Consadole Sapporo 1-2 FC Gifu

Just three days after Gifu’s worst performance of the season came a superb bounceback performance as Gifu left the beautiful city of Sapporo with all three points.

FC Gifu starting XI: Tokizawa, Masuyama, Watanabe, Okane, Nogaito, Kazama, Henik, Takachi, Aoki, Namba, Leo Mineiro.

Gifu, not surprisingly, made some changes from the team that lost 0-3 at home to Oita on Sunday with Koya Kazama coming back into the team in place of the suspended Gilsinho. Both full backs were replaced – Masuyama in for Abe and Nogaito in for Fuji. and the impressive and hard-working Tsubasa Aoki came in to partner Henik in the centre of midfield.

Consadole almost took the lead immediately as defender Uehara found himself unmarked 7 yards out, but Tokizawa palmed the ball over. Gifu started to get into the game and they took the lead just after the half hour. J2’s assist king Keiji Takachi swung in a vicious corner and Masaki Watanabe glanced in a header at the near post. It was the defenders first goal for the club, and what a time to get it.

Just before half time, defender Naoya Okane had to be alert to block a Sapporo attack down the left but that was about the limit of Consa’s attacking threat and Gifu went in at the break 1-0 up.

Sapporo again came out the blocks quick and “Gifu-killer” Uchimura was first to test Tokizawa, but Satoshi held on his shot at the second attempt. Consadole then wasted a couple of good chances as Arano and then Horikome both failed to keep their cool when staring down on goal.

Gifu came so close to a second when Henik thumped a howitzer against the crossbar, and then minutes later Leo Mineiro smashed his penalty – won by himself – against the bar too. Leo made amends for that miss when took a beautiful pass from Hiroaki Namba, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the empty net in the 93rd minute.

Game over.

But not quite as Consadole’s Uehara headed in a goal in the 95th minute to give Gifu more than a few scares, but the final whistle went soon after and Gifu got the win they craved after such a disappointing defeat on Sunday.

Next up for Gifu is another crucial game, this time at the K’s Denki Stadium against fellow strugglers Mito Hollyhock. Gifu have won their last three away games, and so will go there in confident mood.

FC Gifu 0-3 Oita Trinita

Gifu’s recent good form came to a grinding halt as a fired up Oita Trinita side breathed life into their survival battle with a crucial win.

Oita fans had plenty to celebrate

Oita started the game really well, and they took the lead early when Akihiro Hyodo lashed in a shot from 25 yards out, past the despairing dive of Satoshi Tokizawa. Worse was to come for Gifu as Rei Matsumoto doubled Oita’s lead, taking full advantage of some very slack marking in the Gifu area.

Gifu’s pre match huddle

The second half didn’t get much better, and when man-of-the-match Hirotaka Tameda scored a fine individual goal to make it 3-0, Gifu’s misery was complete. But actually it wasn’t as there was still time for Gilsinho to get sent off.

A really horrible result that punctured all the recent optimism, ahead of a crucial 5 days when we face Consadole Sapporo and then fellow strugglers Mito hollyhock.

Gifu supporters pre-game

FC Gifu 1-0 Giravanz Kitakyushu

Ruy Ramos’ men made it three league wins in a row after a spirited victory against a decent visiting side.

FC Gifu starting XI: Tokizawa, Abe, Watanabe, Okane, Fuji, Henik, Takachi, Gilsinho, Kazama, Leo Mineiro, Namba

This, I think, is Gifu’s strongest side. You could make an argument for either Nogaito or Fuji at left back, but it is clear that Ramos slightly prefers the ex-Kitakyushu man.

Gifu’s ex-Kitakyushu full back Yuki Fuji

The game started off at a frenetic pace, and Masanori Abe was unlucky not to open the scoring. A Gilsinho pass found the full-back in acres of space but Abe’s shot from the edge of the area cannoned back off the crossbar. Minutes later, the visiting side hit the bar – Kazuki Hara’s free kick being tipped on to the bar by Satoshi Tokizawa. Kitakyushu again hit the cross bar minutes later, Komatsu’s header beating Tokizawa but not beating the bar.

Tokizawa tips the ball on to the bar

Gifu took the lead in the 17th minute, and it came after great work from Gifu’s captain. Takachi got the ball on the right touchline just inside the Giravanz half and embarked on a mazy dribble that culminated in a pass to Leo Mineiro, and the popular Brazilian cut inside before curling the ball into the bottom corner to put Gifu 1-0 up.

The rest of the half was an even affair, but Gifu held their lead and went in a the break 1-0 up. The score being the same score that had won them their previous two league outings, so confidence was high among the fans that it would be enough to seal another precious win.

Gifu supporters celebrate Leo’s goal

The visitors were in no mood to back down though, and Gifu struggled to clear their lines as Kazuya Maeda seemed to dominate absolutely everything in the air. He should have equalized as well, but his header from a corner went agonizingly wide. Gifu weren’t without their chances, and Leo Mineiro almost got his second of the game, but his shot rolled just the wrong side of the post. Tsubasa Aoki & Junki Endo came on for Gifu to give the side a fresh energy boost and, despite a few scares, the team secured their third 1-0 victory in a row.

The scoreboard tells the story

Gifu are now in 20th position – something that looked unthinkable after the second 5-0 drubbing by Omiya back in July. The triangle of Tokizawa, Okane & Watanabe have a lot to do with it – the last goal they conceded as a unit was Keiji Tamada’s penalty against Cerezo Osaka back on August 15th. The re-emergence of Leo Mineiro, arguably Gifu’s most important player has also paid dividends for Ruy Ramos.

Leo Mineiro salutes the fans post game

Next up is bottom side Oita Trinita, and if Gifu can win it will put them 9 points clear of bottom place and looking up rather than down. Gifu will never have a better chance to win four league games in a row, so here’s hoping for another repeat performance from both players and supporters alike.

We Are Gifu!

FC Gifu v Giravanz Kitakyushu

FC Gifu return to league action as they look to make it three wins in a row for the first time in…..well, ages as the bright yellow clad Giravanz Kitakyushu team rolls into Gifu on Sunday evening.

FC Gifu recent form:

  • 9/6 – vs JEF United Chiba (EC) (A): lost 0-1
  • 8/30 – vs KGU (EC) (H): won 2-1
  • 8/26 – vs ThespaKusatsu Gunma (A): won 1-0
  • 8/22 – vs Tochigi SC (A): won 1-0

Gifu have had the “luxury” of resting players during their Emperor’s cup games. Captain Keiji Takachi has played sparingly, missing the game against KGU, and only coming on as a sub against JEF, and the same goes for Hiroaki Namba. Koya Kazama and Masaki Watanabe were cup tied, so they got some rest too. Leo Mineiro on the other hand got some much needed playing time as he continues his comeback from injury. Fatigue is not going to be an excuse for Gifu.

Leo Mineiro & Hiroaki Namba could start up front together

Gifu have recently played their best football on the road, and have been much more solid defensively as of late. Many people are going into this game with more confidence than previous home games. But this is a tricky Team to beat, Kitakyushu – coached by the superb Koichi Hashiratani  – represent a huge hurdle in Gifu’s quest for survival in J2.

FC Gifu’s key man: Masaki Watanabe


It is no coincidence that once Watanabe settled in after arriving on loan from Ventforet Kofu, Gifu’s defensive record started to improve. No nonsense and hard as nails, Watanabe loves the physical side of defending, and will relish the challenge of playing against one of his former clubs tonight. If Watanabe plays well, Gifu will have a good chance of winning.

Giravanz Kitakyushu recent form: 

  • 9/5 – vs Mito Hollyhock (EC) (A): lost 1-2
  • 8/29 – vs J.FC Miyazaki (EC) (H): won 2-1
  • 8/23 – vs Mito Hollyhock (H): drew 2-2
  • 8/15 – vs Roasso Kumamoto (A): won 1-0
Giravanz supporters will bring lots of yellow to Gifu

Giravanz Kitakyushu away form in 2015: 

  • wins: 7
  • draws: 1
  • losses: 7

So it is usually all or nothing when Giravanz travel away, with their only away draw of the season coming at the Sapporo dome.

Top scorers: 

  • Kazuki Hara & Rui Komatsu – 9

Two different strikers, with Hara being more mobile and Komatsu being more of a traditional big target man.

Emperor’s Cup 2nd round

If last weekend was a successful one for both of Gifu’s clubs in the Japanese cup competition, then this one was a painful one.

Tokushima Vortis 1-0 FC Gifu Second

Despite a brave rearguard effort, FC Gifu Second fell to a late Rikuto Hirose goal at the Pocari Sweat Stadium in Naruto. The J2 side piled on the pressure from the off and bombarded the Seconds, but the defence stood firm. Getting to half time at 0-0 was a fine achievement for Ramos Junior’s men, but it looked like they were going to go one down when the hosts were awarded a penalty. Gifu native Tomohiro Tsuda stepped up to take it, but Second ‘keeper Toshihito Adachi went down low to his left to save, and the ball cleared to safety.

It looked like the game would go to extra time, but Hirose popped up with the winner in the 85th minute to break the Seconds’ hearts.

Ramos junior can be rightly proud of his charges, and now he can lead them in the Japan amateur championship, which starts soon.

JEF United Chiba 1-0 FC Gifu

The top team suffered the same fate as their little brothers, although they can feel slightly aggrieved to be on the losing side. It was a stronger team than the one which faced KGU last week, although Hiroaki Namba & Keiji Takachi were still on the bench as Junki Endo & Leo Mineiro led Gifu’s front line, and Gilsinho made his first start for the club.

At the end of a fairly even first half, Riki Matsuda put the hosts ahead when the ball rebounded off the crossbar and literally hit him a yard out, and the ball rolled in. Gifu attacked in the second half, and came closest when Namba, Leo & Higa all had efforts blocked in a goalmouth scramble, and Leo also flashed a shot over the bar.

Unfortunately, Gifu couldn’t find an equalizer and bowed out of the Tennouhai at the second round stage

Emperor’s Cup – JEF United Chiba v FC Gifu

After winning their first Emperor’s Cup game in what seems like an eternity, Gifu are rewarded with a trip to face fellow J2 outfit JEF United Chiba. It is a bit early in the week for team news, so I’ll just provide a few stats regarding the teams.

FC Gifu recent away form:

  • 7/26 – Omiya Ardija: Lost 0-5
  • 8/15 – Cerezo Osaka: Lost 0-1
  • 8/23 – Tochigi SC: Won 1-0
  • 8/26 – ThespaKusatsu Gunma: Won 1-0

Defensively, Gifu are a completely different team than the one that capitulated to Omiya back in July. A lot of that has to do with the effect that Masaki Watanabe has had, and also the form of Satoshi Tokizawa in goal. Both of these players missed out in the opening round (Watanabe possibly through the terms of his loan contract, Tokizawa was rested) so it will be interesting to see if Tokizawa returns for this game.

Ramos’ calculated gamble of leaving out many first teamers on Sunday just about worked, but I don’t think they’ll be as fortunate against JEF. I expect to see Keiji Takachi come back in, Henik too. I’m not sure what the plans are for Hiroaki Namba, but it wouldn’t surprise if Gilsinho was given a start.

Gilsinho came on to make his debut
Gilsinho could start against Chiba

JEF United recent home form:

  • 7/26 – Roasso Kumamoto: Lost 2-3
  • 8/1 – Tokushima Vortis: Won 1-0
  • 8/15 – V-Varen Nagasaki: Drew 1-1

A veritable mixed bag of home results for the Fukuda Denshi Arena based team. But last year’s Emperor’s Cup run for them was a different story.

2014 Emperor’s Cup results – JEF United:

  • 1st round – JEF United 3-2 Nagano Parceiro
  • 2nd round – Kashiwa Reysol 1-1 JEF United (JEF win on pens)
  • 3rd round – V-Varen Nagasaki 1-2 JEF United
  • Quarter final – Cerezo Osaka 0-1 JEF United
  • Semi final – JEF United 2-3 Montedio Yamagata

So JEF do have some very recent history in this competition, and they’ll be eyeing this game as a chance to progress into the later rounds once again.

JEF United vs FC Gifu history 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
  • 2014 – JEF United 1-0 FC Gifu
  • 2015 – JEF United 3-1 FC Gifu

Last time?

  • Gifu gave a very good account of themselves in the first half, going ahead via a Hiroaki Namba header and having numerous other chances. But, as is often the way with Gifu, they conceded a soft goal right on half time, and Chiba dominated the second half and deservedly ran out 3-1 winners, Necj Pecnik putting the icing on the cake with JEF’s third of the day.

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