Gifu welcome promotion chasing Montedio Yamagata to the Nagaragawa Stadium on Sunday hoping to climb off the bottom of the table.
Gifu, after signs of improvement in the games against Matsumoto & Kataller Toyama, reverted to type in their defeat at Tochigi SC last weekend – losing 2-0 and failing to seriously threaten their opponents goal. In that game two players made their full debuts for the club, those being Makoto Shibahara and Hiroyuki Sugimoto. It may have been through necessity, but Gifu seemed to set up in a 4-4-2 formation as opposed to their usual 4-5-1 set up. Gifu will again likely be without Ri Han Jae & Shun Nogaito through injury, and Inoue & Jinushizono are long term absentees. It will be interesting to see if Gifu once again go with two strikers or if they will revert to 5 in midfield.
Montedio come into this game on the back of a narrow win against Roasso Kumamoto, their first in four games. Montedio are the ultimate win or bust team – this season they have won 5 and lost 5, the only team in J2 without a draw to their name. At the back they are led by young defenders Lee Joo-Young and Takumi Yamada, a defender coming into his own after being sparingly used last year. In midfield Romero Franck and Masaki Miyasawa provide the drive – scoring 5 goals between them so far. If there is one thing holding them back from being truly dangerous in this division it is their forward line. Ex-Vegalta Sendai man Yuki Nakashima is serviceable, but he doesn’t strike fear into defenders the way Leandro or Popo does. They really need Nakashima or Hiroki Bandai to step up to the mark and hit 15-20 goals this season.
Details: FC Gifu v Montedio Yamagata, Nagaragawa Stadium, 1pm KO, Live on NHK Gifu.