JEF United Chiba v FC Gifu

Team news: There are question marks surrounding the fitness of FC Gifu’s south American pair of Nazarit & Kleiton Domingues. Nazarit missed last week’s draw against Consadole Sapporo with a calf strain and he hasn’t looked fully fit in training. Maybe he just needs another week to get fully fit – but it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to see him on the bench.

As for Kleiton, I’m not really sure what the deal is with him. He looked good last week and his late game tiredness was to be expected after being out for so long. I’m not aware of any injury, unless it was picked up in training in the last couple of days.

My predicted FC Gifu starting line up: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Mori, Abe, Henik, Miyazawa, Mizuno, Takachi, Ota, Kleiton (Endo), Namba

 

Top scorers:

  • FC Gifu – Nazarit, 14
  • JEF United – Kempes, 10

Form guide (last 5 games, most recent first):

  • FC Gifu: DDWLD
  • JEF United: LDWLD

Previous meetings in Chiba:

  • 2010: JEF United 2-0 FC Gifu
  • 2011: JEF United 3-1 FC Gifu
  • 2012: JEF United 0-1 FC Gifu
  • 2013: JEF United 1-1 FC Gifu

Overall J.League record:

  • Gifu wins: 2
  • JEF wins: 4
  • Draws: 3

What happened last time?

Oh, nothing much. Except this thunderbolt from ex-JEF player Tsukasa Masuyama.

“We are one” – the FC Gifu J1 challenge

As the season rolls into its final third, FC Gifu are fighting an even more important battle off the pitch.

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Earlier this month, President Onda, Ruy Ramos and others launched the “FC Gifu J1 challenge” – a campaign that is aimed at getting FC Gifu a J1 license next year.

For those unfamiliar with the J.League system, a club wishing to take part in the top division must pass a series of checks including, but not limited to, stadium seats, covering, training facilities and financial health. FC Gifu have eliminated their “excessive debt” ensuring that they will pass that particular check. The other ones listed are still works in progress – and I mean progress very loosely. Currently, FC Gifu have no training ground of their own. Instead they have to train at various places around the prefecture. The one they use the most doesn’t have a clubhouse, meaning no shower room, no press facilities and limited medical facilities.

The club have a plan to build a clubhouse on city owned land in the north west of the city, land which is situated next to one of the places Gifu use to train. What the club really needs is people-backing. Estimates state that if they get around 50,000 signatures, the city authorities will deem it enough for a planning permission/ground sale or lease meeting and from there it should be a relatively smooth process – assuming all the money is in place.

The challenge, as it were, is to get that number of people to sign a petition stating that they would be in favour of a clubhouse being built on that site. In addition to this, supporters were asked to sign giant flags with messages of support, and these will go on display at JR Gifu Station in the centre of the city in another highly visible show of support.

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The second arm of the petition is to persuade the city authorities to upgrade the Nagaragawa Memorial Centre stadium to include 15,000 seats – the number required for a J1 licence. Currently, the stadium has 13,500 seats.  There has been recent movement in this area with the news that the city are preparing to make a financial assessment of the seating situation.

Things are beginning to move fast, and they need to as the deadline for J1 licence applications is July next year. It sounds like a long time, but there are so many things to sort out & finalize, not to mention a football team look after and nurture. As of this weekend, the campaign has garnered

The slogan for this campaign is: ぎふをげんきに!ぎふをひとつに!Roughly translated that means “We (Gifu) are powerful! We are one!” Let’s hope so, because the club will need the support of the citizens to progress.

Arai out for 6 months

As previously reported, FC Gifu central defender Tatsuya Arai suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury during training earlier this month, and he has undergone surgery to repair it.

The timetable for his recovery is estimated at around 6 months. If he needs advice on how to deal with an injury such as this he can confide in Taira Inoue & Yuki Kukaya, both of whom have suffered similar cruciate ligament injuries.

Get well soon Tatsuya!!

Consadole Sapporo event round up

While FC Gifu lost two points to a late Consadole Sapporo equalizer, there were plenty of other things happening in and around the stadium on Sunday evening.

Transport festival

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As part of “Kakamigahara thanks day” we got a selection of vehicles from Kawasaki heavy industries. Although it is a Kobe company, one of the main military machine part factories is in Kakamigahara, a small city just to the east of Gifu city.

Mini steam train

As Japan is a nation of train lovers, this was bound to go down well. And it did. My friend took his kids on it several times – although I think he was using it as an excuse to satisfy his own trainspotting urges.

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Taiko Performance

The Taiko drums, ranging from huge kettle drums to small handheld drums, were expertly played by the Kakamigahara Taiko drum group.

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Brass Band performance

The Gifu Commercial High School brass band, the number 1 brass band performance group in the entire country, gave a brilliant performance pre-game.

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Because I was at pitch level, it is difficult to show the scale of the performance. Trust me when I  say it was big and it was excellent.

The helicopter

If anyone has seen the TV series “24”, they’ll know that when a helicopter arrives in shot it is either very very good news, or extremely bad news. Thankfully, this time, it was the former as a helicopter from Kawasaki Heavy Industries delivered the matchball by dropping it out of said helicopter. Superb drama, and one that Gifu officials were incredibly relieved went well if the sighs of relief on the sideline were anything to go by.

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There are plenty more events lined up for the game next Tuesday lunchtime – it is a public holiday – against Roasso Kumamoto. It’ll be well worth being there!

FC Gifu 1-1 Consadole Sapporo

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Gifu surrender yet another lead, this time against a team with 10 men, to hand Ivica Barbaric a precious point on his full Sapporo debut.

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FC Gifu starting XI: Kawaguchi, Abe, Henik, Mori, Masuyama, Mizuno, Miyazawa, Takachi, Kleiton, Ota, Namba

Both teams had chances to take the lead in a pretty even first period. Hiroaki Namba lofted a chip just over the Consadole cross-bar and Keisuke Ota fizzed a shot just wide, while at the other end giant Brazilian defender Paulon headed wide after evading his marker. It looked like the first half would end goalless, but Kleiton Domingues struck right on the whistle. He picked up the ball 25 yards out and his shot took a deflection which took it past Junki Kanayama in the Consadole goal – a goal which his bright performance merited.

Gifu started the second half on the front foot, but weren’t able to capitalize on the territorial superiority. Kleiton struck a free kick just over, and Masanori Abe’s superb cross evaded everyone in the box. Gifu looked like they had received a boost when Paulon was sent off for a second booking, but the sending off seemed to affect Gifu a lot, and they began to get pushed back more and more. Led by the superb Yoshihiro Uchimura, Consadole probed & probed and finally got the equalizer they probably just deserved in the 88th minute. Uchimura was in the right place at the right time to fire in a loose ball although there did look to be a Consadole player blocking Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi’s view in an offside position.

There was still time for Gifu to go agonizingly close to a winner, but Keiji Takachi’s close range shot was tipped wide by Kanayama and so the game finished 1-1.

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Another tale of “what might have been” for FC Gifu. So many times at home this year they have dropped points when they should have. If they had held all of their leads, they would comfortably be in the play-off places. But they’re not, and that is the plain truth.

Still, onwards & upwards – and eastwards as FC Gifu head to the Fukuda Denshi Arena to take on a reeling JEF United Chiba on Saturday. Tsukasa Masuyama struck a sensational goal there last year, and here’s hoping lightning can strike twice.

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FC Gifu v Consadole Sapporo

Team news:

FC Gifu have no new injury concerns, and I think they’ll stick with the same defence that has kept clean sheets in the last two games. Henik was less than convincing last time out, but has earned the chance to recover. In midfield, Kleiton Domingues came on at half time last week and it wouldn’t surprise me if he kept his place at Mizuno’s expense. Hiroaki Namba & Junki Endo, who scored his first ever J.League goal in the reverse fixture, are competing for a spot up front partnering Nazarit.

My predicted FC Gifu starting XI: Kawaguchi, Tanaka, Abe, Henik, Masuyama, Mori, Kleiton, Takachi, Ota, Endo, Nazarit

For Consadole Sapporo, they will be without the suspended defender Tatsuki Nara and they have a long injury list to contend with – with Shinji Ono’s name the headline on it. Consadole’s main talking point will the “debut” of new manager Ivica Barbaric. Barbaric comes in after the sacking of Keiichi Zaizen and will be under pressure to continue the recent revival (2 wins and draw from the last three games) under Sapporo’s caretaker manager. Barbaric does have experience in the J.League after leading Ehime FC for 4 years between 2009-2012 so he’s not coming into this role completely blind – but one wonders what kind of settling in period he requires.

Top Scorers:

  • FC Gifu: Nazarit – 14
  • Consadole: Tokura – 6

Recent league form (last 5 games, most recent first):

  • FC Gifu: DWLDW
  • Consadole: WWDLL

Previous meetings in Gifu:

  • 2009: FC Gifu 0-3 Consadole Sapporo
  • 2010: FC Gifu 3-0 Consadole Sapporo
  • 2011: FC Gifu 1-3 Consadole Sapporo
  • 2013: FC Gifu 0-3 Consadole Sapporo

Interestingly, one team has scored three goals in the matches in Gifu.

Overall J.League record:

  • FC Gifu wins: 1
  • Consadole wins: 8
  • Draws: 1

Not pretty reading for Gifu supporters, but Gifu should have taken a point in the reverse fixture in Sapporo earlier this year when they fought back from two goals down only to concede an injury time winner. And it should be noted that Gifu’s only win against Sapporo came in Gifu.

Match details:

  • J.League Division 2, matchday 30: FC Gifu v Consadole Sapporo
  • Venue: Nagaragawa Memorial Centre, KO 7pm
  • Broadcast: Live on Gifu-chan, Live on Skapa premium service
  • Weather: Good. Sunny, with temp around 20 at game time.