Review: FC Tokyo 1-2 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD8)
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Review: FC Tokyo 1-2 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD8)

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Hiroaki Okuno’s excellent two goals. Break through the weak point, and grab a big victory to keep up with the tops.

After a five-day interval from the previous section, in which they lost to Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Cerezo Osaka entered the away stadium and faced the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 8 with FC Tokyo. Two starting lineups were changed. Seiya Maikuma returned for the first time in two games, and Riki Harakawa played as the starter for the first time since Section 2 of the league match against Avispa Fukuoka and entered the anchor position. Hirotaka Tameda, who injured his left shoulder in the previous section, was absent. Capixaba entered the left wing.

At the beginning, Cerezo received the attack from FC Tokyo. FC Tokyo took possession for a long time, but they did not allow the shots. In the last two official games that they lost in a row, they conceded a goal early in the game which made the match difficult. In this section, the defense, which was well-balanced between pressing and setting, worked well. They made a correction from the game against Sapporo, where they vacated the back line by going to press too forward. In offense, there was an accident in which Capixaba got injured in the 9th minute, but Jordy Croux, who was sent in as a substitute, entered the match calmly. In the 24th minute, they had a scoring chance from a short counterattack. Harakawa stole the ball at a high position, and Shinji Kagawa made a through pass to Leo Ceara on the front line. However, the shot was prevented by the returning DF. In the 41st minute, 19-year-old Kuryu Matsuki hit a mid-range shot to a tight course, but here GK Kim Jin Hyeon made a good save with a sharp reaction. In the 43rd minute, this time, Kim Jin Hyeon kicked the ball to the front line, Maikuma competed for it, Kagawa picked up the loose ball and connected a pass to Riku Matsuda, and then finally Leo Ceara made a shot again, but it was out of the frame.

The first half ended with a good performance, with defense functioning well and creating chances from counterattacks. In the second half, the game aggressively moved. It was Cerezo who got the first chance. In the 47th minute, Leo Ceara competed for a ball on the front line, and it was connected to Matsuda and Kagawa. And then Jordy Croux, who received Kagawa’s exquisite last pass, shot with his left foot, aiming for a narrow course on the near side, but GK Jakub Slowik blocked with his good reaction. In the second half, the see-saw game developed, and in the 52nd minute Ryoma Watanabe of FC Tokyo and in the 57th minute Kagawa approached the goal, and the score moved in the 59th minute. From the FK that was given due to Leo Ceara’s being fallen, the kicker Ryosuke Yamanaka fed a sharp cross to the near side. It was Hiroaki Okuno who jumped into it. He reacted to it well with his left foot and shook the net. However, in the 68th minute, while they were struggling to steal the ball at a high position after attacking in, they conceded a goal from a counterattack. At the end, Watanabe scored a stunning volley shot. Even so, "we did not get discouraged" (Koji Toriumi), and all aimed for the winning goal, and then in the 84th minute, Okuno succeeded in taking the lead again with his second goal of the day. They connected passes from Kim Jin Hyeon to Harakawa, Hikaru Nakahara, Kagawa, Yamanaka, and finally Satoki Uejo, who took the back of the opponent DF, sent a negative returning pass to Okuno, and he successfully poured it into a goal.

From here it was about 10 minutes including additional time in the second half. Cerezo cleverly used their time to close out the match and ended the match without giving FC Tokyo a chance. Including the penetration of a new style and aiming for higher rank, they won the match that will be a "turning point for this season" (Manager Akio Kogiku). Okuno, who scored two outstanding goals, looked back with a fulfilling expression, "Since we lost the Levain Cup and the league in a regrettable way, we just really wanted to win as a team. It is so important that we were able to win that match." They succeeded in increasing the number of the wins of the league to the half-half again, in the match of the weak point, which is the away game against FC Tokyo, that they had been not able to win in recent years. In the Levain Cup that continues from here and the remaining two league games in April, they want to aim for even upper rank.

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