FC Gifu head north into the kita-alps for a showdown with a Yamaga side that has been great away from home but has yet to win at the Alwin Stadium this year.
Gifu have had mixed news this week with Inoue & Nogaito definitely ruled and the status’ of Someya & Sekita unclear. But they have received a boost in the form of Hiroki Higuchi re-joining the club on loan from Shimizu S-Pulse. If all his paperwork clears in time then he should start on Sunday and it should give Gifu someone to help Atsushi Mio in keeping defenders occupied. Desmond returns from his suspension so he he should slot straight back in at centre half, meaning that two out of Hattori, Ri Han Jae and Masuyama will play in midfield. New midfielder Taisuke Mizuno will also hope to get in the squad, but Gifu already have a couple of young, untried midfielders in Kiyomoto and Hirano so I’m not sure if he will get in immediately.
It is strange to think that Yamaga had such a strong home record last year, but have yet to win at home in 2013. In their three games at home so far this year they have lost against Roasso Kumamoto, drawn against Nagasaki (needing a last minute penalty to do so) and lost against Vissel Kobe (thanks to a Popo wonder strike). Takayuki Funayama is the man in form for Yamaga with 4 goals in 7 appearances but also of importance is Shun Nagasawa. Nagasawa is a target man that other players like Funayama & Shiozawa can play off and although he doesn’t score many goals his worth to the team is more than his goals. He brings other players into the game, and his height serves as a means to release pressure.
Can Gifu end the goal drought, or will Matsumoto get heir first home win of the season under their belt?
Details: Matsumoto Yamaga v FC Gifu, Alwin Stadium, Sunday 1pm KO