FC Gifu surrendered a 1-0 lead against their 10 man visitors to drop 2 points they really shouldn’t have.
FC Gifu starting XI: Tokihisa, Masuyama, Abe, Sekita, Alex Santos, Miyazawa, Henik, Stipe, Takachi, Namba, Yuki Nakamura.
Giravanz Kitakyushu starting XI: Otani, Hoshihara, Watanabe, Maeda, Fujii, Suzuki, Kazama, Kotegawa, Watari, Hara, Ikemoto
In a cagey start, both sides swapped half chances before Yuki Nakamura had the games first real chance. Good work from Alex on the left lead him to fire in a cross. The was headed half clear to Nakamura, but he volleyed into the ground and the ball went over the bar. Nakamura had another shot deflected wide while at the other end Ikemoto just couldn’t direct his toe-poke on target. It wasn’t the best first half, and it was a fair score of 0-0 at the the break.
The second half started better, and Gifu took the lead 10 minutes after half time, fittingly through Gifu’s best player. Tsukasa Masuyama’s cross from the right just evaded Nakamura in the middle, but the ball fell to the feet of Keiji Takachi who, as usual, kept his cool to slip the ball past Otani.
It all looked to be going well for Gifu when Giravanz defender Kazuya Maeda was sent off for an unnecessary kick aimed at Hiroaki Namba, but there was a sting in Giravanz and the equalized on 70 minutes. A cross from the right found its way to the one man you didn’t want it to find, Kazuki Hara, and he lifted the ball expertly over Tokihisa to make it 1-1.
Gifu brought on Atsushi Mio & Do Dong Hyun, the thought being they could pass & manouevre their way through the wall of yellow defenders and coach Ramos implored his team to keep it on the floor. But try as they might, they couldn’t find a way to break Giravanz down, and the game ended a draw.
This is a particularly painful result for Gifu to swallow, because, really, once Giravanz went down to 10, they were the only team playing football. Giravanz set their stall out to be difficult to beat, and they played the role perfectly. In all honesty, Gifu were the better side, marshaled superbly by Takachi, but they couldn’t find that little bit of guile to make their superiority count.
The club will be disappointed, but they have to brush themselves down in readiness of the visit of highly unpredictable Kyoto Sanga next Sunday night.