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Review: Cerezo Osaka 2-0 Yokohama FC (J1 MD15)

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Hirotaka Tameda’s opener and Hikaru Nakahara’s additional point as his first goal of the season. Achieve the first 3 consecutive wins of the season with 3 consecutive clean sheets.

This section was the first match at home in about a month. With the momentum of the away win streak, they challenged the Meiji Yasuda J1 League Section 15 against Yokohama FC, aiming for the first three consecutive wins of the season. The starting line-up was changed for one player from the previous section. Mutsuki Kato was out due to injury, Tokuma Suzuki started in the league match for the first time in eight games, and Hiroaki Okuno was placed on the front line. The system could have been [4-4-2] or [4-2-3-1].

Cerezo Osaka took control of the match from the beginning. In the 5th minute, Leo Ceara ran through behind the DF from the short counter and brought it to an almost one-on-one chance with the GK. After that, the vertical relationship between Hirotaka Tameda and Ryosuke Yamanaka on the left, and Jordy Croux and Seiya Maikuma on the right, worked well and pushed the opponents in. The right side was the highlight of this match especially. Croux created scenes to hold the ball in the form to carry forward and approached the goal with a sharp cross. In the 28th minute, he launched the long counterattack which the entire stadium buzzed with. After surpassing the opponent's FK, Shinji Kagawa, who received a throw from GK Kim Jin Hyeon, passed it to the front line with a direct volley. From here, Tameda and Okuno connected the passes with headers, and in the end Croux shot with his left foot. It was a beautiful flow that could have been nominated for the goal of the year if it was scored, but unfortunately it hit the post. After that, Cerezo continued to attack and broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute. When Kagawa ran into the near zone on the right side from midfield, Croux made a through pass to him. Here, Kagawa attracted the DF and kept the ball, and when he dropped it to Maikuma, Maikuma directly crossed it to the far side. Tameda, who jumped in, reacted to it well with his header and boldly shook the net. In the first half, Yokohama FC was allowed zero shots. They responded to the opponent's counter, and ended the first half with "the perfect development that we idealize" (Koji Toriumi).

In the second half, the first play gave Yokohama FC a scoring chance. Immediately after the kickoff, Towa Yamane, who ran in from the right side to a long ball from the DF, came out and made a shot. It was a scene that made them nervous, but GK Kim Jin Hyeon showed a big save by stopping with his foot. He quickly inspired and braced his team mates. After that, as in the first half, Cerezo took possession and continued to attack. In the 56th and 65th minutes, Hikaru Nakahara, who came in from the second half, brought the ball to the shots in a good shape and approached the goal. From the middle stage of the second half onwards, there was time for Yokohama FC to take possession, but Cerezo’s defense team, who had kept clean sheets in three consecutive games in the most recent official games, responded without panicking. In order to change the match flow, Manager Akio Kogiku sent in Capixaba, Kakeru Funaki, and Hinata Kida, the players who showed good performances in the Levain Cup the other day. In the 83rd minute, he substituted Ryuya Nishio for Okuno and also changed the positioning to a five-back DFs system. Aiming for additional points while closing the match, then in the 85th minute, Cerezo scored the second goal that decided the match. From the flow of the set piece, they picked up the second ball and made a successive attack, and at the end Kagawa, who received the drop by Leo Ceara, entered the penalty area and was fallen by the opponent DF. The whistle did not blow, but Funaki picked up the loose ball and fed it to the left, and Capixaba’s cross was met by Nakahara on the opposite side.

Just before the end, they faced a pinch from a set-piece, but they managed to endure centering on Kim Jin Hyeon, and did not allow Yokohama FC to score. With the solid defense, Cerezo achieved three consecutive wins with a clean sheet in 3 consecutive games. The commander praised the players, saying, "This game had a lot of positive elements." But he also tightened the reins as he said, “In order to fight for the championship from now on, it is necessary to pursue one more step for all, like improving quality, increasing strength, and deepening understanding of tactics. We do not get satisfied here, but prepare well for the next match against Nagoya and Kobe.” The next match is an away game against Nagoya Grampus. They would like to break into the top three, by winning the hard high-ranking confrontation.

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