Cerezo Osaka wins in extra time to win 97th Emperor's Cup All Japan Football Championship for first time in 43 years, earning their second title of the season
02 January 2018
Monday 1 January saw the final of the 97th Emperor's Cup All Japan Football Championship at Saitama Stadium 2002. Cerezo Osaka turned the match around against Yokohama F・Marinos 2-1 with a deciding goal from the midfielder MIZUNUMA Kota in the first half of extra time. Cerezo Osaka earned the top spot for the first time in 43 years and for their fourth time, including under its former team name YANMAR. It was their second title of this season after the J.League YBC Levens Cup.
As a result, Cerezo Osaka qualifies for the AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (ACL) in 2018 as the Emperor's Cup champions, giving away their playoff spot, which they have earned by finishing third place in the J.League, to Kashiwa Reysol in fourth place.
Although Cerezo Osaka managed to earn two titles in their comeback year in the J.League Division 1, Yokohama F・Marinos took the initiative of the game from the beginning. Yokohama F・Marinos were aiming to win the championship for the first time in four years and for a record eighth time.
In the eighth minute, ITO Sho received a cross on his chest from the defender SHIMOHIRA Takumi, getting through the opponent’s defender to move forward. He struck the opener with his right foot. Soon after that, the midfielder Martinus initiated an attack from the right to go close to the goal.
Though Cerezo Osaka were eager to close the gap, they tended to be one step behind. Since the forward SUGIMOTO Kenyu did not play due to injury, the team struggled to attack against Yokohama F・Marinos’s solid defence.
After 65 minutes, MIZUNUMA struck a long-distance shot, which was punched away by the opponent’s goalkeeper and cleared by the defender. YAMAMURA Kazuya, who played up front as he did in the quarterfinal, swiftly reacted to a loose ball to score with his right foot, levelling the match.
Although the midfielder ENDO Keita of Yokohama F・Marinos, who had came off the bench just before the end of the first half, received a cross from the midfielder David Babunski and took a shot in the 56th minute, the team could not find the back of the net. After 70 minutes, the forward HUGO VIEIRA was sent onto the pitch to replace Babunski. Then in the 79th minute, the defender NAKAZAWA Yuji struck at the goal with a header from a free kick, only for it to go wide.
Cerezo Osaka sent the defender TANAKA Yusuke and the forward Ricardo Santos to the field. In the 87th minute, Santos got through to space behind the opponent’s defenders to fire a shot, but Yokohama F・Marinos’s goalkeeper IIKURA Hiroki defended it.
Neither team could decide the match in the 90 minutes. It changed right after the first half of extra time began.
After 95 minutes, MIZUNUMA, who ran into far side of the goal, reacted to a cross from YAMAMURA on the left and struck at the goal with a header. The sharp-angled shot went between the goalkeeper and defender into the goal.
Cerezo Osaka changed its system from three backs to four backs, adding YAMAMURA to the defensive line in order to focus on defence.
In the second half of extra time, Yokohama F・Marinos sent the midfielder MAEDA Naoki to substitute the midfielder AMANO Jun. After 117 minutes, VIEIRA reacted to ENDO’s cross and took a shot with a header, but the goalkeeper KIM Jin Hyeon responded sharply to save the goal.
During injury time, although the defender MATSUBARA Ken fired a long-distance shot, it went wide. Cerezo Osaka won the game 2-1, while Yokohama F・Marinos failed to send off the coach Erick Mombaerts, who is due to retire, with a victory.
VIEIRA of Yokohama F・Marinos and NAKANO Seiya of University of Tsukuba were selected as the top scorers with five goals in this championship. NAKANO also earned SURUGA I DREAM Award for the goal in the 65th minute of the second match against VEGALTA SENDAI, with his teammate MITOMA Kaoru, who scored in the sixth minute in the same game.
Cerezo Osaka will play against the J1 champions Kawasaki Frontale in the FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP 2018 on Saturday 10 February at Saitama Stadium 2002.
Coaches' and Players' Comments
YOON Jong Hwan, Coach (Cerezo Osaka)
We have won two championships and ended in third place in the league. It wasn’t an easy way to earn these results after being promoting from the J.League Division 2. It wasn’t thanks to someone specific, but all the players performed together to come this far. I’m happy and touched to win the Emperor's Cup, as I couldn’t achieve this while I was a player. Today’s game was tougher than I expected, but I believed in the players. They never gave up until the final whistle, which brought us this result. I’d like to thank the players for running until the last minute. One of many changes in the players was their attitude towards wins. All of them succeeded in performing as a team on the ground. Sacrificing individual play, devoted running, and a spirit not to give up – these were one of the most changed aspects of the team, which led us to today’s victory.
MF #10 YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka)
It was a tough match, as the opponent struck the opener and the game went into overtime. However, we managed to perform as a united team. I am happier than usual about it. We struggled to find our rhythm in the first half, but I believed that we could turn the game around if we displayed our playing style. It was an excellent year as we earned two titles and ended in third place in the league.
MF #16 MIZUNUMA Kota (Cerezo Osaka)
[When I scored] I ran, believing that Ricardo would initiate something. So all I had to do was react to a cross. All of us agreed to play physically hard and tenaciously until the end. Despite the fact the opponent struck the opener, we stayed vocal on the pitch, so that we could focus and did not let ourselves play like we used to. We managed to turn the match around, which shows that we have improved ourselves. I’m please that I earned this title, just like my father did.
Erick Mombaerts, Coach (Yokohama F・Marinos)
I’d like to praise Cerezo Osaka. Although we controlled the ball properly in the first 15 minutes, striking an excellent goal, we let the opponent take the initiative too much after that and stayed behind. During overtime, our mistakes led the opponent’s second goal. Cerezo Osaka did have luck. Having said that, that is certainly one aspect of football. We couldn’t score with our opportunities, while struggling to get through the opponent’s defender to attack. It’s important that many young players have improved in the past three years. I believe we displayed our attitude to determine to grab a win. I’d like them to continue to do so.
MF #18 ENDO Keita (Yokohama F・Marinos)
I’m gutted, because we were defeated in performance, as well as actually losing the game. What’s critical is what you can achieve when you meet a strong team. Personally, I didn’t have enough experience or strength. I feel very frustrated with this result. I’d like to reflect on myself, so I will perform better this year.
TASHIMA Kohzo, the President of JFA
Although both teams tended to focus on defence in the first half, they displayed aggressive football in the second half. It was an exciting second half and overtime. I’d like to congratulate Cerezo Osaka. They have achieved two titles, including J. League YBC Levain Cup or three, including Japan U-12 Football Championship. They also ended in third place in the J.League, which shows their strength as a club. They nurture the young generation properly, which is a positive thing for Japanese football.
【First Round】Saturday 22, Sunday 23 April
【Second Round】Wednesday 21 June
【Third Round】Wednesday 12 July
【Round of16(Fourth Round)】Wednesday 20 September
【Quarter-finals】Wednesday 25 October
【Semi-finals】Saturday 23 December (National Holiday)
【Final】Monday 1 January 2018 (New Year's Day)
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