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Review: Shonan Bellmare 0-2 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD14)

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Leo Ceara’s opener and Satoki Uejo’s additional goal. Achieved the second consecutive win of the season with a solid defensive play.

This section was an away game in a row. Cerezo Osaka faced Shonan Bellmare in Section 14 of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League, aiming for their second consecutive win of the season. The starting lineup was the same 11 players as the previous section against Kyoto Sanga F.C.. Satoki Uejo returned to the bench after his suspension.

Continuing from the previous section, they set a [4-4-2] system, and from the beginning, they clearly showed the intention to aim for the back of the opponent’s high defensive line as Ryosuke Yamanaka sent the pass that made two FWs run to the behind the opponents, from Kim Jin Hyeon as a starting point. The first chance came in the 8th minute. Ryosuke Shindo sent a long pass to Mutsuki Kato, and Jordy Croux reacted to the loose ball and fed it to Shinji Kagawa, and then he developed it for Yamanaka. It was Leo Ceara who jumped into Yamanaka's left-footed cross. He stretched his legs in front of the GK and his shot shook the net, but the goal was not recognized due to a slight offside. In the 21st minute, Seiya Maikuma competed for a long ball from Kim Jin Hyeon, and Jordy Croux, who picked up the loose ball, connected a pass to Leo Ceara, and the uniform number 9 boldly made a mid-range shot. In the first half, they were on the leeward side, but they dominated the game with the attack that they simply kicked the ball into the space behind them and picked up the second ball to gain the thickness of offense. However, after the 25th minute onwards, they made a series of mistakes in build-up, and even received a counter-attack from Shonan. In the 29th minute, they were shaken from left to right and a sharp cross was thrown in, but GK Kim Jin Hyeon managed to punch it and escaped from the pinch. Cerezo faced a series of pinches just before the end of the first half, but they defended with body, centering on Koji Toriumi and Shindo, and prevented conceding a goal. The first half ended 0-0.

In the second half, when Cerezo were on the side of windward, Maikuma took a higher position, and they created a starting point on the right side and used more men for the attack. Then, in the 53rd minute, they succeeded in scoring the opener. Kim Jin Hyeon did not miss to see the move of Jordy Croux, who started to run to the vacant space on the right side, and delivered the accurate feed, and Jordy Croux captured it with a splendid trap and deployed to the opposite side. Kagawa, Maikuma, and Hiroaki Okuno connected the passes, and Okuno sent it to the left side, then Yamanaka received it without a mark and sent an accurate cross. And here, it was Leo Ceara who jumped into it on the far side. Cerezo moved the score with a uniform number 9’s sixth goal of the season. In this scene, they could show the thick attack, as six players entered the penalty area. Cerezo gained momentum and shook the goal net from a FK in the 63rd minute. Again, Yamanaka's cross was met by Mainkuma, but the assistant referee's flag was raised. The VAR check did not make the decision change, and unfortunately it was not an additional point.

Then, in the 68th minute, Cerezo faced the biggest pinch of the match, but Kim Jin Hyeon made a super save from a close-range shot with his left hand. With a big save of the guardian deity, who had continued to play steadily in these past games, they did not allow the tie goal to the opponents, and the flow of the game returned to Cerezo again. In the 72nd minute, Capixaba and Uejo were brought in to activate the front line, and in the 87th minute, Ryuya Nishio was sent in, and they changed the system to [5-4-1]. Cerezo made the intention clear, which they close the game defending, while aiming to “deliberately pull the opponents in and make a counterattack” (manager Akio Kogiku), and in the 89th minute, they scored the second goal that decided the match. Against Shonan's build-up, Capixaba cut the vertical pass-course, and Okuno stole the ball with a targeted press, and immediately sent a gentle pass to the back. Uejo, who turned forward well with his first touch, calmly faced one-on-one with the GK and scored.

Regarding the way they fought in the final stages, Kagawa said, "We were able to set the defensive line higher than that of the match against Kyoto. If we were able to do that kind of battle, it would naturally lead to offense. We could see the improvement on that point.” “Since we had meetings and practices this week to think about how to apply defensive pressure and the balance of the team, I am glad that we were able to get results through the match,” said Okuno, who ran until the end and provided the assist, with a satisfied expression. Cerezo showed tenacity in defense, as well as the ability to take advantage of chances. It was the second consecutive victory of the season, and the first victory of the season with two points difference, showing signs of further improvement from here. In the next section they will host Yokohama FC at home, after the Levain Cup. They aim for a higher rank with the first three consecutive wins this season.

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