Yikes! Where to begin with this rollercoaster of a game?
As expected, Shun Nogaito filled in for the absent Desmond at the back and Masato Yamazaki came into the team to help support lone forward Hiroki Higuchi.
Gainare started with winter signing Genki Nagasato in the hole behind target man Kubo.
It took a while for the game to get going with both teams showing why they were down at the wrong end of the table. However, it was the home side which made the breakthrough on the half hour. Some nice build up play on the right put Ozaki in space and his dangerous cross was met by the oncoming Eijiro Takeda and he made no mistake in putting the home side 1-0 up. Gifu were soon level though. Atsushi Mio, returning to his former club, swung in a left footed free-kick which Moriyasu headed on to the bar but luckily the rebound fell to Shuto Tanaka who had the relatively simple task of putting the ball in the net. It was now an exciting, if not all that technically good, game and Gainare went back in from on 42 minutes. Yuichi Kubo outpaced Masuyama down the right and his centre found Genki Nagasato at the far post and he easily slotted in to put Gainare back in front. Worse was to come for Gifu as in the 45th minute Nagasato grabbed his second. Nagasato pounced on a bit of dithering from Masuyama, carried the ball to the edge of the area and then hit a fine shot past Takagi to make it 3-1. But that wasn’t the end of the scoring as Gifu were handed a lifeline in the 49th minute of the half. Kazuki Someya hit a rather hopeful shot from 35 yards out, but Tomokazu Nagira decided to use his arm to block the shot and Gifu were awarded a penalty. Someya made no mistake and so the half time score, after a breathless period of play, was 3-2 to Gainare.
10 minutes into the second half, Gifu suffered another injury blow as Shuto Tanaka limped off with what appeared to be a foot injury (this was subsequently confirmed as an ankle sprain which will keep Shuto out for 2 or 3 weeks) and he was replaced by Tatsuya Arai. The game was end to end with half chances for both teams. One of the best chances came when Mio, having a fine game, crossed from the left and the stretching Hattori prodded just over. on 78 minutes Gifu drew themselves level via a very unlikely source. It was provided by a Someya (again, he’s been on fire in recent weeks) cross from the left which found Arata Sugiyama who headed his first goal for the club. 3-3, and the game was there to be won. Gifu were in the ascendency and were rewarded with a remarkable winner in the 83rd minute. Hattori’s pass from the centre circle found Someya on left and he easily zipped by Ozaki before sending over a perfect cross which found Hiroki Higuchi who headed in in front of the delirious Gifu supporters. Gifu held on to win their second away game of the season and more importantly lift themselves off the bottom.
Satoshi Horinouchi’s injury time equalizer for Montedio Yamagata at Thespa Kusatsu Gunma meant the Gifu leap-frogged Gunma into 21st place – a very important psychological boost for the club.
I think the main catalyst for Gifu’s recent improvement has been the form of Kazuki Someya. Released from his defensive responsibilities, his rampaging runs down the left cause problems for anyone. Gifu know that if they can get him the ball he can create chances or finish them off.
Next up, Gifu head to Atsubetsu Park in Hokkaido to face Consadole Sapporo. It will be a difficult game, but with consecutive wins for the first time in…..erm…..a while, Gifu should go there with confidence.