Soccer: Okuno, Katayama give Cerezo 2-0 win over S-Pulse

©Kyodo News

Hiroaki Okuno broke a goalless deadlock in the second half and Eiichi Katayama extended the lead for the hosts as Cerezo Osaka beat Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0 in the J-League first division on Wednesday.

In their second match since the season resumed after a four-month suspension due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Okuno put Cerezo on the scoreboard in the 71st minute after he connected on a well-placed pass from defender Yusuke Maruhashi at Yanmar Stadium.

Katayama scored his first goal in the top tier 14 minutes later, the 28-year-old calmly slotting in a rebound off Shimizu keeper Togo Umeda, who had blocked a shot from fellow substitute Yuta Toyokawa.

Cerezo have a perfect 3-0 record in the young season, which was suspended in late February after the first and second divisions each completed their opening round.

"We have started the season well, but we are required to do so much in each and every game. We need to give 100 percent in each match. There is no easy game," said Cerezo head coach Miguel Angel Lotina.

"We need to keep improving or we will be left behind."

Shimizu, on the other hand, are winless under new head coach Peter Cklamovski, who took over in December.

Playing in humid conditions in Osaka, both teams failed to convert numerous chances before halftime. Cerezo had more possession and made nine attempt's compared with Shimizu's three, but lacked a finishing touch.

Shimizu gained momentum and played aggressively after the break, but failed to get a shot past Cerezo keeper Kim Jin Hyeon.

At Yurtec Stadium, Shinzo Koroki scored Urawa Reds' 83rd-minute winner in a 2-1 away victory against Vegalta Sendai.

The J-League top flight, which resumed on July 4, is scheduled to begin accepting fans this weekend.