Match against Shonan Bellmare-two wins in a row to mark the 100th match held in Saitama Stadium   

Super defense mid fielder Yuki Abe’s excellent performance and the good coordination of the team crushed Shonan Bellmare. Though the team lost a goal just before the end of the game, the Reds won the match with the score of 2 to 1 against Shonan Bellmare who have returned to the J1 League after an 11 year absence since 1999.
The fifth sec J. League match against Bellmare started with a Red’s kick off at 4 minutes past 7 pm on Saturday, 3 April. Shunki Takahashi was a starting line up member for the first time this season playing in the right side back position. While Yosuke Kashiwagi who played as a defensive mid fielder during the match against Cerezo Osaka was repositioned in the second row, Abe and Hosogai assumed positions as the two defensive mid fielders. During the first half of the match, the Reds took to the right end of the field which was opposite to the end they usually take. By learning from their mistake of not picking up the initial speed of the game when they played against Jubilo Iwata, the team remained highly concentrated from the beginning of the match.
At 4 minutes into the game, an opponent player Jean tried a header shot with a right corner kick from another Bellmare player. However, this further ignited the offensive of the Reds. At 6 minutes into the match Hosogai kicked the ball aiming for the goal. Very shortly after that, Edmilson kicked the ball towards the goal at 8 minuets into the game. After 12 minutes into the game, Yuki Abe who ran behind the defense line fired a volley to the right of goal after receiving a cross ball from Ponte. Unfortunately, the shot missed the goal, however, the Reds continued their good defense. At 28 minutes into the game, Edmilson jumped onto the fine cross ball from Kashiwagi and tried a shot at goal. Even though it was only three days after the match they played against Iwata, the Reds allowed no opportunities for their opponents to seize control by maintaining swift movements in defense and by switching their play styles.
The opportunity for the long awaited first goal appeared around 45 minutes into the match after the Reds had already attempted about 10 goals. Tatsuya Tanaka dribbled the ball sharply which he received from Abe but was fouled by an opponent team member in the penalty area. The Reds “penalty kick expert” Ponte took advantage of this opportunity and kicked the ball calmly in to the left side of the goal.
The excitement of the Reds was even more enhanced after Norihiro Yamagishi blocked a shot from Yuuya Nakamura with his great reflexes.
During the second half of the game, the Reds did not loosen up their offensive as the team wished to score additional points as early as possible. At 50 minutes into the match, Abe dove to shoot a header shot after receiving Takahashi’s right cross kick. At 53 minutes into the match, Tatsuya ran out of the crowd in front of the goal to attempt a header shot.
The excitement of the team reached climax at 56 minutes into the match. A free kick opportunity appeared about 22 meters away to the left from the front of the goal. Abe who was full of eagerness kicked the ball directly at the goal with his well used left foot. The ball hit an opponent defender and changed its course hitting the goal net.
Team Manger Finke’s pitch management also worked well. He introduced Keita Suzuki to replace Hosogai at 53 minutes into the match. He also introduced Genki Haraguchi to take over from Tatsuya Tanaka at 63 minutes. At 81 minutes, Shunzuke Tsutsumi went onto the pitch to replace Shunki Takahashi. As a result, the Reds controlled the match. Even though the team lost a goal right before the end of the match, the team managed to put the icing on the cake to mark the 100th match held in the Saitama Stadium by winning two matches in a row.
Urawa Reds will play their sixth J. League match against Albirex Niigata on Saturday, 11 April from 16:00 in the Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium.

[Comments made after the match]
General Manager Koichi Hashiratani
I would like to recognize the fact that the team created many opportunities today. When the team cannot conduct offensive play stably, it is impossible to create chances as the opponent team is able to block their attempts. Our offensive was able to change tempo both swift and slow and were also able to break through the centre as well as the cross break through the sides today. When a team is able to make attacks in various ways, it means that the team is capable of winning against any type of opponent.
I think the team was very flexible in their defense today. However, the team has to make sure they make the most of the chances they create. When our team play against stronger teams in the future, if they cannot do that, it will be difficult for them to win a match and gain three points.
I would also like to take into account that the team received no warnings and played a fair game today. Urawa Reds is a strong and fun-filled team that can play fair games. I believe this is the reason why people support us. I think that the team is now gradually being able to show such a philosophy.

Comment from Yuki Abe
I am candidly happy that we won the match we have just played. Usually, the opponent team we played today first kicks a long ball and then develops their game by sustaining the ball from there onwards. For this reason, I thought it would be necessary for us to counter them as soon as possible by getting on top of the long kicks they make. As a matter of fact, our team created many opportunities. As such, I was confident that we would be able to score a goal before they did.
(What do you think of the first goal your team scored as a penalty kick? You passed the ball first to Tatsuya at that time.) I was able to face forward in a very good way. Since Edmilson and Tatsuya were in front of me, I passed the ball to Tatsuya.
Tatsuya managed to be fouled by the other team and as a result Ponte was able to score the goal. As such, we owe Tatsuya half of the credit (lol).
(You kicked the second free kick.) Because I was fouled, I wanted to kick the ball at that time. Kashiwagi also kicked the first one, therefore I wanted to kick the ball the second time. Even though the ball hit the defender, it was a goal scored after all. For this reason, I feel very happy.
(What did you talk about with Kashiwagi before hand?) It is a secret (lol).
(What did you think of the spectators calling out your name even before you scored the second goal?) Since I missed some of the chances I had previously, I was glad that I was able to score the goal. After the team scored the first goal, I thought it would be important for us to score another one. Even though we lost a goal towards the end of the match, it was still okay as we had won the match and left our opponent behind.

Comment from Yosuke Kashiwagi
First of all, I feel relieved as we were able to win the match today.
I think the four players in the front line play flexibly. I believe we are getting better day by day. Now, I must work on how I can capitalize on my strength among them.
What I am conscious of is that I should try to overtake Edmilson and Ponte when they have the ball. Even when I will not be of any use, I can secure a space by doing so. I feel that I should play for my team members playing for the Reds. I was actually worn out after 30 minutes into the game today. However, I ran by giving it all I had. I think the fact that I have played for a solid 90 minutes in each of the last three consecutive matches in a new environment has helped me a lot. Again I am becoming stronger. I will keep on challenging myself!

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Go to match report
Go to the comment from Team Manager Finke after the match