• X
  • LINE
  • Facebook

Review: Albirex Niigata 0-1 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD7)

  • TEAM

Leo Ceara's goals in back-to-back games and hard work on defense led to the team's seven-game unbeaten streak since the start of the season.

Three days after their match against Kashiwa Reysol, Cerezo Osaka faced Albirex Niigata in the seventh round of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. The starting lineup was changed by three players from the previous game. Ryuya Nishio, Vitor Bueno, and Jordy Croux were replaced by Koji Toriumi, who started for the first time since the season opener, Sota Kitano, who started for the first time this season, and Lucas Fernandes, who returned after a two-game absence. On the bench, Justin Hubner was included for the first time since joining the team.

In the early minutes of the match, Niigata were on the attack. In the 3rd minute, a breakthrough on the left side of the box resulted in a shot that went wide. In the 7th minute, another shot from the left side of the box was saved by goalkeeper Kim Jin Hyeon. Cerezo's theme for the match was "controlling the game with defense" (Akio Kogiku), and they tried to do this by playing a 4-4-2 formation with one of the inside halves pushing forward and a 4-5-1 formation with a blocking defense and pressing in the middle. In both cases, they pushed the final line up and kept the whole team compact, tightening up inside and forcing Niigata to the flanks. In attack, they had time to build up from the back and also launched several short counters by intercepting their opponents' passes. Although they did not score a goal, they fired shots several times through Ceara and Fernandes. As Seiya Maikuma reflected after the game, "We didn't give them many chances, but they didn't give us many chances either.

In the second half, the game started to move quickly with both teams pushing each other down the flanks, and in the 55th minute, Cerezo came close to scoring on a counterattack, and in the 58th and 60th minutes, Niigata broke through on their own right flank and attacked in waves, but the visitors held firm inside and blocked their shots. In the 61st minute, Hiroto Yamada came on for Capixaba and Masaya Shibayama came off for Kitano, who had been a key player on the counterattack and in the defense. From this point on, Cerezo began to keep the ball longer and attack with a depth that had not been seen in the first half. In the 69th minute, a rotation of three players on the right side, Maikuma, Shibayama and Fernandes, broke down the field and finally Maikuma, entering the near zone, chest-trapped the ball, evaded a tackle and crossed with his left foot. Ceara, who had been waiting inside the box, sent a powerful header into the roof of the net. In the 79th minute, Fernandes received a through ball from Ceara, dribbled in and shot. Fernandes had a good chance, but his shot was blocked by the opposing goalkeeper.

From the 80th minute, Cerezo was pushed back into the game as Niigata began to attack more and more. Despite this, the 4-5-1 formation remained intact and showed no signs of breaking down. In the 87th minute, Kogiku brought on Justin Hubner, who was making his J-League debut, and switched to a five-man back line. Cerezo held off Niigata's power play, including set pieces, to preserve the 1-0 win.

After the match, manager Kogiku praised his players, saying, "I thought the main point of the match was how patiently we controlled the game with our defense, and I think the crystallization of everyone's hard work, including the substitutes, led to today's clean sheet and victory. The manager's own leadership was also outstanding, and the team's unbeaten run since the start of the season has now been extended to seven matches. Maikuma, who provided the assist, said, "I am confident that we have not lost yet and we have been performing well no matter who is on the field, but it is times like this when we need to tighten up. I want to continue to be in good shape while everyone works on fixing the problems. Our next game is a week away, at home against Kawasaki Frontale. The whole team, which is getting more and more competitive, will be looking forward to a good preparation for victory.

TOP > NEWS > Review: Albirex Niigata 0-1 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD7)