Cerezo Osaka 1-1 FC Tokyo
J1 Matchday 29
(Highlights above from the club's official YouTube channel)
The players showed good character to come from a goal down at the Kincho Stadium, and it was that man Nemanja Vucicevic who did the business again, netting the equaliser in the 74th minute to finish off a superb move that he himself started deep in our half.
The first half ended goalless despite a number of chances at either end, the best of ours probably a shot from the edge of the box that hooked wide from Yohei Kajiyama after Takuji Yonemoto's superbly-timed tackle won the ball back. Cerezo looked threatening on the break, and Kenyu Sugimoto's flick went just wide as Shuichi Gonda raced out of his net to close down the Olympic striker.
In the fifth minute of the second half we went a goal down after a brilliant strike from outside the box by their left back Yusuke Maruhashi. A crossfield ball from Hotaru Yamaguchi found Maruhashi one-on-one with Naohiro Ishikawa on their left, and with Nao playing him loosely but looking to cut off a dribble to the byline Maruhashi instead cut inside and rifled a shot into the top corner at Gonda's near post. It was almost 2-0 just a minute later when Sugimoto sent Yoichiro Kakitani clean through on Gonda with a delightful flick-on, but Kakitani failed to hit the target and we breathed again.
Nema came on as our second change in the 63rd minute, and the goal eleven minutes later was absolutely first class, with his finish the last of his five touches in the move. First, he won the nicked the ball from behind right on the edge of our box on the left and played it back to Hokuto Nakamura. He took the return pass from Hokuto and found Aria Hasegawa in the centre circle, all the while continuing a diagonal run through the middle. Aria played the ball to Lucas and darted down the right-hand channel, Lucas returned to Nema who then played a superb through ball to Aria, whose first-time cross was met by Nema arriving in the box, and his strike beat the keeper at his left-hand post.
That goal will hopefully go on Nema's highlights reel on his website, and he's making a great case to be kept on next season, though we're still wondering why he hasn't started a game yet (perhaps an indication that he won't be?). Anyway though both teams had 15 minutes to find a winner none was forthcoming and we held out well enough at the end, though Aria was sent off for his second yellow card in the 93rd minute for an unnecessary challenge on former Gasman Teruyuki Moniwa. That's Aria's 3rd red of the season.