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Friday, 23 April 2010

Cerezo 2-1 Bellmare

Peter again gives us a rundown of Cerezo's form, as he takes a look at their game against Shonan.

Cerezo had nearly 60% of the possession in this game, scored a penalty in the 34th minute but then missed several chances to more or less kill the game off. Bellmare hung in there and equalised in the first minute of five minutes added time, but Kagawa clinched the game for Cerezo with a superb individual goal four minutes later. A match which should have been a comfortable win for Cerezo became a game that turned on a dramatic finale.

Key man holding midfielder Martinez missed the game, presumably through injury after being stretchered off at Yokohama the week before but without a word of explanation from the club. His place was taken by Akihiro Ienaga, and this change was accompanied by a change of tactics with Ienaga playing further forward than Martinez usually does. This was partly compensated for by volante Amaral playing even more defensively than usual, but I am not going to count this as a change of formation, although some news sources did; still, it marked a change from two conservative MFs and three attack-minded to one very conservative, and four more attack-minded MFs. In my opinion, formation still 3-5-2, but OMF Kagawa also pushed further forward than he has been doing.

First half: the game started with Cerezo having the best of the exchanges but not creating many clear-cut chances; although they had shots blocked in the 7th, 16th, 19th and 22nd minutes. Kagawa missed the target from a reasonable chance in the 21st minute. At the other end, Tahara had shot wide in the 10th minute, and that was to be Bellmare’s only serious attempt on goal in this half. In the 33rd minute, Cerezo were awarded a penalty following a corner after an off-the-ball incident involving Uemoto and Bellmare’s Tamura; it wasn’t clear to me what happened, but there was some wrestling going on and there was no doubt that both players went down with Tamura falling on top of Uemoto. (It looked to me as though Tamura had a grip on Uemoto and Uemoto played for the foul by going down and pulling Tamura down with him--Tamura failed to release his grip soon enough to avoid the sucker punch.) Tamura got a yellow card. Kagawa hit a firm but not-really-fierce penalty along the ground towards the goalie’s left corner; although Nozawa, who had a good game, guessed right and got a touch on the ball with his hand, he failed to stop it reaching the corner of the net. In effect a lovely penalty, but a near thing! That was the end of the significant action in the first half.

Second half: In this half, Bellmare improved marginally, managing one blocked and one off-target shot in regular time. Cerezo started off the half in the same way as they had in the first half, with Amaral having a shot blocked on the line in the 47th minute. Inui in the 57th, Adriano in the 70th, Bando in the 74th and Inui again in the 89th minutes also had shots blocked. One or two of these Bellmare blocks were off the line, when you felt sure Cerezo were about to score again. In between the blocks, Ienaga in the 54th, Bando in the 79th and Inui in the 89th minutes missed the target, when perhaps they should have done better; particularly the last one by Inui, a free diving header straight in front of the goal. And so to five minutes of injury time with the score 1-0 to Cerezo.

Added time:
In the attack following Inui’s miss, Nakamura got away down the right channel, held off Uemoto and got in a shot that Kim did well to deflect on to the bar. The ball rebounded to the unmarked Tahara who had to adjust himself to get in his shot, with the result that Kim and a defender almost had time to block the shot on the line, but Kim only succeeded in lifting the ball into the roof of the net with his foot. In the 93rd minute Kim made a good save from a header by Tahara after a good cross from Nakamura. With literally seconds remaining, Kagawa came into the penalty area from Cerezo’s left, and then going across the face of the goal and slightly backwards to the edge of the penalty area swivelled and hit the ball just inside Nozawa’s right-hand post for a superb individual goal.

This game was a good lesson for Cerezo on the importance of taking your chances, but in the end justice was done in spectacular fashion.

Cerezo > Bellmare
Shots: 16 > 5
GKs: 7 > 11
CKs: 10 > 4
FKs: 20 > 25
Poss.: 59% > 41%

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