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Review: Cerezo Osaka 0-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (J1 MD10)

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Despite recovering from the inferiority in the first half, concede a goal at the end. A regrettable defeat without three consecutive wins.

The Section 10 of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League against Sanfrecce Hiroshima at home, aiming for three consecutive wins. Cerezo Osaka's starters were the same as the previous 11 players. With a lineup that can be said to be the "best" of the current season, they challenged their bad opponent, who they faced four times last season and could not win even once.

How can they get past Hiroshima's strong press and carry the ball forward? Even though Manager Akio Kogiku pointed it out before the match, Cerezo struggled with the build-up. Against Hiroshima, who made a pressure from the beginning, they were forced to be pinned in their own half for a while, and in the 7th minute, they had a first pinch of conceding. However, nothing happened here with GK Kim Jin Hyeon's good save and the opponent's shot mistake. In the 10th minute, a sharp header was thrown from a CK, but Kim Jin Hyeon again made a great save. Then, in the 15th minute, Cerezo, who had been in a defensive, also got a scoring chance. Leo Ceara became a starting point and developed to the right side, connecting with Seiya Maikuma and Riku Matsuda, and then Hirotaka Tameda made a header from Shinji Kagawa’s cross at the end. He successfully twisted his body to make the ball into the frame, but it was blocked by Hiroshima’s GK Keisuke Osako.

Cerezo were unable to handle Hiroshima's pressure well and were pushed into their own half at the beginning of the match, but after the 25th minute, they gradually began to exchange passes well. Even so, when they were running behind Hiroshima's pass-work that was coming more and more forward, then in the 32nd minute, Takumu Kawamura dribbled from the front of the penalty area and made a decisive shot. But here again, Kim Jin Hyeon stood in his way and did not allow a goal. It was a tough first half, with the team spending almost all of the 45 minutes in their own half, but thanks to the efforts of the guardian deity and DFs, they managed to finish the first half with the score 0-0.

After this kind of development, the rhythm of the game naturally changed. In the second half, against Hiroshima, whose intensity dropped a little, there were more scenes where Cerezo received the ball in the middle range and attacked more in front. Kagawa struggled with the opponent's marks in the first half, but in the second half he began to hold the ball toward forward, and then in the 51st minute, Leo Ceara fired a mid-range shot from Kagawa’s starting point. In the 55th minute as well, Leo Ceara headed for the goal from a through pass of Kagawa. In the 58th minute, when the scent of a goal gradually wafted through the stadium, Cerezo's biggest chance of this match came. From the flow of the throw-in, they broke through the right side connecting passes, and finally Leo Ceara made a through from Hiroaki Okuno’s pass, and the ball reached Tameda on the other side. It was a situation where he would have just pushed in, but Tameda, who saw GK Osako's position change, chose to pass to Leo Ceara. Leo Ceara, who was closed by the GK, was unable to take a shot and they were unable to make the most of the opportunity.

Cerezo made adjustments from the overwhelmed first half, and recovered to the even developments in the second half. In the 71st minute, Mutsuki Kato replaced Tameda and continued to play on the left wing. Expectations were high for the uniform number 20, who had a special feeling for the match against Hiroshima, but he was not able to receive the pass, seeing forward, nor make scenes to go for a goal raising the gear up at once. Hiroshima also sent the powerful substitutes, who had been on the bench, one after another, but Cerezo's defense team, especially CBs Matej Jonic and Koji Toriumi, kept their concentration until the end to repel the opponent's attacks. The match went into additional time in the second half. It was the time slot, when Hiroshima scored many times in the last season, and Cerezo wanted to overcome the past and get even one winning point. However, in the 90th + 3rd minute, the left side was broken through and they conceded a goal. The defensive team, who had worked so hard until then, collapsed in the end. Despite this, Cerezo did not give up and aimed for a tie, but the time ran out soon after. Both the content and the result were regrettable results that once again fell behind Hiroshima. In May, the series of battles continues due to the GW. The next section, which will be held after a three-day interval, is the Osaka derby against Gamba Osaka. “After winning the derby last year, the team had grown rapidly. It will be a big game that has an influence on the future”, said Manager Kogiku. They fully recover their body and mind, aim only for victory, and enter the away ground.

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