OSAKA – Substitute Haruya Ide scored a crucial late equalizer as Gamba Osaka earned a 2-2 draw away to local rival Cerezo Osaka in the first leg of the Japanese League Cup semifinals on Wednesday night.
Gamba, last year’s runners-up, opened the scoring in the 16th minute, Shuhei Akasaki unleashing a shot from just outside the box that Cerezo goalkeeper Kenta Tanno will probably feel he should have saved.
Cerezo hit back seven minutes later though, Brazilian striker Ricardo Santos taking a pass from Takaki Fukumitsu and beating Gamba ‘keeper Yosuke Fujigaya with a sumptuous chip.
Yasuki Kimoto looked to have given Cerezo the edge ahead of the second leg on Sunday, glancing in substitute Hiroshi Kiyotake’s pinpoint free kick with nine minutes remaining.
But Ide made it all square in the 86th shortly after coming off the bench, slamming home a half-volley following good work from Ryo Hatsuse on the right flank.
“I am happy to have scored such a crucial goal in the Osaka derby,” said Ide. “I felt how passionate the derby was. We only managed a 2-2 draw, but I am glad I could get us the equalizer.
“We are at home next and I am sure a lot of our fans will come to watch us so hopefully we can get the job done and go to the final.”
In the evening’s other semifinal, Crislan scored twice as Vegalta Sendai beat Kawasaki Frontale 3-2 at home.
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