Gifu surrendered their 100% start to the season after being beaten by a fired-up and vibrant Montedio side.

The big team news for Gifu was that Alex Santos wasn’t deemed fit enough for action following last week’s injury and so Mr. Gifu Shun Nogaito took his place. Otherwise it was the same team that beat Kataller Toyama last week.

Montedio set up with a very attacking looking forward group of Ito, Diego, Nakashima & Bandai.

The game took place in horrid conditions as heavy rain had left pools of standing water on the pitch. From the start the hosts tore into Gifu at high speed and Kawaguchi was soon called into action when he had to palm a Bandai header around the post. Montedio came very colse to opening the scoring in the 17th minute, but Kosuke Kitani, making his 300th league appearance, brilliantly cleared Bandai’s shot off the line. Yamagata were dominant, and it was only via supreme block from Nogaito from Bandai’s shot that they didn’t take the lead in the 22nd minute. Monte were finding joy down the sides and it was no surprise that the first goal from the wings. Yamagata full back Funatsu excellently controlled the ball on the edge of the area before releasing Shun Ito. His shot was saved, but the rebound fell very kindly for him and he had the relatively simple task of putting the ball in. Gifu almost responded immediately, but Nazarit couldn’t quite bundle a close range effort over the line and Shimizu was able to grab it. Both teams threatened again before HT, but it remained 1-0 at the interval.

No changes at half time, but the pattern of the game remained the same with Montedio making most of the running. They had a couple of chances before they eventually made it 2-0 in the 70th minute. A low free kick from Miyasaka was saved by Kawaguchi, but Hiroki Bandai was the quickest to react to the loose ball and tapped it in. Game over. OR not, as it transpired as Gifu went straight up the other end to score. A bit of penalty area pinball resulted in Hiroaki Namba smashing in his third goal in three games and giving Gifu hope, but that hope was extinguished minutes later as Diego got on the end of a good low Funatsu cross to flick in Monte’s third.

Positives: Junki Endo & Keisuke Ota came off the bench to make their respective debuts. That can only be good news going forward. Lots of fans are eager to see what Endo can do. NMB24 continued his hot start to the season, he looks dangerous every time the ball is in his range. Slowly but surely, Taisuke Mizuno is turning into a good, ball playing midfielder.

Negatives: A loss is a loss, but Montedio looked a good side, and they were playing their first home game and so were fired up. Not really a negative, but Masanori Abe will have learned a lot from playing against Hiroki Bandai. Bandai is a good, strong, clever player at this level and defintely gave Abe a hard time. It won’t get easier next week when Kosuke Taketomi spearheads Shonan Bellmare, but these are the games that Abe should relish.

Next up: Shonan Bellmare, next Saturday, 1pm KO