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Review: Yokohama F. Marinos 2-0 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD32)

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Despite ball possession, Cerezo Osaka were unable to score and lost 0-2 to Yokohama F. Marinos

Cerezo Osaka traveled to the home of second-placed Yokohama F. Marinos looking for back-to-back wins after Leo Ceara scored the game-winner in the Osaka Derby. Cerezo Osaka's starting lineup and bench were unchanged from the previous week. Cerezo Osaka played the same 4-3-3 system as in the last two matches.

Cerezo's first chance came in the 5th minute when Masaya Shibayama cut the ball and Jordy Croux shot wide with his left foot. 8 minutes later, Satoki Uejo raced in, Shinji Kagawa stole the ball, Shibayama passed to Croux and he fired a free kick. None of these chances found the back of the net, however, and the visitors were unable to capitalize on their earlier chances. The overall approach to the game was "to control the game by paying attention to the distance in attack and defense, closing the distance and moving forward based on the three midfielders and fullbacks" (Manager Akio Kogiku) as seen in the last two games, and they tried to go toe-to-toe with Yokohama FM, but the dynamic and fast attack of their opponents, with their horizontal swings and vertical sharpness, left the Cerezo defense on the back foot at times. The ball was twice saved by the crossbar, in the 11th and 33rd minutes, but it was in the 41st minute that a goal was finally conceded. A quick move from the back saw the ball move from left to right and Elber's cross was headed home by Yan Matheus. In the 45th minute, a pass from the center back was intercepted by Anderson Lopes and the ball fell to Elber who scored the second goal. The game was difficult for the visitors as they conceded a series of goals in the final minutes of the first half.

In the second half, with Yokohama FM's pressure weakened, Cerezo spent more time in possession of the ball and getting into the enemy territory. The right side of the field was particularly invigorated. Shibayama, who had started at right inside-half in the previous game, was an important player on the right flank, and Maikuma was also active on the attack. In the 54th minute, a feed from Kakeru Funaki led to a diagonal move into the penalty area by Maikuma, who went in on goal. In the 56th minute, Croux cut in from a Shibayama pass and fired in a shot that hit a defender. In the 74th minute, Leo Ceara got on the end of a Maikuma pass, and in the 80th minute, Maikuma got on the end of a Capixaba pass, but again, nothing decisive came of it. In the second half, the defense, led by Ryosuke Shindo who was introduced at the start of the second half, did a good job of risk management, and goalkeeper Kim Jin Hyeon made a great save to prevent a third goal in the 59th minute. In the second half, the visitors pushed forward with increased possession, but a counterattack goal was too far away, and time expired. Kagawa was forced to admit that his side was completely outclassed today, saying, "We were outplayed by our opponents in terms of ability."

Urawa Reds also lost this week, leaving them five points adrift of third place. With two games remaining, Cerezo will be looking for a win to give them a chance of finishing in the top three. In order to do so, they will need to pick up points. "We will continue to improve our quality and support, which will lead to the growth of Cerezo from now on," said Kogiku. In their next and final home match, the team will aim to score a goal and share the joy of victory with the supporters gathered at the Yodoko Sakura Stadium.

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