0 Min: As J.League Division 1 action is suspended for the international break, the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup takes precedence domestically, and I’ll be live-blogging Matchday Five’s Group A contest between Cerezo Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale from the Kincho Stadium.
With Jubilo Iwata having a bye week, Cerezo will end the day topping the group on goal difference provided they can secure a victory, while Frontale must find a win if they are realistically to stand any chance of making the quarter-finals. I’ll have team news for you very soon.
0 Min: Cerezo Osaka – Matsui; Moniwa, Fujimoto, Sakemoto, Takahashi; Ogihara, Yamaguchi, Branquinho, Maruhashi; Kempes, Kakitani
Substitutes – Ogino; Kim S-G; Funatsu, Yoshino, Yokoyama, Murata; Nagai
0 Min: Kawasaki Frontale – Nishibe; Tanaka Yusuke, Saneto, Igawa, Noborizato; Shibasaki, Oshima, Kusukami; Tasaka, Renato, Yajima
Substitutes – Sugiyama; Tanaka Yudai; Santos, Tanaka Junichi; Kobayashi, Tanio
0 Min: Today’s referee is Koichiro Fukushima, kick-off expected to be exactly 19:00. It’s a cloudy night in Osaka but otherwise fairly mild, the thermometer reading approximately 19 degrees.
0 Min: The players are out on the field in their final preparations for the kick-off.
1 Min: It will be the home side to get us underway, and we’re off and running in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup.
3 Mins: A quick turn from Yoichiro Kakitani from Kempes’s pass finds the forward up-ended, and Cerezo have the first chance of the game, a free-kick which Branquinho takes from 6 yards infield and slams straight into the two-man wall. The ball is returned to Branquinho once more, and this time his cross is into the centre of the penalty area. Kempes’s misses the ball completely with his attempted overhead kick, but the ball falls to Yusuke Maruhashi. His left-footed strike is wild and sails several feet clear of Yohei Nishibe’s crossbar.
6 Mins: Kyohei Noborizato is tripped by Branquinho, who gesticulates to Fukushima that the left-back had failed to keep the ball in play.
7 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka’s delivery from the left curls across the six yard area, and Kenya Matsui fails to get a hand to the ball. It’s just beyond Takuro Yajima at the back post.
11 Mins: The first corner of the match is Frontale’s, Renato and Yusuke Tanaka combining to good effect on the right which the Brazilian takes, and it’s a very good header from Teruyuki Moniwa to clear away.
13 Mins: And Cerezo immediately reply with a corner of their own. Branquinho crosses to the edge of the penalty area for an intended volley, but the ball is played to high. It finds its way back to Branquinho infield on the left, who plays the ball to teammate Maruhashi, and a shot is weak and comfortably held by Nishibe.
15 Mins: POST! Branquinho’s swerving effort from 22 yards is just the wrong side of the right upright with Nishibe well-beaten. A superb strike from the Brazilian.
16 Mins: Yusuke Igawa half-clears a Yusuke Maruhashi cross, which is volleyed left-footed first-time into the side netting.
18 Mins: Cerezo Osaka starting to dominate, and they win another corner as Yoichiro Kakitani’s shot on the spin is deflected behind the goalline. It’s taken short, and doesn’t prove fruitful.
20 Mins: Takahiro Ogihara clips Ryota Oshima from behind, and Frontale have a free-kick roughly 35 yards from goal. Renato and Oshima are both over the ball. Working it out to the left-hand side, a cross comes in low but Kota Fujimoto hacks clear.
22 Mins: Takuro Yajima does well under pressure from two defenders to earn Frontale a corner on the left. Tasaka plays it short to Renato, who returns it to the wide player. His cross is then too deep for Takura Yajima, who is unable to head the ball back across goal, and it’s behind for a Cerezo goal-kick.
23 Mins: Mid-way through the first period, it’s Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 0.
25 Mins: Branquinho forces Nishibeinto making the first save of the match which a curling shot from 20 yards. Diving to his right, he’s unable to hold at the first attempt, but recovers quickly to claim with Kakitani following-up.
27 Mins: Takahiro Ogihara is booked for a silly foul well inside the Kawasaki Frontale half, as he prevents Renato from turning away from him.
30 Mins: GOAL! The KINCHO Stadium falls quiet. Jumpei Kusukami beats Cerezo’s offside trap with a superb run across the defensive line. It’s poor goal-keeping from Kenya Matsui, as he fails to defend his near post, and he doesn’t force the midfielder to shoot across the angle.
30 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 1
33 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka then has an attempt from long range, cutting in from the left-hand side. He tries to find the top-right corner with a bending effort, but it doesn’t trouble Matsui, staying well clear of the right upright.
35 Mins: Less than ten minutes left in the first period, as Branquinho diverts a ball to Sakemoto on the right touchline. An aimless cross from a good position is much too close to Nishibe, who catches and clears long downfield.
37 Mins: Two crosses from Yusuke Maruhashi in quick succession are cleared.
39 Mins: Kenya Matsui is very fortunate to see Takuro Yajima shoot into the side-netting, as he comes off his line unnecessarily with Yajima attended by Teruyuki Moniwa. He could well have been embarrassed had Yajima’s effort been better-directed.
40 Mins: Cerezo Osaka have a further two corners, the first of which is palmed behind by Yohei Nishibe, and the second Frontale are able to bring away from their penalty area.
43 Mins: A pass from the right touchline into space gives Renato an opportunity to shoot. His low, left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area is curling, but it’s into the legs of Matsui, who ensures his full body is behind the strike.
45 Mins: As Yusuke Tanaka’s run pulls Daisuke Takahashi away from the penalty area, Renato is able to test Matsui once more. He tries to beat the goalkeeper at the near post from eighteen yards, but he is wise to the effort this time and stops low at his left post.
45 Mins+1: One last chance for Cerezo Osaka, as they win a corner in stoppage time, which Branquinho will take from the right.
45 Mins+2: It’s headed away, but a one-two between Sakemoto and Branquinho allows the defender to cross and earn his team another corner. The set piece delivery is poor and easily cleared, and with that, the official blows his whistle to signal for half-time.
HT: Cerezo Osaka 0 Kawasaki Frontale 1
HT: Dynamism in midfield, aided by the willing runs of Daisuke Takahashi from defence, has not been allied to a cutting edge for the home side at the KINCHO Stadium, who finds themselves a goal behind at the break to the only clear chance for either side of this match. Branquinho came very close to opening the scoring for Cerezo, a powerful strike crashing back off the right, but otherwise some promising build-up play has been followed by low-quality crosses.
45 Mins: One substitution being made at half-time as Takamitsu Yoshino enters the fray for Cerezo Osaka. Takahiro Ogihara is the man replaced.
46 Mins: Referee Fukushima gives the signal to resume play, and Kawasaki Frontale get the second half underway.
47 Mins: GOAL! Kempes brings his side level two minutes after the restart. Fine control from Yoichiro Kakitani brings in Branquinho, and he finds Kempes. He cuts across the penalty area and sends a perfectly placed low left-footed shot into the net.
47 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 1 Kawasaki Frontale 1
54 Mins: Branquinho just manages to keep an over-hit ball in play on the right, but with several players surging forward, the opportunity is wasted and Frontale are able to bring the ball away.
55 Mins: Rene Santos is ready to come on, and looks to be replacing Yusuke Tanaka, who has a problem with a contact lens, however the change is withheld for the time being.
57 Mins: A yellow card is shown to Naoriyuki Sakemoto for pulling back Renato. Rene Santos now does make his entrance, and it’s for Kosei Shibasaki.
58 Mins: GOAL! Cerezo Osaka have turned this match around. Poor control from Yusuke Tanaka allows Yoichiro Kakitani to intercept in midfield, and he bursts forward. He cuts past Yuki Saneto, and the recovering Kakitani’s lunge is in despair as Kakitani’s lovely dinked effort with the edge of his right boot from 15 yards clears the advancing Nishibe and into the net.
58 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 2 Kawasaki Frontale 1
59 Mins: Kempes is booked, the third player for the home side to enter Fukushima’s notebook.
63 Mins: Yusuke Tasaka exits play for Yu Kobayashi. Frontale have made little advance in this second half, and miscontrol from Yusuke Igawa gives Branquinho the chance to deliver a corner from the right. It’s short, and the cross is bent across goal. Nishibe almost misjudges the flight of the ball, having to re-adjust as it nearly clears him, but he catches safely enough.
65 Mins: Branquinho links with Kakitani, who then feeds Kempes on the edge of the penalty area. It’s a woeful effort from the striker who under little pressure clears the bar.
68 Mins: GOAL! Kawasaki Frontale are back on level terms. A stunning left-footed lob from Takuro Yajima has beaten Matsui, but not the crossbar, and Renato cushions the rebound home with his left foot. Cerezo defenders are appealing in vain for the offside, the Brazilian clearly played onside by Noriyuki Sakemoto when the ball left Yajima’s foot.
68 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 2 Kawasaki Frontale 2
71 Mins: Ryota Oshima is currently down for Frontale, stretching to clear a Branquinho throughball, possibly damaging a hamstring or calf muscle in the process. He exits the pitch on a stretcher, and is back gingerly to his feet on the sidelines.
73 Mins: Rene Santos barges Yusuke Marushashi as the ball is running out for a throw-in, but no free-kick is given for a poor challenge.
73 Mins: Renato blazes over the bar with an overlapping Rene Santos the better option to his right.
75 Mins: Oshima has played his final action in this match, and Yudai Tanaka is on in his place.
75 Mins: A crossfield pass from Yusuke Tanaka is too strong for Yu Kobayashi.
<strong<75 Mins: Renato has a corner, looking to give his side the lead for the second time in this match having recovered from being a goal behind after 58 minutes.
75 Mins: The referee spots an infringement in the penalty area with Jumpei Kusukami backing into Kenya Matsui, who was able to punch clear in any case.
77 Mins: Noriyuki Sakemoto, under the close attention of Yu Kobayashi, retains possession well, and draws a free-kick out of the forward for some shirt-pulling.
78 Mins: Rene Santos is down in the Kawasaki Frontale penalty area after he rose to contest a header with Kempes, holding his back after falling to the floor. Upon exiting the field, he sprints to rejoin the play.
80 Mins: Daisuke Takahashi is shown a yellow card as he impedes Yusuke Tanaka on the right edge of the penalty area. A chance for Renato to shoot.
81 Mins: Renato’s powerful effort is on target as it beats the wall, but too close to Matsui who pushes behind for a corner. The resulting delivery is then headed away for a throw-in on the right, five yards from the goalline.
81 Mins: A second substitution for Cerezo Osaka, as Kasuyz Murata replaces Branquinho.
85 Mins: The first yellow card for Frontale is shown to Renato, who clambers over Kakitani to prevent him passing him on the right. Lovely skill from the winger.
86 Mins: GOAL! And it’s Kakitani who thumps home. A clipped free-kick by Noriyuki Sakemoto meets with a poor clearance from Yuki Saneto, and Kakitani’s first-time strike is through the legs of Hyohei Noborizato and sneaks inside the right upright, leaving Nishibe with no chance of making a save.
86 Mins: Cerezo Osaka 3 Kawasaki Frontale 2
88 Mins: As Nariyuki Sakemoto exits play on a stretcher, Tetsuya Funatsu is the last Cerezo replacement.
90 Mins: A corner for Frontale taken by Renato, and a subsequent cross as his corner is returned to him, are cleared.
90 Mins: Cerezo break quickly on the counter-attack, but a smart stop is made by Nishibe from Kakitani’s shot.
90 Mins+1: Into three minutes of added time and Frontale are pressing for a second equaliser, but Takuro Yajima is judged to be offside.
90 Mins+2: A few players have been affected by cramp in this match, and it’s Kyohei Noborizato’s turn to receive some treatment.
90 Mins+3: Fukushima blows his whistle for the end of this encounter, and with it he ends Kawasaki Frontale’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Cerezo will end Matchday Five at the top of Group A, two fine strikes from Yoichiro Kakitani and a Kempes equaliser early in the second half sufficient to give the home side three points.
FT: Cerezo Osaka 3 Kawasaki Frontale 2
FT: Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage.