Pre-season: Cerezo Osaka 2-0 FC Gifu

Yesterday FC Gifu played a behind closed doors friendly against this year’s J2 promotion favourites Cerezo Osaka, and lost 2-0.

I can’t find any details of what team was put out, but Cerezo’s goals came in the first half from Masataka Nishimoto & Ryo Nagai.

Gifu continue their pre-season with a game against Gainare Tottori on Saturday at the Nagaragawa Meadow, a game that should see both Tomohiro Tanaka (currently on loan) and Ryuji Hirota return to Gifu.

FC Gifu 2-3 Nagoya Grampus

Gifu were beaten by neighbours Nagoya in an entertaining pre-season game at a rainy & cold Nagaragawa stadium.

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FC Gifu starting XI: Ota, Masuyama, Fuji, Takagi, Fukaya, Henik, Miyazawa, Takachi, Rodrigo, Kiyomoto, Namba

Gifu took the lead in the first half when Keiji Takachi tapped in from close range after good work from Takumi Kiyomoto down the left. The home side doubled the lead in the second half when Hiroaki Namba scored at the second time of asking, but conceded almost immediately after when Yusuke Muta scored. New Nagoya signing Miljove Novakovic equalized from the spot and Riki Matsuda hit the winner.

Here are just some brief thoughts on the game:

  1. Gifu’s new system looked good. They started with a flat back four, two holding midfielders, Rodrigo & Kiyomoto on the wings and Keiji Takachi behind Hiroaki Namba. It always gave Gifu two natural outlets and the pace & energy of the wingers looked good. As long as the holding midfielders are solid, as they were in the first half, that formation shows signs of working.

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  1. Height = good. True, Gifu did concede from a set piece, but both Takagi & Fukaya had chances to score at the other end. Gifu don’t look like they will be as vulnerable in the air this year and they could well pose more of a threat in the opponents area too.
  2. Keiji Takachi picked up right where he left last year. He was superb in midfield, and his dead-ball delivery will be great for the new tall targets.

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  1. Gifu is in safe hands. Gakuji Ota, essentially Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi’s back up gave an assured display despite conceding three goals. He isn’t afraid to command his area, has excellent distribution and good reflexes.

After the game, coach Ruy Ramos said the team still isn’t where it should be in terms of readiness for the new season, thoughts echoed by Keiji Takachi post-match. Ramos also said he is looking forward to getting Leo Mineiro in the squad, but he isn’t in match condition right now. The team have two weeks before they travel to Fagiano Okayama for the season opener.

Pre-season: FC Gifu v Nagoya Grampus

After a brief hiatus, the “Meigi derby” is back, and it represents a prime chance for both teams to finalize their preparations for the upcoming season.

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What will we see from FC Gifu?

After rather mixed results in their tour/camp in Okinawa (Gifu lost to Sagan Tosu & FC Ryukyu), coach Ramos will be looking for a bit of solidity in the team. It would not surprise me to see a “double volante” – that is two holding midfielders – of Henik & Masashi Miyazawa. It will be interesting to see who plays in defence. Yuki Fukaya will because he’s captain. I also see Tsukasa Masuyama in the side and I assume Yuki Fuji will be there too. That leaves Kazumichi Takagi, Masanori Abe, Naoya OkaneHiroshi Sekita & Keigo Omi vying for the final defensive places.

Further forward, young players such as Ryutaro Karube & Yudai Ogawa were given good reviews at camp and Yuto Ono will look for a chance.

Up front, I expect all of Gifu’s strikers to be given a chance at some point in the game (although that depends on how fit new signing Leo Mineiro is). Everyone at the club is excited about Junki Endo’s sophomore year, while Rodrigo is an unknown at this point. Hiroaki Namba, the club’s spiritual leader, will probably start up front.

What will we see from Nagoya Grampus?

Coach Akira Nishino is, like Ruy Ramos, gearing up for his second season in charge. The squad has a lot of attacking talent as they can call upon Kensuke Nagai, Kengo Kawamata, Milove Novakovic and Leandro Domingues. Their defence, marshaled by the iconic Marcos Tulio Tanaka, was breachable last year, and one wonders if the same will be true this year as they didn’t really strengthen that area.

Match details

  • KO 1:30pm, Sunday February 22nd
  • Nagaragawa Memorial Centre Stadium
  • Live on Me-tere (Channel 6 on your TV…..probably)

Welcome to Leo Mineiro

This week, FC Gifu announced the signing of Brazilian forward Leo Mineiro on loan from Atletico Paranaense in Brazil.

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Photo courtesy of FC Gifu

He is described as a player with pace, likes to dribble and who has an eye for goal.

Leo Mineiro comments:

  • “I was offered the number 9 shirt, but when I heard the number 33 was available, I chose that because it is a lucky number for me. I think this opportunity represents the biggest opportunity of my career, but I feel it also represents my last chance to impress abroad. I feel that this is a turning point in my life, and I hope to contribute to the team as much as possible.”

Welcome Leo!!

Leo Mineiro facts:

  • DOB – October 3rd, 1990
  • Age – 24
  • Position – forward
  • Squad number – 33
  • Height – 178cm
  • Weight – 78kg
  • Previous clubs – Atletico Paranaense, Parana Clube, Villanova, America Mineiro, Jeju United (Korea)

Okinwa camp report

Gifu will be heading back from their Okinawan camp soon, but they will be heading back after suffering defeats against J1 side Sagan Tosu and J3 side FC Ryukyu.

The defeat against Sagan Tosu was a 0-3 scoreline, a good reminder that the defence still has work to do to get ready for the new season. Tosu fielded Japan international Yohei Toyoda and ultimately proved too good for Gifu.

In their final game in Okinawa, Gifu lost 2-1 against “home” side FC Ryukyu. Young midfielder Takumi Kiyomoto scored Gifu’s goal and both back-up goalkeepers, Gakuji Ota & Satoshi Tokizawa, got some game time.

The word coming out of the camp is new signing Ryutaro Karube, a 22 year old graduate from Meiji University, is looking like a very good player. He certainly looks like an intriguing prospect. He stands at nearly 190cm, likes to get on the ball in midfield and spent time in Kawasaki Frontale’s youth system before going to university.

FC Gifu continue their warm weather training this week before heading back to a now-snowy Gifu.

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