TOYOTA CITY, Japan – Kashiwa Reysol took the game all the way to penalty kicks to eliminate Mexican side CF Monterrey at Toyota Stadium in the second quarterfinal of the night. The Sun Kings used inspiration from their recent J-League championship and win over Auckland City FC to push them through to face Brazilian side Santos FC in the semifinal.
It was a fast-paced game in the first few minutes of the encounter. Monterrey forwards Humberto Suazo and Cesar Delgado had good opportunities to put the Mexicans on the board in the opening moments. However, luck was not on their side as Suazo bounced one off the far post.
“We were solid in defense and always dangerous on the counter,” said Reysol Coach Nelsinho after the game. “You always need a bit of luck on penalty shoot-outs, but I think we deserved the win.”
The Mexicans maintained control with short passes, but the Japanese squad had speed on their side making the Rayados fight for possession of every ball. Reysol showed precision passing in the first half and slowly gained control of the midfield. After 45 minutes of play the score remained 0-0.
“The teams were evenly matched throughout. We played aggressively in the first half but unfortunately were unable to score a goal,” said Monterrey Coach Victor Manuel Vucetich. “Penalties are always a bit of a lottery. Kashiwa played well.”
The Reysol began the second half as they finished the first, growing with confidence and controlling the ball against the Mexican side that had no answer to the faster locals.
Midfielder Leandro Domingues off a back pass from Junya Tanaka scored to give the Sun Kings a 1-0 lead. Tanaka took a loose ball and sent it back to Domingues who took a first touch spectacular kick to defeat goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.
Striker Humberto Suazo scored to tie the game five minutes later. Luis Perez began the play from mid field with a pass to Delgado who crossed to Suazo. The Chilean international ran in to bury the ball in the net, leaving goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno standing.
Monterrey took control of the game with 20 minutes left in the game, taking more shots. The Reysol appeared to have lost some of their speed, losing ground to the Mexicans. After regular time, the game remained tied 1-1 and moved into overtime.
The first half of overtime was not much different than the rest of the game, but at a slower tempo. Both teams played more cautious. Reysol managed to win a few corner kicks to maintain the pressure on Monterrey. Vucetich made his first substitutions of the match at the begining of overtime play to strengthen Monterrey’s attack.
Both teams improved in the second half of overtime, but the score stayed 1-1. The team that would advance to the semifinal to face Santos FC would be determined by penalty shoot-out.
Monterrey captain Perez missed the opening shot to start behind on the count. Goalkeeper Orozco would bounce his shot off the lower post to increase the Japanese chance of advancing. However, it was Orozco who would give a glimmer of hope as he blocked Tanaka’s shot. But the precision minded Japanese would not miss the fifth strike and win the game. The Japanese champions advance to play Copa Libertadores (CONMEBOL) champions Santos FC. Monterrey will face Esperance Sportive de Tunis for fifth place.