OSAKA – Oita Trinita moved back into the top three following a scoreless draw away to struggling Cerezo Osaka on Saturday.
Miguel Angel Lotina’s Cerezo looked the more dangerous side at drizzly Yanmar Stadium, but squandered numerous chances and finished a third straight league match without a goal.
The surprise team of the early season, newly promoted Trinita tried to dictate the flow with their passing game, but likewise struggled to find the target.
Cerezo had a number of chances in the opening 45 minutes, first through Yasuki Kimoto, who headed wide following a set-piece delivery from Hiroshi Kiyotake, then Toshiyuki Takagi, who shot wide from just inside the area.
The visitors defended desperately to avoid conceding in the 15th minute, blocking close-range shots in quick succession from Kiyotake and Leandro Desabato.
Cerezo striker Ken Tokura missed the mark five minutes later, heading wide after Kimoto found him in front of goal with a short cross.
Cerezo went close in the 61st minute when center back Matej Jonjic headed over the bar from a Kiyotake corner kick.
Tomohiro Katanosaka’s men were at their most dangerous on the counterattack, spreading the ball quickly to the wings before crossing to forwards Ado Onaiwu and J1 joint top scorer Noriaki Fujimoto.
Fujimoto forced the first save of the match in the 65th minute, shooting straight at Cerezo goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon on the turn after the hosts lost possession in their own half.
As Cerezo pressed for a late winner, Eiichi Katayama found Jonjic in front of goal with a long throw, but the big center back headed straight at Trinita ‘keeper Shun Takagi.
Despite Cerezo’s prolonged failure to find the net, Kiyotake said his team was not in a scoring drought and simply needed to stay the course.
“Of course we have to score, but we just need to keep playing positively,” the club captain said. “As a team, we wanted to play at a fast pace, but without losing control, and I think we managed to do that today.”
With the point, Cerezo climbed one place to 13th, having managed just two wins from their nine league matches.