Match of the Week: Fireworks on tap as Cerezo and Gamba meet in Osaka Derby

Match of the Week: Fireworks on tap as Cerezo and Gamba meet in Osaka Derby

The battle for Osaka is upon us. Cerezo Osaka and Gamba Osaka, squaring off for city pride. It’s one of the best rivalries in all of Japan and this week it comes to you on Wednesday at 2 pm JST live on the J.League International YouTube channel.

The Sakura have been the better side of the two through the first 10 weeks of the season, sitting eighth in the table and just five points off third place for the final AFC Champions League spot.

Cerezo believe they can climb even higher, and for good reason. They have shown flashes of greatness this season, led by new signing Léo Ceará’s quick assimilation to life in pink. He’s also been well supported by Hiroaki Okuno, while Shinji Kagawa has enjoyed his return to his boyhood club.

Gamba have not had as much success as their rivals in 2023. They’ve managed just one win this season and are second from the bottom of the table. Their defense has been especially problematic, allowing 22 goals in 10 contests.

One would think that the Sakura would hold a big advantage based on form, but derbies have a way of bucking form.

The intensity inside Panasonic Stadium Suita will be at a fever pitch, with the Nerazzurri faithful in full voice to push their side onto victory over their rivals, but tucked away in the top will be a fervor of pink waving flags for a side they love so dearly.

Will the Sakura continue their good play and use a win over their rival to not only claim Osaka supremacy, but also move closer to their goal of residing among the league’s top teams? Or will Gamba pull the upset, planting their flag on the city and using the most emotional of wins to spur a turnaround to their season?

Tune into the J.League International YouTube channel to find out and see one of Japan’s preeminent derbies!