“Reds win away game despite losing the lead twice. Gain momentum for home game!” against Cerezo Osaka  

We were at Osaka Nagai Stadium on 27th March. The opponent for the 4th game was Cerezo Osaka who made their comeback to J1 for the first time in 4 years. The last time we played against Cerezo Osaka was in August 2006.

The match started at 4:04 pm with Cerezo kicking off. Hosogai who was playing as a right back tried to create chances and supply crosses to the strikers. Tatsuya chased the ball from left to right trying to win all the balls. This allowed the team to have more shots, crosses and corner-kicks.

The first goal was scored in the 21st minute. Ugajin and Ponte won the ball on the left. Ponte then made a pass to Kashiwagi who delivered a cross into the penalty box. The cross led to a defensive mistake which Tatsuya capitalized on and calmly slotted in from the left side of the goal post.

The goal was Tatsuya’s first goal since 8th November 2008 when Reds faced Consadole Sapporo in the 31st game of that season. However, Cerezo equalized straight after the restart through Adriano when Cerezo was allowed to come into the penalty box easily.

In the 35th minute, Sergio, who has been in the starting lineup since the opening game, was substituted due to injury to his right hamstring. Haraguchi, who came on for Sergio, chased and won the ball near the corner in the 39th minute. However, his subsequent shot at the near post was stopped by the goalkeeper. The score was tied at 1-1 at the end of the first half.

When the second half started, we quickly took control of the game. In the 54th minute, Ugajin won back possession and passed to Kashiwagi who passed to Abe. Abe who received the ball faked a shot and played the ball to Edmilson who was in front of him. Edmilson latched on to the pass from Abe and placed the ball into the back of an open goal.

After we took the lead, we created some chances through counterattacks but could not find the third goal. Gradually, Cerezo started pushing us back into our own penalty area. At the 69th minute, Team Manager Finke took the decision to change Tatsuya with Keita. Keita took up the position of Tatsuya but on a more defensive role to support the defense in the middle. As this left us with only 1 forward, Cerezo took the initiative and put on a more offensive player Akihiro Ienaga to put more pressure on our goal.

We were buying time for a chance to counterattack and in the 74th minute, Ponte hit the upright. However, we failed to deal with a cross from the right and Cerezo equalized. The initial header came off the wood work and Shinji Kagawa who was waiting in front of goal managed turn the ball in. Nevertheless, we never gave up and regained the lead 1 minute later. Edmilson ran to a long ball then brought the ball to the penalty area. When the goalkeeper came out to close his angle, Edmilson put the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper making it 2-3 to Reds.

Cerezo never gave up and continued attacking but we were able to defend soundly. In the 89th minute, Horinouchi was substituted for Ponte who was tired from the game. After a long 4 minutes of added time, the final whistle was blown. At the moment, the supporters’ “Reds call” echoed in Osaka Nagai Stadium.

The next game is the 1st qualification game of Yamazaki Nabisco Cup which will be held on 31st March. Reds will face Jubilo Iwata at Saitama Stadium.

【Comments after the game】
Tatsuya Tanaka
“It was good that I started and the team won. I am in a pretty good shape. I think the best thing will be that I can keep my form and play constantly. I am a bit nervous about injury.
Scoring is of course a good thing but I am more focused on the quality of play. Therefore, it is not a big deal for me. However, I know that it is the forward’s job to score goals for the team.
After the second half, the quality of play dropped.
I want to play longer and I am sure if I continue to churn out good performances, I will be able to do so.”

“The first half should have finished 0-1.
With regards to the second half, I think it was good as everyone put in effort. It was our 4th game and the team condition has improved. I think our 3 goals today are very valuable for us. We still have 30 games left so we want to gain more points.
(Being asked about his 1st goal), the pass from Abe was inch perfect so it was good that I was able to regain our 1 goal advantage.
(Did you intentionally place the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs?) I was lucky. I was just kicking the ball towards the goal. I do not know whether I can do it again.
But I think every goal is cool. It is an un-cool thing when we cannot score. Even if the ball hits someone’s shin and goes in, it is still a goal. It is important to do things for the team. The joy for a striker is to score goals. I know the supporters want to see goals.
With regards to Tatsuya’s goal, Tatsuya is a really excellent player. I think he is a difficult player to mark. I noticed that he has been playing very well recently. However, not only Tatsuya, but also Takahara, Takasaki and Sergio are also playing well. If we relax now, we may lose our position. We respect each other and are good rivals. I think it is a very good environment which not all the teams have.”

Hajime Hosogai
“There were a lot of plays I have to review in the second half. I know I have to play well but I made quite a few mistakes and I had less time on the ball as well.
I think I should have received the ball at a bit more forward when the team was facing difficulty in the second half. In terms of attacking, I concentrated on giving the ball to Ponte and running outside to create chances. But I had quite a few times I passed the ball to the opponent because of my mistake.
(There were few chances to pass the ball to front.) It is much easier to play on the right than the left as the left requires more concentration to look up to take a larger view. Hence, I think I can concentrate more on giving accurate crosses in this position.
From Wednesday, Yamazaki Nabisco Cup will start. I think the result is the most important thing so we will play our best to get a good result.”

【Urawa Reds Official Media (URD : OM) 】