The Japanese side came from behind to secure a point against J League visitors Yokohama F Marinos on SaturdayA late Kenyu Sugimoto goal salvaged a 2-2 draw for Cerezo Osaka on Saturday, with visitors Yokohama F Marinos ruing two points dropped.
The match marked the first in Cerezo’s pink shirt for former Seongnam FC midfielder Kim Sun-Joon as well as striker Kai Hirano, who arrived last month from Thailand’s Buriram United.
Coming off their comeback win at Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday, Marinos took control of the game early on with an attack centred on captain Shunsuke Nakamura and striker Manabu Saito. Despite some good approach play by Takahiro Ogihara and Hotaru Yamaguchi, Cerezo were rarely able to venture into the final third and struggled against the Marinos defence.
Yet they were able to take advantage of the few chances they had: as the first half drew to a close, Hirano sprinted into the box to meet Jun Ando’s cross with a well-aimed header to open the scoring.
Cerezo manager Marco Pezzaiuoli attempted to raise the level of his team’s attack after half-time by introducing Diego Forlan, but the Uruguayan was unable to influence the game. Despite valiant efforts by goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon, a poor clearance by Yusuke Maruhashi resulted in an unfortunate own-goal to bring the visitors even in the 66th minute.
With 10 minutes remaining, Saito gave Marinos hope for a crucial away win with his second goal in as many games as his close-range effort bounced off a defender and into the net.
But 21-year-old Sugimoto saved the day for Cerezo in additional time, beating Marinos goalkeeper Tetsuya Enomoto in a one-on-one to prevent his side from suffering a fourth straight league loss.
Cerezo, 14th in the table, will be desperate for a win at relegation strugglers Ventforet Kofu on Wednesday, while ninth-place Marinos host Vissel Kobe.