AFC Champions League 2021 Group J - Kitchee 0:0 Cerezo Osaka (JPN)
Kitchee wrapped up its commitments in the AFC Champions League 2021 Group J by taking on Cerezo Osaka (JPN) in Buriram Stadium, Thailand, on Friday afternoon. Kitchee withstood a barrage of attack from Cerezo Osaka and forced the Japanese side to a 0:0 draw after ninety minutes. The newly gained point saw Kitchee completed the group stage as the runner-up of Group J behind Cerezo Osaka.
After the opening whistle, Cerezo Osaka wasted no time and immediately laid siege towards the Kitchee goal, yet back-to-back shots fired by former Japan international Yoshito Okubo from inside the Kitchee box failed to hit the intended target.
Cerezo Osaka had another scoring chance on the 11th minute, as skipper Hiroshi Kiyotake connected with a teammate’s cross and headed the ball towards the Kitchee net, only to witness his bouncing header went just wide off the Kitchee goal.
The J.League side continued to dominate the early proceedings. On the 12th minute, Yoshito Okubo found himself on the receiving-end of a teammate’s centering pass, then gained control of the ball and fired away from inside the Kitchee box. Unfortunately for the legendary marksman, his shot was cleared away by Daniel Cancela.
Afterwards, the game slowed down considerably, and the next scoring chance did not occur until right before the half hour mark. On the 29th minute, Riki Harakawa belted a curling free-kick towards the Kitchee net. Harakawa’s effort looked set to enter the Kitchee goal, only to hit the goal-post and stayed out of the net. The game remained goalless at this point.
Cerezo Osaka produced another great scoring chance. On the 37th minute, Yusuke Maruhashi knocked a dangerous cross into the Kitchee penalty area. Yoshito Okubo leapt high but saw his thumping header denied by an acrobatic save from Paulo Da Silva. The first half ended goalless heading into half time.
The pace of the match slowed down quite a bit in the second half. On the 48th minute, Riki Harakawa unleashed a low drive from just outside the Kitchee penalty area but failed to trouble Paulo Da Silva in the Kitchee net.
On the 62nd minute, Yusuke Maruhashi’s corner-kick found substitute Tiago Pagnussat inside the Kitchee box. The burly defender dove for the ball but headed it over the crossbar.
Moments later, Riki Harakawa’s corner-kick picked out Tiago Pagnussat in the Kitchee penalty area. The Brazilian dished out a dangerous header but nodded the ball wide.
Kitchee came up with its first shot of the game on the 73rd minute. Cleiton Velasques cut inside from the left wing and pulled the trigger on a long-range drive, only to send the ball wide off target.
Afterwards, things swung back to Cerezo Osaka’s side. On the 80th minute, Ayumu Seko connected with a teammate’s free-kick delivery but headed the ball over the Kitchee crossbar.
On the 88th minute, Cerezo Osaka came up with one last chance to break the deadlock. Yusuke Maruhashi’s cross was one-timed by Toshiyuki Tagaki towards goal. Unfortunately for the J.League side, Tagaki’s shot went wide off the Kitchee net.
Both sides failed to unlock each other throughout ninety minutes, as Kitchee held Cerezo Osaka to a 0:0 draw at the final whistle.
Photo source: Kitchee