Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Cerezo Osaka 2 - 0 Yokohama FC

This really felt like an exhibition game, whether I'm still getting used to Sunday matches or seeing 48 year old Kazu Miura being warmly applauded by our supporters for doing the simplest of things it was an odd game. No tackles of note, no real passion or drive and no distinct pattern of play. Our star players failed to dominate this game and King Kazu didn't look his age at all. Forlan missed a penalty but goals from Hasegawa and Pablo Felipe mean another listless performance will soon be forgotten. Shame because on paper it looked like a really attack-minded team. We are now in 3rd place (in J2). We face the early league leaders next.

Enough people turned up today (14518) to make the appearance of the big flag possible
Physio 1: Did you remember to bring the bandages? Physio 2: I'm sure I put them in there. Physio 1: The king is waiting.
Looks worse than it was
This was Autuori's main pose today as we were pretty shoddy for most of the game
Huge respect for the Yokohama FC fans who made the trip down

Friday, 20 March 2015

Feelgood Factor returns for a few minutes! Cerezo Osaka 3 - 1 Omiya Ardija

Keiji Tamada bagged a brace on his home debut and Ogihara scored a beauty. As usual our defence had a brain fart defending a cleared corner but despite that and the rain (which meant a slightly lower than expected attendance of 15584) everyone was happy for the last few minutes. All the goals came in the 2nd half. Tamada gave us the lead early in the 2nd half with a calm finish after a neat flick from Sekiguchi, who also made his home debut. Omiya equalised with minutes remaining but two injury time goals were enough to see us grab 3 points. Ex-captain Moniwa came on for little cameo as the Squirrels left empty handed. Omiya Ardija came down with us from J1 last year and usually do pretty well when they come to Osaka so this was a good result for us (in J2, always remember this is J2). 
This is J2! Again
Like the old Chelsea shed end but with less cars
One of those horrible heart breaking finishes to a game for away fans

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Back in J2! Tokyo Verdy 1 - 1 Cerezo Osaka

We did enough to win but couldn't quite get the winner. Pablo Felipe looked good, well good enough for J2 anyway, but managed to get himself sent off. No predictions for this season based on that performance although you'd hope we won't get relegated again and have only one manager this year. If our players enjoy playing under Paulo Autuori we have more than enough quality to put a run of games together and get back to J1. After the disaster of last season I'll only be truly happy if we return as champions...when the 2 stage format in J1 has been scrapped ideally. I can go back to enjoying football more this year in J2 anyway, Forlan should too if he keeps playing and scoring. Just over 12,000 came to Ajinomoto Stadium and I suspect we will manage to beat that figure this coming Sunday in Yanmar Stadium. I think they lookalike anyway (see the last two pictures). 

Outside the stadium is surrounded by the colours of Verdy's ground sharing partners FC Tokyo

Very impressive numbers and as always loud and enthusiastic 

Dejan Savicevic
Pablo Felipe

On the 4th Anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami: Some pictures from a trip to the region in 2013

These were taken during an away trip to Vegalta Sendai two years ago. Minami Sanriku was one of the areas hit the hardest and where the flags of fishing vessels once flew in the port they became replaced with flags from sports teams. Click on this link and you can find a list of teams and people who tried to help in some way along with pictures and past event details.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

New manager Okuma keeps his 100% record: Cerezo Osaka 2 - 0 Kashiwa Reysol

Okuma kept faith with Nagai and Sugimoto up front and they repaid him with a goal apiece. Our first win in the league since May 3rd! The players clearly weren't up for working with Marco Pezzaiuloi or Popovic for that matter. I wonder if we'll get any Rio Ferdinand style revelations about why, but none of our players have a book to sell so maybe not. New, undoubtedly well paid, signing Cacau is injured along with our captain Yamaguchi who was linked with a move to Serie A before the World Cup. Ogihara looks to have regained some form now and Kusukami too looks to be reveling in finally being given a chance at a run in the team. As for the two chaps up front, great stuff which should see them both keeping hold of their places for the foreseeable future. Forlan made a cameo appearance after the game was settled. Sugimoto scored a header from Sakemoto's free kick and it was nice but huge questions marks over the Reysol defending as he wasn't really challenged despite three players being around him. Ryo Nagai scored in the second half. A very similar goal to the last one he scored in the cup as he was going away from goal but swiveled back to score, this one took a deflection on the way though. Be positive stay positive and win in Suita and we can start forgetting about the money Cerezo have spunked away this season and our current league position. A healthy 22491 in Yanmar Stadium thanks largely to the club giving away an enormous amount of tickets to the Osaka primary school kids affiliated to a local or school football club.

"Play Dirty Go Hard" and "We're Kashiwa Stupid" two of my picks from the Kashima Kashiwa banners

Indirect free kick so close to the 6 yard box, a rarity, always looks exciting but usually disappoints and this was no exception

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

We are in the draw for the next round of the Emperor's Cup! Cerezo 2 - 0 Jubilo Iwata

New manager Yuji Okuma started with a win against Jubilo Iwata who are 3rd in J2 and as we are currently 3rd from bottom in J1 that should make us pretty evenly matched right? Just over 4000 people turned up for this in a stadium that was used in a World Cup so you can imagine it looked a bit odd. Kusukami started and showed what he can bring to the team by setting up Minamino who finished well for the first. Ryo Nagai worked tirelessly all night and was rewarded with a goal he took thanks to his speedy footwork and thinking. Our injured captain Yamaguchi wasn't missed as we got our first meaningful win in a long time. Everyone put a decent shift in tonight compared to our performances in the league. I'm hoping Okuma doesn't feel pressured to bring back any big names, match-fit or not, for the next game on Saturday against 6th place Kashiwa Reysol. Kagawa has returned to Dortmund recently but in bigger news Mitch Nichols quietly joined Perth Glory on loan after a ridiculously wasted (first?) spell in Osaka. 

The unusually sparsely populated I4
This is what a world cup stadium looks like for a dry Wednesday night Emperor's Cup game in Osaka
Someone's sitting there mate
The acoustics are great in Yanmar Stadium so their efforts were heard
Lonely jobs, all of them, cameraman (or woman?), manager and linesman (or woman or assistant referee?) 
New gaffer Yuji Okuma gets nervous as he is drink bottles lined up and ready to spring the offside trap