Review: Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Shonan Bellmare (J1 MD31)

Drama at the end. Despite scoring the opener by Jean Patrick’s PK, concedes an own goal. A regrettable draw.

After a five days interval from Leg 2 of the J. League YBC Levain Cup semi-final against Urawa Reds. Back to the league match, Cerezo Osaka challenged the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 31 against Shonan Bellmare. For starters, one player changed from the match against Urawa. Mutsuji Kato was replaced by Adam Taggart, who returned from the Australian national team, and entered the one of two FWs.

It was Cerezo who took the initiative by increasing possession time from the start. In the 13th minute, Riku Matsuda made a big move to the opposite side. Ryosuke Yamanaka's cross was met by Adam Taggart on the far side with a header. However, from here on, they struggled to bring the ball to the shot. Against Shonan who solidified the defense with a [5-3-2], Cerezo could dodge the press on the first row, but since the center was closed and the space on the side was filled by Shonan, they were unable to move the ball forward. Under such circumstances, it was behind DF that they found as a way out. GK Kim Jin Hyeon tried several long passes to the back of the opponents to make some chances, and in the 44th minute, Satoki Uejo, who took behind the right side opponent from Matsuda's pass, dribbled in and crossed into the center. The clearing ball of the opponent DF shook the net and it seemed he invited Shonan's own goal, but it was offside judgement for Uejo and the goal was not recognised. In defense, They did not allow Shonan to make a shot on target in the first half, and the score was 0-0.

Manager Akio Kogiku replaced Uejo and Hirotaka Tameda with Sota Kitano and Jean Patric at the start of the second half to break the deadlock. Then, this change worked and they pushed from the left side. In the 48th minute, Kitano received a pass from Yamanaka and kept it. Jean Patric, who came in for support, fed a cross and Matsuda jumped in it on the far side. In the 60th minute, this time on the contrary, Jean Patric received a laser pass from Matsuda, dribbled it and sent a cross. They threatened the Shonan goal. In the 62nd minute, Hikaru Nakahara came on in place of Seiya Maikuma, creating a starting point on the right side, and created a chance to live up to expectations. In the 80th and 85th minutes, Nakahara's passes gave Kitano chances, but the former was blocked by Japan national team GK Kosei Tani, and the latter went over the crossbar. In the second half, the players who came in as substitutes activated the game. Cerezo pulled the momentum, but they also gave the chance to Shuto Machino, who was substituted and who is also one of members of the Japanese national team from Shonan. However, in this scene in the 75th minute, GK Kim Jin Hyeon made a big save. They did not give the flow to Shonan.

For both teams, with the well-organized defenses and the good defense of their GKs, the game proceeded as scoreless but made a drama in the last minutes. In the 89th minute, when Kato showed his tenacity for the ball in front of the opponent's goal, he was stepped on by a DF and earned a penalty kick. This was scored calmly by Jean Patric and Cerezo took the lead at the last minute. Although it seemed they would win as it was, they conceded a goal almost in the last play. After they gave a FK to Shonan in front of the goal of their own half, Kato was unable to clear a sharp and fast kick from Hiroyuki Abe and scored an own goal. They lost the opportunity of 3 winning points. Kicking off at 14:00, both teams continued to fight until the very end, with some players getting cramps in the unseasonably hot weather. Considering how the game unfolded, Cerezo missed two winning points, but the efforts of the starting players and the success of the good entry of the game by the substitutes are good elements for the future. The team will continue to fight together for the remaining four league games and the Levain Cup final.