Omiya Ardija 2-0 Cerezo Osaka: Mrda seals fate on dismal season

Both sides will play in the J2 next season as Yuji Okuma ends his tenure in charge with yet another defeat
Cerezo Osaka wrapped up a hugely disappointing season with another defeat in the final game, but the pain was shared as Omiya Ardija joined them in J2 despite this victory.

Cerezo, relegated the previous weekend after a 4-1 home defeat against Kashima Antlers, surrendered this time to a goal in each half from Shin Kanazawa and Serbian striker Dragan Mrda.

However, with Shimizu S-Pulse securing a goalless draw at home to Ventforet Kofu, Omiya's fate was sealed.

Yet they were too strong for Cerezo, who were without the suspended Cacau and out-of-favour Diego Forlan. Having already seen Koji Hashimoto hit the post, the hosts took a deserved lead on 21 minutes when Zlatan Ljubijankic got away down the right and his cross was converted, with the aid of a deflection, by Kanazawa.

Cerezo did their best to try to rally, with the busy Takumi Minamino hitting the post with an effort that rather summed up his frustrating season. Ryo Nagai also attempted an acrobatic overhead kick, but it came to nothing.

Omiya were the more adventurous side after the break too and they duly doubled their advantage after 51 minutes.

Yuta Someya was unable to convert a free header from a Cerezo corner and Tatsuya Yamashita was soon caught in possession on the Cerezo right as the hosts started a swift counterattack.

The relentless Mrda wrestled the ball from the full-back, fed Ljubijankic and then converted the return pass from 10 yards out. Goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon might have done better, as might the Cerezo defence.

It marked the final game in charge for Yuji Okuma, who now resumes his youth team duties for Cerezo. Meanwhile, the search for a new coach - and a way back to J1 - begins.

In the blue half of Osaka, Gamba were celebrating their unlikely title success in their first season back after promotion. The bar has been set high for Cerezo.