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Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 Cerezo Osaka: Ten-man visitors slip back into the drop zone

Cerezo’s worries at the wrong end of the table continued, their recent win against leaders Urawa Reds forgotten, as they were outplayed and brushed aside by Shimizu S-Pulse.

And their depleted side - with Hotaru Yamaguchi injured, Aria Hasegawa and Yusuke Maruhashi suspended and Takumi Minamino called up by the Japan Under-19 team - slipped back into the relegation zone to boot.

For Yuji Okuma’s men it was an uphill battle after eight minutes, when a shot by Hideki Ishige from just outside the area took a deflection and beat keeper Kim Jin-hyeon.

Slovenian international Milivoje Novakovic should have made it 2-0 for the home side only four minutes later, but his shot hit the post. Cerezo’s best chance came in the 27th minute, when Kenyu Sugimoto darted inside the penalty area and fired wide from a narrow angle.

In the 58th minute, Cerezo had Junpei Kusukami sent off for a reckless tackle. They had four other players shown yellow cards, perhaps underlining the seriousness of their plight.  

Shimizu extended their lead in the 77th minute, after a blunder by Kim Jin-hyeon allowed Yasuhiro Hiraoka to head into an open goal.

Their triumph was completed in time added on, when Kazuya Murata broke away on the counter, rounded Jin-hyeon and found the back of the net.