they immediately fought back. In the 7th minute, Hiroaki Okuno boldly fired a shot from outside the penalty area, and in the 12th minute, Adam Taggart pressed and Kato, who cut the opponent's back pass, carried dribbling and shot. Also in the 14th minute, Tokuma Suzuki picked up the second ball from a CK and shot. Although they faced the block of Hiroshima’s DF, who had a solid central defense, they were able to bring it to the shots again and again. As time passed, Cerezo took the initiative and avoided the press of Hiroshima, using long and short passes including GK Kim Jin Hyeon. They made good starting points in the space of the middle range and beside the three back DFs and pushed into the opposition half. Then, in the 40th minute, they succeeded in prying open Hiroshima's defense. From Matsuda on the right side, Suzuki, Okuno, and Ryosuke Yamanaka connected passes at a good tempo and shook the opponents, and at the end, Adam Taggart ran into the right footed carving cross of Hirotaka Tameda, matched it with his header and shook the net. Cerezo scored the long-awaited opener in the first half when they controlled the match.

In the second half, Hiroshima strengthened their offense by making three substitutes from the start, but Cerezo also created opportunities from counterattacks. In the 51st minute, Kato had a chance to get behind the opponents from Tameda's pass, but his shot, which evaded the GK, had no angle and went out of the frame. Immediately after that, Adam Taggart hit the cross from Seiya Maikuma with his volley, but it flew to the side net and unfortunately did not become a goal. In the first half, they allowed Hiroshima to shoot only twice, but in the second half, Hiroshima made starting points on the side and attacked into the deep position. However, the defense team showed high concentration, bounced back the cross and set-pieces, and did not let Hiroshima make a scoring chance. In the 76th and 83rd minute, Manager Akio Kogiku substituted two players of the front lines for each. If there was a chance, they intended to go for the second goal, and at the same time, they tried to finish the game as it was. However, in the 86th minute, Hiroshima connected the passes from the second ball of CK, and Yoshifumi Kashiwa scored the tie goal. Moreover in the 90th + 1st minute, Takumu Kawamura scored with his header, and so Cerezo allowed Hiroshima a come-from-behind goal. The match ended as it was 1-2. The progress of the Emperor's Cup came to a halt in the quarter-finals.

The players fought hard competing for a ball, with the enthusiastic cheers from the supporters on the back. In order to pay the debts of two losses in the league game against Hiroshima this season, and also to obtain the title of the Emperor's Cup, they cornered the opponent with high concentration from the start of the match. That is why it was a shocking big defeat. They have lost three games in a row in official games, and they are facing a critical moment for this season, but they would like to somehow get back on their feet as a whole team and overcome this difficult situation.