Review: Urawa Reds 0-1 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD26)

Mutsuki Kato’s opener and an organised defense that works well. Firmly win by 1-0, and archives the consecutive victory.

After a three days interval from Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 29 against Sagan Tosu, that they won a dramatic victory. Cerezo Osaka boarded the away stadium and challenged the postponed J1 Section 26 with Urawa Reds. In September, the 4th game of 7 consecutive games. It was a tight schedule, but only one player was changed for the starting lineup from the Tosu match. Adam Taggart was out, and Hiroto Yamada played the starter for the first time in five league games.

At the beginning, Tokuma Suzuki caught the ball in the middle range and it was passed over to Mutsuki Kato and Yamada, and he almost got a chance. After that, in the 9th minute, Kato received a foul and got a FK. Also in the 13th minute, as Kato received a throw-in, dribbled and brought it to a shot, Cerezo showed a good entry of the game. Against Urawa, who kept possession, the first DF turned on the defensive switch and others responded with a compact [4-4-2] position linked together. They also succeeded in limiting Urawa's build-up and erasing the space where the opponents could attack. Then, in the 24th minute, they scored the opening goal that moved the game. When Suzuki quickly started a FK that he got for his being pushed down, Hirotaka Tameda dribbled and crossed to the far side with his right foot outside. Kato, who “believed and ran in”, directly matched it and shook the net.

Cerezo scored the opener with a brilliant counter attack that took advantage of Urawa's momentary carelessness, and had another scoring chance following two minutes later. This time, Seiya Maikuma pressed and Hiroaki Okuno stole the ball, and the pass was connected to Yamada and Maikuma, and Kato made a shot again from Maikuma’s cross. However, unfortunately it went over the crossbar here. In the first half, Cerezo allowed Urawa to shot only once from a set-piece, and finished the first half with a lead.

At the start of the second half, Urawa changed three players at once. With the main players David Moberg and Hiroki Sakai coming in, Cerezo were pushed further down the block positions and turned to be on the defensive. Even so, they firmly tightened the defense inside and kept the ball away to the outside, Matej Jonic and Koji Toriumi firmly bounced the cross that entered from there. In the beginning of the second half, they gave CKs in quick succession, but there they kept the high concentration, and Yamada and Maikuma also worked hard to clear. They did not let Urawa compete in a good shape. In the 57th minute, Hiroshi Kiyotake entered the pitch in place of Yamada. After the match, the uniform number 10 said, “I was conscious of that, if we push up the line we all do entirely, seeing the situation, but if not, I kick the ball the behind of the opponents and make a block.” From here Cerezo controlled the match carefully and delicately, making use of the reflection of the match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in Section 27 of J1, which they rushed to go forward vertically with loosening the defensive line and conceded many goals from the counterattack.

In the second half, they were unable to shoot in the flow, except for one shot by Bruno Mendes in the additional time, but restrained Urawa’s shot only by three. In the end, They allowed Urawa 4 shots with no scoring chance. As the commander summed it up, “Although there was a long time that Urawa kept possession, I think we were able to control the game through defense,” the defense that linked from the front line worked to the end, and they won by 1-0.

Cerezo, who have won two consecutive league games, overtook Kashima Antlers and moved up to 4th place. They have risen to the position where the top 3, which is the target, can be seen again. The next game is against Jubilo Iwata at away stadium again in three days. The condition of the players is concerning, but they aim for three consecutive wins with the whole team's strength.