In the land where ‘Mikans’ abound (little orange-tangerine type things), Ehime FC welcome Ramos and friends for a Sunday afternoon showdown.
Gifu come into the game off back-to-back defeats, but decent enough performances. The goal threat is there, and this is looking like the time they will break a Matsuyama city hoodoo. Since Gifu’s promotion to the J.League in 2008, they have NEVER scored a goal in Ehime, never mind get a win. This is how it has been on Gifu’s last six visits to Ehime:
- 2008 – Ehime FC 0-0 FC Gifu
- 2009 – Ehime FC 3-0 FC Gifu
- 2010 – Ehime FC 0-0 FC Gifu
- 2011 – Ehime FC 2-0 FC Gifu
- 2012 – Ehime FC 0-0 FC Gifu
- 2013 – Ehime FC 0-0 FC Gifu
It doesn’t make particularly nice reading if you are planning to make the trip down to Ehime. However, last year was far more notable than the 0-0 draw sounds as Ehime contrived to miss two penalties: one blasted over by Shigematsu and the second one, taken by Tomic, was brilliantly saved by Shogo Tokihisa.
Gifu know that Stipe Plazibat is out with a groin injury, so that leaves a big question mark in the team. Stipe has been playing on the right so Atsushi Mio or Keisuke Ota could come in. If Ramos decides to move the position to a more central one, Alex Santos could come into play as a playmaker. It will be interesting to see how Ramos plays it.
Ehime were my tip to struggle this year, but they recorded a morale boosting win against Tokyo Verdy last weekend thanks to a late Kawahara winner. That game was watched by under 3000 people, but the draw card of Kawaguchi, Santos & Ramos should ensure a larger crowd. One player to look out for is Yuki Horigome, an attacking midfielder who had a decent spell at Roasso Kumamoto last year.
After two defeats against teams that should be stronger than Gifu, this is a litmus test for this embryonic team. Man for man, Gifu look better than Ehime, but can they get over the hump and bring home a win?
- Ehime FC v FC Gifu
- Ningineer Stadium, Matsuyama. KO: 4pm
- Weather: Rain (70% chance), sometimes cloudy. Maximum temp 20°C
- Broadcast: Live on BS 241, Skapa on-demand