Well, if Gifu were wondering how hard their introduction to the 2013 season would be, Vissel Kobe provided them with a definitive answer by handing them a very comprehensive 4-0 defeat.

Gifu made one change from the the team that lost at home against Yokohama FC, Shun Nogaito coming in for Masato Yamazaki. Nogaito’s inclusion meant that Daiki Oizumi occupied a (kind of) left wing-back role, although it would more than likely result in him concentrating on defensive duties as opposed to bombing forward. The hosts started with Popo, Tashiro & Mazinho (thus opting to leave out Arita & Tokura) in a very attacking line-up, probably sensing that Gifu were just going to sit back and try to protect their goal.

As it was, that tactic went up in smoke after only a quarter of an hour as Popo crossed from the right and Tashiro smashed a fine volley past Tokihisa. It was rapidly becoming one way traffic and only 7 minutes later Vissel made it 2-0. Mazinho’s free kick from the left was met by a towering header from Lee, who rose above Desmond to double Kobe’s lead. The wave of Kobe attacks kept coming and Popo really should have made it three before half time but he somehow slammed his shot against the bar when it seemed easier to score. But at the half, it was Vissel 2-0 Gifu.

Gifu made one change at half time, with the highly touted Kiyomoto replacing Oizumi, but the change made little difference to the flow of the game – it was still all Kobe. Mazinho & Popo both missed chances before Tashiro netted his second to make it 3-0 after being played in by Popo. It was another very sharp finish from the frontman. 15 minutes from time, Popo himself got in on the act, scoring after swiveling neatly in the area and firing past the helpless Tokihisa. Other chances came and went but when the full time whistle blew it finished 4-0 to Kobe.

Positives for Gifu: Um….things can only get easier. As I stated before the season, this was a particularly tough start. Next week’s game against Thespa Kusatsu Gunma will give us a clearer indication as to where Gifu are at this moment.

Negatives for Gifu: Not really a true negative, but they were expectedly outclassed by a far superior unit. One thing that will irk is conceding from set pieces. It is not that Gifu’s defenders are small, so it is something to look at.

Next up: Thespa Kusatsu Gunma, next Sunday 7pm at Nagaragawa.

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