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Review: Nagoya Grampus 2-1 Cerezo Osaka (J1 MD9)

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Despite dominating the game, Cerezo suffered their first defeat of the season, conceding twice from set pieces.

Four days after the J.League YBC Levain Cup second round match against Iwate Grulla Morioka, Cerezo Osaka had another away match against Nagoya Grampus in the 9th round of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. The starting 11 was the same as in the previous match against Kawasaki. Shinji Kagawa, who made his first appearance in an official match in almost a month in the Levain Cup, was included the bench.

Cerezo dominated the game against Nagoya, who were defending from the start. In particular, Cerezo's right flank of Lucas Fernandes, Masaya Shibayama, and Seiya Maikuma continued to dominate and push their opponents. In the 4th minute, Shunta Tanaka headed over from Maikuma's free kick, and in the 13th minute, the decisive moment came from a corner kick. Kakeru Funaki headed Fernandes' corner on the far side and the ball flew onto the perfect course, but was blocked by goalkeeper and hit the bar. The next chance came in the 18th minute. Funaki's vertical pass was laid off by Leo Ceara, who connected with Hiroaki Okuno and Capixaba, who broke through and crossed. Fernandes turned the ball over and Shibayama fired a shot from inside the penalty area, but it failed to find the target and went over the crossbar. Shibayama dribbled and shot again in the 29th minute. He looked in good form. Cerezo were quick to switch from attacking to defending, and as soon as the ball was got by their opponents, they quickly launched a counter-press. In the first half, they played a half-court game, giving Nagoya almost no chance to attack. The game proceeded in an "ideal" manner in the first half, as Kyohei Noborizato put it. However, they failed to capitalize on a number of set pieces and were unable to move the score.

The second half started well too, with Ceara having a big chance early on. Maiakuma and Fernandes combined to break down the right flank, and Okuno came close to scoring when he met the ball inside but missed the target. In the second half, Nagoya, who had made a change of players, started to create chances on both flanks, and in the 65th minute they took the lead from a corner kick. Cerezo had taken the lead in all eight of their league matches and had never allowed their opponents to take the lead this season, but this was the first time they had conceded a first goal. However, they quickly equalized two minutes later. When the opposition goalkeeper's pass to the defender was misplaced, Fernandes didn't miss the ball and crossed it into the middle. Ceara met the ball and fired into the net. In the 72nd minute, Noborizato dribbled in, linked up with Kagawa, who came on in the middle of the game, and Maikuma to break down the right flank, and Fernandes sent in a cross. Ceara and Capixaba tried to meet it, but they couldn't. Nagoya didn't have no real chances after the goal, but in the 82nd minute, they scored a winner after a free kick. Cerezo were behind again in the last minutes. Cerezo tried to score until the final whistle, and Leo Ceara had a chance after a through pass from Kagawa, but his shot went just wide.

The game ended 1-2. It was the first defeat of the season in nine league games. However, there was no sign of disappointment on the faces of the coach and players after the match, and all the players, including Noborizato, who said "Losing at this time has made us even more determined to win", had changed their minds about the next round. The team did have some problems in attack, such as converting chances into goals when dominating play and defending set pieces, but there was no reason to be pessimistic, as manager Kogiku said, "We did what we prepared for." Shunta Tanaka said "What we do after a defeat is important, as the manager said, and that's what every player thinks. It is important not to lose again." The next game is at home against Yokohama F. Marinos. The power of the Cerezo family will be brought together at Yodoko Sakura Stadium to grab three points.

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