Review: Kashiwa Reysol 1-1 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD23)
From Capixaba's cross, Ryosuke Shindo heads in a dramatic equalizing goal. We aim to carry the hard-earned single point forward in the matches to come.
Five days after the previous match against FC Tokyo, Cerezo Osaka, who had traveled to the enemy's territory, faced Kashiwa Reysol in the 23rd round of the Meiji Yasuda Life J1 League. They made one change to the starting lineup from the previous match. Leo Ceara returned from suspension and formed a striking duo with Satoki Uejo. Additionally, due to the impact of players falling ill the day before and on the match day, the bench had one less player, totaling six.
Kashiwa came out strongly from the start, putting pressure on with the ball. Cerezo assumed a defensive stance, but conceded a goal in the 4th minute. Losing the ball in midfield, they fell victim to Kashiwa's trademark short counter, with Sachiro Toshima ultimately finding the net. Similar to the previous match, Cerezo conceded an early lead, but after the first ten minutes, they took possession of the ball, aiming to regain control of the flow. However, in the first half, they spent a significant amount of time passing the ball around the back and on the flanks, failing to disrupt Kashiwa's defensive block. Nonetheless, they managed to earn six corner kicks in the first half by utilizing the wings, yet they were unable to capitalize on them. Defensively, they also faced some danger from Kashiwa's counters and long shots, but in the 19th and 27th minutes, Toriumi made crucial shot blocks. Even in the additional time of the first half, goalkeeper Yan Han Been denied Kashiwa a second goal with a save. Then, immediately after, Cerezo had a chance as well. In the 45th + 2 minute, Ryosuke Shindo carried the ball and engaged in a one-two with Seiya Maikuma, advancing on the right side. Maikuma delivered a pass into the middle after Jordy Croux carried the ball vertically, presenting an opportunity for Uejo, who had made a run into space. However, his shot went over the crossbar.
In a turnaround from the stagnant attacking performance in the first half, the second half saw both full-backs take up higher positions on the field. The tempo of ball circulation increased as well, aiming to dismantle Kashiwa's defensive block. Moving the ball to the flanks more smoothly than in the first half, opportunities were created from the wings through Capixaba and Croux. Cerezo, who picked up second balls and mounted substantial attacks, prompted Kashiwa to change their system to a five-back formation in the 58th minute, aiming to strengthen their defense and emphasize counter-attacks. In the 70th and 73rd minutes, Kashiwa's Mao Hosoya had decisive shots from counters, with the former being denied by the post and the latter saved by a solid effort from Yan Han Been. Managing to prevent a second goal, Cerezo then launched an intense offensive. Starting from central midfielders Shinji Kagawa and Hinata Kida, they distributed the play to both sides, pushing closer to the goal. In the 90th minute, right-back Maikuma had a promising opportunity from an aggressive run forward, but his shot narrowly missed, failing to equalize the score. In the 90+3 minute, Toriumi, who had picked up a loose ball from Kida's shot, engaged in a one-two with Shindo before taking a shot. Both central defenders also ventured forward, aiming for a goal.
This unwavering determination bore fruit in the 90+6th minute. Picking up Yan Han Been's clearance kick, Kagawa passed the ball to Capixaba, who dribbled past his marker directly facing him. Number 27, who skillfully eluded his defender, aimed a precise cross towards the far side. Ryosuke Shindo leapt into action, reflecting on the decisive strike that turned the tables in the dying moments of the game: "Not venturing too far inside, waiting diligently on the far side, and adhering faithfully to the basics, these led to the goal," he explained. Cerezo managed to level the game just before the final whistle with this comeback effort. Immediately after, they had another opportunity from a corner kick. This time, Toriumi connected with Capixaba's delivery, but his header went over the crossbar, failing to secure the lead. The game ended here, resulting in a 1-1 draw shared by both teams. For Cerezo, they managed to overcome the difficult situation of conceding early in the first half, similar to the previous match, and secured a valuable point on the road. "Of course, we wanted to win, but this season we've had many losses and fewer draws. The importance of earning a point in a challenging away scenario is deeply felt by the entire team. In that sense, it's a positive point," summarized Kagawa. However, challenges remained, as they conceded goals in the first half for the third consecutive official match and struggled to convert possession into goals. "We want to address the areas that need improvement and continue the aspects that are working well, building upon them day by day," commented Coach Kogiku. Looking ahead to the next match against Yokohama FC, an away game, they aim for all three points.