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Review: FC Tokyo 0-0 Cerezo Osaka (Levain Cup GS 5th Sec.)

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Despite the regrettable draw that the quality of the content did not lead to a win, they succeed in raising the bottom level leading to a league match.

After a three-day interval from the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 14 match against Shonan Bellmare, Cerezo Osaka challenged the J.League YBC Levain Cup Section 5 of the group stage against FC Tokyo at away stadium. The starters were changed for nine players from the match against Shonan. As Manager Akio Kogiku said, on the day before the match, “We are going to win with energetic players," the fresh players who were hungry for the match were lined up. For GK Yang Han Been, this was the J.League debut match.

In the first half, Cerezo dominated the game. Against FC Tokyo, whose defensive line was low, they moved the ball lightly and entered the opposition half. In the 8th minute, Capixaba made a starting point on the left side from Tokuma Suzuki’s side change, and Kakeru Funaki overtook Capixaba and created a chance. In the 9th minute, Ryosuke Shindo competed for the CK obtained here and approached a goal. In the 24th minute, Riku Matsuda boldly made a side change to the left side, Capixaba dropped the ball with his header, and then Funaki innerlapped. Funaki directly entered vertically and brought it to the shot. In this match, Capixaba, who threatened the opponent with his outstanding sharpness of move, created another scoring chance in the 31st minute. After rebounding the opponent's CK, he launched a counterattack and dribbled for a long distance, and finally passed to Matsuda, who was running up the side. If it would have been scored, it was a brilliant quick attack, but unfortunately Matsuda's shot went out of the frame. Another opportunity came in the 32nd minute. They made small passes to break through the right side, and in the end, Mutsuki Kato matched Matsuda's cross, but the opponent DF closely defended with his body and the shot did not meet. GK Yang Han Been also showed stable feed, and Cerezo approached the goal again and again from intentional breakouts in the first half. Even in defense, they suppressed FC Tokyo's attacks to single shots, and the number of shots on target to receive was zero. The first half finished with the development of the superiority.

From the beginning of the second half, Manager Kogiku replaced Kato and Matsuda with Leo Ceara and Hayato Okuda. For Okuda, who has decided to join the team from next season, this match was his J.League debut as a Cerezo player. In the second half, against FC Tokyo, who increased their offensive pressure, Cerezo went on the defensive, but GK Yang Han Been, CB Shindo, and Ryuya Nishio showed tenacious defense.

In the 67th minute, Shonan took their back from the quick attack, but Yang Han Been jumped out at just the right moment and stopped the goal conceded. Then, towards the end of the game, Cerezo pushed back with attacks again. It was Jordy Croux who entered the pitch in the 75th minute that took the lead for the team. In the 80th minute, he approached the goal from his signature cut-in, and in the 83rd minute he made a vertical approach and shot. When the stagnant attack gained momentum, they got a scoring chance in the 86th minute. Reiya Sakata, who had also started to play from midway through the second half, exchanged passes with Suzuki to break through the left side, and sent a cross. With an exquisite trajectory, it reached Leo Ceara in the center, but the header of the uniform number 9 was blocked by the good defense of the GK and did not become a goal. Unfortunately, they were unable to seize the chance to win through defense.

The match ended 0-0, as it was. After the match ended in a draw in a match where only victory was required, the disappointment of the players was deep, making it more difficult to break through the group stage. "We wanted to win because the content was good. I am full of mortification," the commander did not hide his regret about the result. On the other hand, he also emphasized the achievements, saying, “we could fight, showing our strong desire to win. We have lots of harvest and awareness.” In fact, the players who stood on the pitch in this match succeeded in appealing as individuals while maintaining discipline as a team. They showed the ability that they are ready to play in the league match at any time. It is a difficult game to sum up, but they will make use of the regrets and harvest from this section for the rest of the season. And as for the Levain Cup, they try hard towards the Osaka Derby, the final round, where they still have hopes of making it through the group stage.

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