FC Gifu welcome our friends from the north to the Nagaragawa Stadium for a “top of the northern alps” showdown.
Kataller got off to a solid, if unspectacular, start by drawing 0-0 at Fagiano Okayama. They managed to find space for their all of their attacking talent as Takuya Kokeguchi, Ryohei Shirasaki, Shoya Nakajima and Seo Yong Duk all started. This is a team that should have plenty of goals in them if their holding midfielders and defenders can provide a good enough base. One area I think Toyama have improved from last year is in goal. They brought in veteran ex-Kyoto & Avispa keeper Yuichi Mizutani to replace Tatsuya Morita who made made the slightly puzzling move to Albirex Niigata. Mizutani is a consistent goalkeeper with bags of experience who should bring more stability at the back.
I’d be surprised if there were any changes for Gifu after their fine opening day win, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that Ruy Ramos isn’t averse to putting the cat amongst the pigeons. I would definitely expect the front pairing of Cristian Nazarit & Hiroaki Namba to stay together as they showed signs of potential against Kamatamare. Arata Sugiyama finished last week limping a bit, but so far I’ve seen no signs of him needing to miss this game. One thing I will be interested to see is if Stipe Plazibat remains on the bench, or whether he will make his way into the starting line-up.
This game gives Gifu a great opportunity to build on last week’s win, but I expect it to be a very entertaining and potentially high scoring game. It wouldn’t shock me to see 5+ goals on Sunday.