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Gamba Osaka remains atop after winning the “Osaka Derby" in the 7th Sec. of the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League WEST

24 June 2019

Gamba Osaka remains atop after winning the “Osaka Derby

The seventh Sec. of the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League WEST took place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June, where the two Osaka sides, Gamba Osaka Youth (Osaka) and Cerezo Osaka U-18 (Osaka), clashed.

Pick-up Match

Gamba Osaka Youth 4-2 (0-2, 4-0) Cerezo Osaka U-18

Ahead of the match, Gamba Osaka’s coach SHIMADA Takahiro sent off his players by telling them, “If we can outrun our opponents, we can win the match.” However, as Cerezo’s forward FUJIO Shota (#9) mentioned, “We didn’t want to give away the initiative to Gamba, so we entered the match with the intention to apply high pressure from our front line and win the second balls,” the match progressed with the Cerezo side taking the initiative in the early minutes.

Although Gamba managed to create some opportunities from the runs made by TOYAMA Shoji (#9), their attacks were too monotonous, as coach Shimada later reflected, “We played passively against the pressure applied by our opponents and our attacks relied heavily on the long balls played into the open space.” While they struggled to create effective attacks, the Gamba defence was also exploited by the Cerezo side. In the 26th minute, Fujio scored the opening goal from a counterattack to give Cerezo the lead. The Cerezo striker doubled their tally in the 41st minute with the assist from MATSUMOTO Nagi (#8), sending the match into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Despite being down by two goals, Gamba remained poised, as their forward OTANI Yuto (#18) recalled the scene, “Although we were down 0-2, we were playing good football, so we were confident that we were going to win the match.” Just as Otani mentioned, Gamba started their rally in the 53rd minute, when FUKUI Kazuki (#13) found Otani in the goal area, allowing the striker to score their first goal of the match.

As their defender NISHIMURA Sho (#4) described their offence, “We have many players who can single-handedly create opportunities,” Gamba goes onto a scoring spree following their first goal. In the 56th minute, KUBO Yudai (#17) scored the equaliser after receiving the ball from Fukui.

After assisting the equaliser, Fukui scored the go-ahead goal in the 74th minute, followed by the penalty kick converted by Toyama in the 81st minute. With their defence keeping a clean sheet in the second half, Gamba took down the Osaka Derby with a final score of 4-2.

Coaches and Players' Comments

SHIMADA Takahiro, Coach (Gamba Osaka Youth)
Cerezo played very well in the first half. They applied aggressive pressure from their front line, and we weren’t able to possess the ball freely. We made the adjustments during halftime to evade their pressure and to utilise the width of the field more effectively. After scoring the first goal, we managed to find our momentum and come from behind to take the lead. I am glad that we were able to win the match, but we had to do a better job from the beginning of the match. We still have plenty of room for improvements.

DF #4 NISHIMURA Sho (Gamba Osaka Youth)
We knew Cerezo was going to come out aggressively, but we were overwhelmed by their pressure and failed to construct our build-up plays. However, with the opponents getting tired in the second half, we anticipated for our opportunities in the second half. We managed to score four goals because everyone kept fighting hard until the end. Our offence has shown great consistency and the defence has been solid thus far, so we hope to keep this trend going in the following two matches and carry the momentum into the Club Youth Championship.

KAIMOTO Keiji, Coach (Cerezo Osaka U-18)
Although we were excited about this Osaka Derby, we managed to keep our poise and enter the match with great composure. The players showcased what they have been working on in their trainings and kept their concentration level high to score those goals in the first half. However, just as we suspected, Gamba came out rallying back in the second half to take the match away from us. This match allowed us to realise that we still need to work hard to heighten the overall level of our football.

FW #9 FUJIO Shota (Cerezo Osaka U-18)
It was great that I was able to score two goals in this match, but it doesn’t mean a thing if the team loses the match. We had our momentum going in the first half, so I had to score more goals during that stint. If we had capitalised on the opportunities created in the first half, we would’ve won the match, so we must improve the quality of our plays at the final third. We need to become a team that can win close matches, and we need to make changes on how we approach each of our training sessions from here on.

Results of other matches

Sanfrecce Hiroshima F.C Youth 1-2 (0-0, 1-2) Kyoto Sanga F.C. U-18
Ozu High School 2-1 (0-1, 2-0) Higashi Fukuoka High School
Avispa Fukuoka U-18 5-2 (1-2, 4-0) Ehime FC U-18
Vissel Kobe U-18 2-4 (0-2, 2-2) Nagoya Grampus U-18

Kyoto Sanga F.C. U-18 (Kyoto) won their away match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima F.C Youth (Hiroshima). In the match between the two Kyushu sides, Ozu High School (Kumamoto) rallied in the second half to win over Higashi Fukuoka High School (Fukuoka). Avispa Fukuoka U-18 (Fukuoka) scored five goals to claim the victory over Ehime FC U-18 (Ehime). Nagoya Grampus U-18 (Aichi) earned their first victory in three matches by scoring four goals against Vissel Kobe U-18 (Hyogo).

Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2019

League Duration: Sat. 6 April - Sun. 8 December 2019

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