- Alwin Stadium, Matsumoto. Att: 13,657
- Matsumoto Yamaga 1-0 FC Gifu (Iwakami 75′)
- Yellow cards: Henik (FC Gifu)
Despite a very good performance, Gifu left the Alwin on the end of a 1-0 defeat.
Gifu made a few changes to the team which lost at home against Tochigi. Masanori Abe came back after suspension, while Henik moved into midfield to replace Taisuke Mizuno who was rested. Junki Endo was preferred to Hiroaki Namba & Tomohiro Tanaka up front as Ramos continued his way of getting playing time to Gifu’s youngsters.
Gifu had a number of decent efforts in the first half the best of them being when Keisuke Ota volleyed wide from long range and when Nazarit tested Murayama from a free kick. At the other end, there was a moment of panic when Kawaguchi took a high ball from Iwakami and looked as though he may have taken it over the line, but the linesman didn’t see it and the Yamaga players didn’t appeal for anything. After that Funayama and Shiozawa both missed excellent chances to put the hosts in front.
An entertaining first half finished scoreless, but both teams continued to attack in the second half. Gifu were forced into a change when Hiroshi Sekita replaced a struggling Kosuke Kitani. Gifu’s first sight of goal came five minutes into the half as Takachi laid the ball off to Henik, who drove a fierce shot just wide. Ota was next to test Murayama with another long range effort with the home ‘keeper fisting the ball wide. Junki Endo then came oh-so-close to his first ever pro goal when he cut in from the left and fired just over the bar.
Yamaga’s hammer blow came 15 minutes from the end, and it was a moment of brilliance from Iwakami. Takayuki Funayama “won” a free kick 25 yards out – won being the operative word as it was a very debatable decision. What wasn’t up for debate was how Iwakami fired the ball with pace & precision past Kawaguchi. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and admire a piece of skill as good as that.
Ramos threw on Namba & Ryoto Higa for the final minutes, but neither were able to help rescue the visitors.
Another defeat, but a good performance again. If the team play like that, more often than not they’ll get good results. On a side note, I sense a good rivalry beginning to build up between these two teams. Whilst it isn’t a derby as such (it takes 3 hours by train from Gifu to Matsumoto) geographically speaking the teams are that far away from each other. Gifu took a good number of fans to the Alwin and Matsumoto always bring lots of fans with them. I quite like how this is building up.