Cerezo kicked off their 2009-campaign by beating Sagan 4-1 at home in a one-sided contest home at Nagai Stadium. As usual, Sagan adopted a very defensive strategy, and had ten men behind the ball most of the time. For the opening 45 minutes, this was something Cerezo struggled with, as the chances were few despite having most of the possession.
Cerezo’s attacking trio of Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui ( both Japanese NT-players) and Brazilian Kaio looked much brighter in the 2nd half, and infact it took only Kaio three minutes to put his side in the lead. Inui did most of the work with an excellent run down the right-flank, and Kaio only had to poke the ball into the open net.
Inui got in the limelight once again when he found Kagawa with a tremendous back-heel, which Kagawa handled even more impressively, as he nutmegged his defender and took a quick shot that took Sagan’s GK Muro by surprise. He managed to save Kagawa’s shot, but had to give a rebound that fell straight into the wide-open Ishigami’s path.
2-0 up, Cerezo could lower their shoulders, but kept on attacking and got to many big chances. Kagawa alone hit the woodwork on three occasions, and also Inui and the Brazilian newcomer Martinez had big chances. Sagan on the other hand, didn’t create anything at all, and took out their only striker to replace him with a midfielder. An odd move being 0-2 down, especially considered they had the talented Taniguchi on the bench, who scored the winning goal against Cerezo last season.
On a rare visit inside Cerezo’s half, Sagan were rewarded a free-kick some 35 metres from goal. Substitute Takachi managed to get a head on the in-swinging cross, which took Cerezo’s goalie Kim by surprise. Sagan now had a life-line, but once Cerezo spotted the danger they were quick to respond.
It only took a minute after Saga’s goal before Cerezo were two goals up again, and this time it was Inui’s time to score. Kaio fired away something that looked like a misplaced shot, and luckily for the home-team it fell straight into Inui’s feets, whose first effort hit the post only to go straight back to Inui who then had an easy task scoring the 3-1 goal. 10 minutes later DF Ezoe did 4-1 for the home-team, which completed a very impressive performance by Cerezo.
Cerezo: 3-4-2-1: Kim - Thiago (Fujimoto), Ezoe , Maeda - Ishigami, Haneda, Martinez, Sakemoto - Kagawa - Inui - Kaio
Sagan: 4-4-2:Muro -Yanagisawa, Iio , Uchima, Isozaki (Yada) -Yamada - Shimada, Shimazaki (Takachi) ,Takahashi - Hirose, Tozin (Shimizu)
Shots: Cerezo 25 - Sagan 8