Cerezo Osaka 2-0 Kashiwa Reysol: Okuma enjoys victorious J-League start

The new coach finally got his side back to winning ways thanks to goals from Kenyu Sugimoto and Ryo Nagai

It took a change of coach for Cerezo Osaka finally to achieve the victory they had been chasing for 11 J-League rounds.

Yuji Okuma was promoted from the youth team set-up to replace Marco Pezzaiuoli, who was sacked earlier in the week.

Without their foreign stars in the starting XI - Diego Forlan was on the bench, Cacau injured - and featuring six players from their youth ranks, the Osakans followed up their convincing Emperor’s Cup win against Jubilo Iwata to deservedly defeat Kashiwa Reysol.

The first goal came from Kenyu Sugimoto who, with less than two minutes left on the clock before the end of the first half, headed home a perfect cross from Noriyuki Sakemoto.

It was the goal the home side needed to consolidate their newly-found confidence and it took 18 minutes of the second half for Ryo Nagai to net the second with a clever lob from just inside the box. It was the first goal in J-League for the former Perth Glory striker, and a deserved one.

Kashiwa Reysol did very little to turn around the game and their best chance to cut the deficit came through a diving header by Masato Kudo that went wide.

Yet, with 11 games left before the end of the season, Cerezo are still in the drop zone, one point below Ventforet Kofu and two adrift of Sendai and Shimizu S-Pulse.

Considering crosstown rivals Gamba Osaka’s fine form - they are fifth following their 1-0 win at Sanfrecce Hiroshima - all seems set up for a memorable Osaka derby next Saturday.