Cerezo Osaka 0-1 Yokohama F.Marinos

We came, we saw, we laughed at the ref.
Bouncing back from a disappointing 2-0 loss at home to Kashiwa, the F.Marinos played their first of 2 away games in Osaka this week by taking on Cerezo at Kincho Stadium last night…

Watching us play off the back of a loss is always a fun experience as we generally tend to come flying out of the blocks the moment the whistle is blown. Naturally, this game was not going to be an exception.
It was evident within the first 10 minutes that the F.Marinos weren’t gonna settle for anything less than 3 points though as Hyodo, Oguro, Ono, and Taniguchi seemed to methodically take turns at shooting at the Cerezo goal at regular intervals with the closest being a spectacular lob-shot from Taniguchi in the 13th minute that landed squarely on top of the crossbar with clunk before bouncing out of play. If that had gone in, it would have been a serious contender for goal of the season because he literally shot the ball from out of nowhere!

Cerezo weren’t playing badly by any stretch of the imagination but they seemed to be lacking cohesion in defence which allowed us slip through more than they would have liked but ultimately though, it was either the woodwork or the keeper that kept us off the scoresheet for the first 30 minutes.
Things begun to get a little scrappy around the 20 minute mark as Cerezo slowly began to adjust to our rhythm of play and became a little more aggressive in the tackle and on the ball. It was at this point that the ref remembered that he had a pocketful of cards and decided to pull two yellow cards on both Oguro and Aoyama for rather minimal causes in the 23rd and 24th minutes respectively. Unfortunately for everybody taking part in the game (and for everyone else watching), the ref suddenly realized that the simple act of pulling cards out of his pocket not only made the players frown and the supporters shout, but it also made him feel like THE man.
His name by the way is Ryuji Saito for those of you out there that like to know the names of shit referees. Why do I think he’s rubbish? Well in the 31st minute of the game he made a decision that totally ruined what was shaping up to be a great free-flowing game, and awarded a STRAIGHT RED to Cerezo’s Uemoto for UNINTENTIONALLY palming Hyodo in the face. I would normally rejoice at seeing the opposing team having a player sent off but, as somebody who really hates seeing appalling decisions stand, there was no way I could laugh at that call.
At first I felt sorry for the guy but that feeling was soon replaced by the foreboding sense of “The ref know`s he got that wrong and is now gonna book everybody for everything to prove that he is consistent” which is an annoyingly common trait among J-League referees. Well, I wasn’t wrong because a mere 3 minutes later Ono picked up a Yellow for jumping to head the ball. No, I’m not joking. He jumped, failed to make contact, the Cerezo player won the ball and Ono got a yellow card. Bravo Mr. Saito.

Of course, with Cerezo being a man down, they put everybody in defence and defended throughout the remaining first half and for most of second half before we finally had a breakthrough in the 81st minute when Kunhoan scored his first goal of the season by converting a free-kick by Kano to secure us the lead.
The timing of the goal obviously knocked the wind of the Cerezo sails as they clung on to the end without making any attempt whatsoever to push forward.
Shame really, We probably would have played better against 11 men but I’m not gonna say no to all 3 points as we deserved them either way…

Here’s the highlights:

Starting Lineups
Cerezo Osaka: Jin Hyeon, Takahashi, Moniwa, Uemoto, Maruhashi, Chugo, Martinez, Bo Kyung, Kurata, Bando, and Nagai.
Yokohama F.Marinos: Iikura, Kobayashi, Aoyama, Nakazawa, Kanai, Ogura, Nakamura, Hyodo, Taniguchi, Oguro, and Ono

F.Marinos Substitutions: Nakamura → Kano (58), Oguro → Kunhoan (65), Ono → Aria (95)

Goals: Kunhoan (81)

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