Cerezo Osaka U-12 clinch first title in three years with comeback win! – 41st Japan U-12 Football Championship
30 December 2017
The final of the Japan U-12 Football Championship was held on Friday 29 December at Kamoike Athletic Stadium in Kagoshima as Cerezo Osaka U-12 (Osaka) came back from behind to win this tournament for the first time since 2014.
The finalists were Cerezo Osaka and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo U-12 (Hokkaido). Cerezo Osaka were the aggressor early in the game, showing valiant attacks toward the Sapporo goal, including an attempt by SUZUKI Sota from a corner kick and a shot by WATANABE Satsuki from outside the box. Sapporo, however, composedly coped well with the Cerezo's chances by limiting the shot angles with their collective defence. As the flow of the game gradually shifted towards Sapporo's favour, TAKAHASHI Kouga picked up the ball at a high position on the left flank, firing a shot in the closing minutes of the first half. Cerezo Osaka’s goalkeeper MIYAI Kaito denied it with a brilliant save. Defensive quality of both sides shined as they went into halftime at 0-0.
In the second half, both teams continued to defend well and kept their opponents out of the vital area. Cerezo's OTANI Genki came close as he headed Watanabe's cross in the 25th minute, but his shot went inches wide of the left post. The deadlock was broken under 10 minutes to go, when Sapporo's IZUMA Shido possessed the ball in the box finding the slightest gap before launching a shot to open the scoring.
Despite being forced in a chasing situation, Cerezo Osaka composedly strung passes and created numerous chances, capitalising on the experiences from the comeback wins in this tournament. MITSUI Ryuma raced into the box with skilful dribbling moves followed by a pinpoint shot, which found the back of the net to cancel out Sapporo's lead. Four minutes later, SARARA tapped in a corner to put the Osaka side ahead.
With the decisive goal that led to Cerezo's win, the heated competition came to an end. Sapporo, who aimed for their first championship, finished as the runners-up, but they showcased an overall impressive games with smooth combinations from defence to offence.
YOSHIMARU Ryohei (Riopedra Kaga FC U-12) received the top scorer award. Yoshimaru helped Riopedra Kaga reach the quarterfinals in their first championship appearance. Omiya Ardija Junior (Saitama) won the Good Manner Award, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima F.C Junior (Hiroshima) collected the Best Effort Award. The Fair Play Award was presented to Kainan FC Junior (Wakayama).
Coaches' and Players' Comments
TORIZUKA Nobuhito, Coach (Cerezo Osaka U-12 / Osaka)
We had been missing good opportunities after conceding a goal by rushing for low-percentage shots and giving away the ball easily. Throughout this tournament, we were able to learn that there’s no need to rush to get the ball back. Our kids realised allowing a goal is not the end of the world and we can also score if we made sure to play good football. I think those realisations resulted in their added confidence.
WATANABE Satsuki (Cerezo Osaka U-12 / Osaka)
The most difficult match was against S-Pulse (the round 16 match against Shimizu S-Pulse U-12). That match made our team better. I think we were more united as a team, and that lead us to come back from behind in the finals as well. We are always told to keep high pressure, put out our best on the pitch, and have fun off the pitch. We kept talking to each other and it was great that we were able to pull out a win at the end. Once again, we were able to keep ourselves calm even after allowing the opening goal.
ASANUMA Tatsuya, Coach (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo U-12 / Hokkaido)
Hopefully we can play well against them at the Junior Youth. The goal for our kids was to win this championship, but for me as an academy staffer, it’s just a check point along the way. It’s a big plus to experience something like this though. We played well in the first half, but the goal we scored in the second half gave Cerezo a do-or-die mentality. It could be said that perhaps we scored a little too early, and that could be what decided the course of the match.
KOMIYA Masaki (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo U-12 / Hokkaido)
We came out for the match to be the first champions out of Hokkaido. First, we wanted to calm down and play just as we usually do. Also, we wanted to play the best match in this tournament. I thought that our goal made us that much closer to the title and I felt like we would’ve won if we kept our composer and played solid defence. My strength is when the ball is in the air and one on one situations. I think I did well in those areas, but I want to improve them even more.
41st Japan U-12 Football Championship
Tue. 26 December - Fri. 29 December
1st round/Round 16 Kagoshima Fureai Sports Land (Kagoshima)
Quarter-Final Kagoshima Kamoike Auxiliary Field (Kagoshima)
Semi-Final/Final Kagoshima Kamoike Athletic Field (Kagoshima)
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