A result that was probably to be expected as Gifu continued their poor run at Nishikyogoku.
Desmond came back into defence for Gifu, returning from his suspension. That meant Nogaito moved into midfield alongside Hattori. Tokihisa remained in goal despite conceding 8 in midweek while Hiroki Higuchi kept his place as the lone striker.
Kyoto opted against starting Kazuki Hara, who scored twice in the 5-0 win at Tokyo Verdy, instead going with Koji Yamase and Mitsuhira up front.
From the off, the home side took the game by the scruff of the neck and attacked almost at will. Shigeru Yokotani was at the heart of all the good things Kyoto were doing and it was no surprise when he had a hand in the first goal. He received the ball in a central position half way inside Gifu’s half. He played the ball to Koji Yamase who worked the ball on to his left foot and, with no-one going to block him, smashed his shot right into the top corner leaving Tokihisa with no chance. The attacks continued with Yokotani particularly impressive, and his through ball led to Kudo having a chance just before the break, but the Sanga skipper mis-hit his shot and the ball trickled to Tokihisa.
HT was 1-0 to Kyoto, and Gifu, without ever threatening, were still technically in the game. Gifu did have the first effort of the second half, and it was a nasty one from Atsushi Mio. He picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and hit a shot which viciously swerved and dipped and Kyoto ‘keeper Oh did well to somehow get it away. Yamase had another sight of goal when his free-kick was pushed around the post by Tokihisa. Sanga were turning the screw and were very unlucky not to double their lead in the 70th minute when Akimoto’s header smashed off the bar and into the arms of the grateful Tokihisa. The home side got the goal their dominance deserved in the 78th minute. Yamase’s corner found a poorly marked Mitsuhira 7 yards out and his header found the bottom corner. Game over.
Gifu never win in Kyoto it seems and they never really looked like they believed they could win. One other thing of note from this game is that Hattori picked up his 4th booking of the year meaning he will miss the next game which happens to be a monster #relegationdogfight clash at Roasso Kumamoto. Despite all the other relegation-threatened teams failing to win, Gifu are still bottom and MUST start picking up wins soon. Next Sunday would be a good place to start.