Tuesday, October 28, 2008

R41 - See you next year Tochigi!

Cerezo Osaka Vegalta Sendai 3-4
C: Sakemoto 17’, Gilton 22’, Kaio 35’
V: Nakashima 12’,51’, Sekiguchi 80’, Nakahara 84’

Cerezo have made it a habit of falling apart in the last stage of the match, and with that giving up a seemingly comfortable lead. They did it against Avispa and Sanfrecce recently, and now they did it to Vegalta as well. A great first half saw Cerezo 3-1 up, but all that effort were worthless after they conceded 3 after the break. With that the promotion-train has already left the station for Cerezo’s sake, and only a miracle will see them finish 2nd or 3rd now.
Atleast one Cerezo-fan didn't seem to let the result affect her mood..

Vegalta got off to the best start, as Nakashima masterfully curled the ball into the top corner to make it 1-0. Just a few minutes later, Sakemoto equalized after a scramble in front of the goal. Brazilian left-back Gilton, who’s been under some critiscism earlier, made amends with a nice goal as he came racing down the left-side. Kaio made 3-1 in the 35th minute, after Vegalta’s goalie suddenly found himself out of the goal. With that, things looked very good for Cerezo, but that were all to change after the break. Cerezo still played good football though, and had the most of the chances. But they couldn’t find the goals, and Nakashima scored a 2nd after beating Germano for the header to make it 2-3 shortly after the break. As the game came to an end, Sekiguchi equalized with a brilliant solo-effort with just 10 minutes to go. Shortly after late-substitute Nakahara took away all hopes for Cerezo with another goal.

Maeda doesn't looks too happy...
Cerezo had 21 shots to Vegalta’s 10, and clearly the home team should have deserved to win. Cerezo doesn’t seem to strong mentally though, and perhaps that’s the main reason why they won’t be in J1 next year. Surely they have enough qualities atleast. Over 20 000 showed up for this match.
Highlights from the match:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

R40 - We're still alive!


S: Takachi 80'
C: Kagawa 44', 86', Inui 60',63'

Cerezo travelled to Kyushu, or more precisely Tosu for their match against Sagan this round. With both teams still in the race for promotion, defeat was not acceptable for either teams. For Cerezo, it was even worse, and a draw or a loss would pretty much kill their hopes of a return to the upper tier of japanese football.

As for the match, both teams showed in the beginning that alot were on stake, and it was a cautious opening. Cerezo dared more than Sagan though, and had a few chances early on. Shinji Kagawa should have put the visitors 1-0 up midway through the half, but alone with Sagan's goalie he ballooned his shot. But Kagawa made amends right before the break with a well-placed shot and put Cerezo in the lead.

Sagan put on a lacklustre performance this match, and didn't had a single chance until they got their consolation goal 10 minutes from full-time. Cerezo started the 2nd half as they finished the first, and the little speedy winger Inui scored to goals within a few minutes. With that the win were out of Sagan's reach, and they looked already resigned. Inui, who were weighed too light in Marinos, has been a revelation in the pink shirt, and should have gotten his hat-trick shortly after. As the match wore on, Cerezo squandered several chances, and instead Sagan scored a lucky goal through substitute Takachi. Kagawa removed all doubt of a Sagan-comeback a few minutes later with a great header after a cross from Sakemoto. Cerezo had 15 shots to Sagan's 11. Next up for Cerezo is Vegalta at home, another must-win game!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

R39 - Another 2 points dropped in Yokohama

Yokohama FC Cerezo Osaka 2-2
Y: Miura 37’, Elizeu 77’
C: Komatsu 66’,74’

Cerezo didn’t manage to pull off a win in Yokohama, and with that their promotion-campaign took another blow. However, most of the others teams above them dropped points as well, so the gap up to 3rd is only 5 points. But with one more game gone, the chances are getting smaller. They should have won this one though, as they dominated pretty much the whole game. They looked terrifying in the beginning of the match, putting the Yokohama-defence under a great amount of pressure. Especially down the left-flank, were Kagawa were a constant threat. But instead it was Yokohama to take the lead, infront of a massive crowd of over 20 000 at National Stadium. Atsushi Miura showed his old legs still got it, and the wing-back found the net with a powerful shot from distance after 37 minutes. That was the only goal we got before the half, and Yokohama held a somewhat lucky lead.

Cerezo didn’t stop to play though, and continued with their offensive strategy. It finally paid off in the 66th minute when Komatsu scored his 15th goal of the season. Not too long after he added another after being beatifully played free by his compatriot up front Kaio. But Miura had more tricks up his sleeves, and with a free-kick he found the brazilian Elizeu free in the box, and Elizeu headed home the equalizer. The end to the match was dramatic as well, with a Yokohama defender being sent off. But we didn’t see any more goals, and 2-2 is a result Cerezo’s coach Levir Culpi won’t be too happy about. Cerezo outshot Yokohama 20-6.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

R38 - Same old, same old...

Cerezo Osaka Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-3
C: Kagawa 8’, Germano 45’
S: Takahagi 40’,42’, Sato 44’

Cerezo’s promotion chances took a real knock as they lost to Sanfrecce at home this round. Sanfrecce scored 3 goals within 4 minutes just before the break, and that little period were enough for them to get away with all points. A huge disappointment for Cerezo, who overall were on level with Sanfrecce for most of this match apart from that letdown before the break. Wonderkid Shinji Kagawa gave Cerezo an early lead after only 8 minutes, and Cerezo looked to be in decent control in the following minutes. They were headed to half-time with a 1-0 lead, but in the 40th minute Takahagi equalized. Just 2 minutes he added another before Hisato Sato made it 1-3 straight afterwards. Cerezo were shocked, but Germano reduced on a penalty-kick to make it 2-3 before the referee blew off for half-time.

Cerezo’s best player this match were Kagawa, but as the match went on Sanfrecce managed to neautralize him and that took alot of the sting out of Cerezo’s attack. Even a few offensive substitutions didn’t help, and in the end Cerezo had to see Sanfrecce get away with all the points. Cerezo had 11 shots to Sanfrecce’s 14.

The good thing we can take from this match is that we had quite a high attendance for the 2nd match in a row. Over 20 000 last round, and this time there were approx. 18 000. Vegalta's loss is also positive, but we need to close in 6 points on the lies of Shonan,Vegalta and Montedio now, as well as get by Sagan... It seems awfully tough, but neither of the teams up there are showing too much consistency so the chances are absolutely there.