Friday, November 28, 2008

J2 round 44: Thespa - Cerezo preview

Thespa’s only concern is that MF Kumabayashi are still out with suspension. Regarded as one of Thespa’s better players, he will be missed. Cerezo are missing DF Omata and Ezoe still, as well as Ale in midfield. New to the list is FW Komatsu, who got injured last round. Komatsu is Cerezo’s topscorer, but is only the 2nd choice up front now behind Kaio. Cerezo plays a 3-6-1 kind of formation now, with 3 central defenders and only a single striker. The speedy and technically midfielders Kagawa and Inui are just behind Kaio up front though, which means they got a pretty strong attack still.

Thespa only got 1-4-5 on the last 10, and looks to be in quite poor form at the moment. They’ve lost 4 of the last 5 matches as well. At home they haven’t been too bad, with 2-3-1 on the last 6. Cerezo got 2 straight wins now, and are desperate for another 3-pointer here to keep their promotion-hopes alive. They’ve won 3 of the last 4, and looks to be in quite good form at the moment, playing some very effective football. Away they got 3-2-1 on the last 6. All previous meetings gives us 1-1-4, and earlier this season Cerezo won 3-1 away, while Thespa won 2-1 in Osaka.

Cerezo are big favorites, and should normally beat Thespa without too many problems. However, last year in a similar match near the end of the season, Cerezo only managed a 2-2 draw which ended their hopes of promotion back then. It might be a similar story here, but Cerezo looks quite strong at the moment, and although Thespa plays some good football at times, they meet a much better team here. Come on Cerezo!

R43 - Kagawa seals 3 points at home vs Bellmare

Cerezo Osaka Shonan Bellmare 2-1
C: Sakemoto 31’, Kagawa 46’
S: Adiel 5’

Cerezo kept their promotion-hopes alive with a strong 2-1 win at home against fellow promotion-chasers Shonan. Shonan are not out of the race yet, but their form is quite bad at the moment and it’s unlikely they will be able tu surpass both Cerezo and Vegalta on the table. Cerezo’s chances are slim though, as Vegalta can’t take more than 2 points from their last 2 matches. Cerezo has to win their matches, so alot has to go right if Cerezo wants 3rd.
They got off to a very poor start, and Adiel gav SHonan the lead after only 5 minutes on a penalty-kick. They were quick to shake off the early disappointment though, and in the 31st minute Sakemoto’s free-kick went directly into the goal which made it 1-1. Cerezo looked very dangerous, and came up with tons of chances to score. Shonan’s tight defence were hard to break down though, and by half-time the score were still 1-1. Kagawa came up with a little big of magic as he dribbled past a few players before hammering it home with a left-foot drive to make it 2-1 immediately after restart. A great goal from the young midfielder, who’s had a marvellous season. Cerezo controlled pretty much the rest of the match, and took a very deserved win in the end. FW Komatsu were injured early in the match, which meant Furuhashi came on. Kaio returns from suspension next round though, so they should still be able to field a strong attack in the next match. For the 4th time in a row, Cerezo had over 20 000 in the stands, which is even higher than city-rivals Gamba has on their games. Cerezo had 20 shots to Shonan’s 8.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

R42 - We're still in it!

V: Maranhao 9,’39’
C: Kagawa 51’,73’, Fujimoto 69’

Shinji Kagawa

A marvellous turn-around by Cerezo in the 2nd half means they still got a chance of 3rd place, but being 6 points behind Vegalta with 3 matches left it will be tough. Kofu got off to the best start this match, and Maranhao gave them the lead from the penalty-spot after only 9 minutes. He were on target again in the 39th minute after Kofu attacked down the right-hand side. Cerezo looked changed for the 2nd half though, and coach Culpi must have said the right words, cause just a few minutes after the restart gave Kagawa Cerezo a lifeline. Kota Fujimoto, who’s only recently have been involved on the first team, equalized in the 69th minute. Kagawa once again showed how important he is to the team with another goal shortly after, which in the end became the winning goal. Despite some dangerous counter-attacks from Kofu, the result stayed the same, and Cerezo could take 3 very important points. Cerezo opted for a 3-5-2 formation this match, and although the struggled a bit defensively, it worked well in offence. FW Kaio were sent off late in the 2nd half, and the in-form striker will be out for the match against Shonan next round. Cerezo had 13 shots to Kofu’s 11.