FC Gifu 1-2 Avispa Fukuoka

FC Gifu slipped to their second home defeat in succession, as a late goal from Daisuke Ishizu continued Avispa’s historical dominance in Gifu.

Ramos sprang somewhat of a surprise by selecting Tomohiro Tanaka, who hails from Fukuoka, in place of Hiroaki Namba, who was out with a thigh injury. It was Tanaka’s full debut and meant he was paired with Colombian forward Nazarit. Keisuke Ota was once again selected in midfield, while Yuki Nakamura made an appearance on the bench.

Fukuoka went pretty much as expected, lining up with a fluid front line of Jogo, Kanamori and Ishizu. Shoki Hirai was once again on the bench.

Gifu started well, and Nazarit had a shot blocked within two minutes. Gifu had most of the possession, but Avispa had a half chance on 16 minutes when Ishizu narrowly failed to connect with Abe’s low cross. Tomohiro Tanaka was showing lots of energy, and a smart turn on the edge of the area allowed to get a shot off, but the shot was blocked by a Fukuoka defender. Fukuoka were next to threaten, Sakata nearly getting on the end of a wicked swinging corner but luckily for Gifu, Nogaito just got in front of the Fukuoka front man to clear the ball behind.

Gifu then had a huge chance to take the lead in the 31st minute. Nogaito’s long ball found Keisuke Ota, who had come off the wing and into the centre, and Ota tried to lob Kamiyama but the keeper palmed it away. The rebound fell to Tanaka, via Nazarit, but Tanaka’s goalbound effort was headed off the line by Lee.

Tomohiro Tanaka then had a great chance to open his account for the club. Having been set free down the right hand side channel he opted to square the ball for Nazarit instead of taking a chance himself. Nazarit poked the ball wide, and probably should have gone with his left foot rather than his right, but a confident Tanaka would’ve taken a shot himself.

At half time, Shoki Hirai came on for Kanamori who was pretty ineffective in the first half. In the 49th minute came a wonder save from Kamiyama as he dived to his right to tip away a bullet header from Nazarit. It was truly a great save. Avispa then came close to the opening goal, but Hisashi Jogo’s lob over Kawaguchi just went over the crossbar. This turned into Avispa’s best spell of the game and they opened the scoring in the 66th minute, but it was a goal that Gifu would like to forget in a hurry. Jogo sent in a long throw from the right, and Daisuke Sakata stole in front of Masnori Abe to stab the ball in. Kawaguchi seemed surprised that Sakata reached the ball and he wasn’t able to stop the ball from going in.

In the 75th minute, Gifu had a decent claim for a penalty when Ota, after getting his head to a mishit Mio shot, was cleaned out by Kamiyama. The ball was heading goalwards until Jogo spectacularly overhead kicked it clear, but the Gifu players were incensed that a penalty wasn’t given. I’ve seen them given, but I don’t think Kamiyama intended to foul Ota as he had his eye on the ball the whole time.

The equalizer that Gifu deserved came five minutes from the end, and came via a beautiful goal from Alex Santos. Shun Nogaito powered down the right hand side and sent a low cross that went all the way across the area where it fell to Santos. Santos set himself and sent a measured shot into the top corner that gave Kamiyama no chance. Not a bad way to get off the mark for the club.

Just as Gifu were harbouring thoughts of a win, they were undone by an absolute sucker punch as Avispa went straight up the other end and scored. Good work from Tsutsumi lead to the ball falling for Hirai. He laid the ball off to Ishizu and his shot crept past Kawaguchi at his near post. I’m sure Kawaguchi will be a little disappointed with himself when he sees that again as 99/100 he would have stopped it.

So, ultimately, a disappointing result, but not a disappointing performance. Gifu will play much worse this season and win. Such is life. Gifu will hope to get on track again next week when they travel to Mitsuzawa to face Yokohama FC.

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