Erm, yeah. So on the plus side Gifu scored twice against the best team in the league. But on the downside they looked a little leaky in defence…..
Desmond was suspended for this game, so Tatsuya Arai, he of Matsumoto folklore, started in defence alongside Nogaito & Masuyama. Elsewhere, Taisuke Mizuno kept his place in the team after his fine goal against Giravanz at the weekend and Hiroki Higuchi once more led the line up front.
Gamba welcomed back Yasuhito Endo and Yasuyuki Konno after their exploits with the national team in Brazil. Gamba, now without the departed Leandro & Ienaga, went with Paulinho and Shoki Hirai up front.
The conditions were terrible at kick off with howling wind and incredibly heavy rain but it didn’t stop Gamba getting into their stride immediately. They opened the scoring after only two minutes when Paulinho finished off a crisp passing move. The hosts were shell-shocked and found themselves two behind on eight minutes, this time Futagawa applying the finish to another nice passing move. Gifu did get back into the game (slightly) with Someya making a couple of good runs and hitting a shot just wide. But Gamba made it three on 28minutes, Futugawa’s shot squirming past Tokihisa. Gifu got a goal back on 32 minutes, Atsushi Mio’s corner was majestically headed home by Tatsuya Arai. Comeback on? Not really, as Gamba scored with the final kick of the first half. Gamba were awarded a highly debatable free-kick on half way which the stadium announcer mistook for the half time whistle. The Gifu players switched off, the ball was played up to Abe and he thumped the ball past Tokihisa. Mio and Nogaito were absolutely livid with the ref and continued their protests as they went in for half time.
If Gifu had hoped that Gamba would take their foot off the gas, they were in for a very rude shock as Gamba simply carried on where they left off. A corner from the left was met by Konno whose shot trickled in. Paulinho notched his second of the night five minutes later, cutting back on to his left foot and rifling past the keeper after a lovely chipped through ball. Konno decided that one goal wasn’t enough for him as he waltzed around three Gifu players before slipping the ball into the empty net. Kawanishi produced a beautiful finish to make it eight before Higuchi produced an equally nice finish to get Gifu’s second goal.
I apologize if I have missed anything, there was an awful lot to remember!! It was an odd feeling at the end of the game, I think most Gifu fans were numb with what they had just witnessed. You could put it down to “one of those nights” but the gap between the teams was just too big. No-one expected Gifu to get a result, but no-one expected to get hit for 8 goals.
I try not to be critical on this blog because I know the restraints in which Gifu work. I know there is very little, if any, money to be had. But coach Gyotoku has to have a serious look at himself and decide if he is doing right by the players. Yet again, he brought on Kiyomoto as a sub, only to take him off later. Kiyomoto, lest we forget, is just a teenger and this is not the first time he has come on only to be subbed later on in the game. It can’t do the boys confidence any good. I didn’t see him with an inujry, but if he did pick one up that forced him, I apologize. Why isn’t Hiroyuki Sugimoto given a chance? He’s looked OK when I’ve seen him, and he scored a beautiful goal against Monetdio but Gyotoku seems to have no faith in him. Why? I love Hattori, who is the leader of the club, but it unrealistic to ask him to play three full games in a week when he is going on 40 years of age.
There, I’ve said my piece. Gifu need to seriously buck their ideas up if they are to get anything from Sunday’s trip to Nishikyogoku where they will face a Kyoto Sanga side coming off the back a 5-0 win away at Tokyo Verdy.