- OIta Trinita 1-0 FC Gifu (Wakasa 80′)
- Attendance: 9,267
- Yellow cards: Kitani (Gifu); Nishi (Oita)
Gifu paid the price for not taking their chances as a late goal condemned them to defeat at the Oita Bank Dome.
FC Gifu starting XI (4-3-1-2): Kawaguchi; Masuyama, Abe, Kitani, Santos; Henik, Miyazawa, Ota; Takachi; Namba, Nazarit.
Gifu showed just one change from the side that beat Kyoto Sanga with Keisuke Ota coming in to replace Taisuke Mizuno.
Gifu started brightly, having the best of the opening period. But it was Oita who thought they had opened the scoring, only for Goto’s strike to be ruled out for offside. From then, it was Gifu in the ascendency. In the 25th minute, Keiji Takchi danced into the area and looked like he was brought down, but the ref waved play on. The ball fell to Namba but before he could properly connect with his shot, Oita cleared. 10 minutes later, Namba spurned a good chance, electing to shoot when a simple pass would have put Takachi clean through, and Namba ended up shooting over. Gifu had more half chances, but couldn’t convert any and the sides went in at half time scoreless.
Oita were the better team in the second half, stepping up a gear and pressuring Gifu’s midfield early and often. Five minutes into the second half, Namba did really well to clear a well executed lob off the line. Gifu looked like they would hold out, but were undone in the 80th minute with a goal that was extremely harsh on Kawaguchi. Some nice build up play down the left resulted in Yu Kijima finding some space in the area. His shot from around 10 yards took a wicked deflection, but Kawaguchi somehow contorted his body and clawed it off line, only to see Oita defender Masashi Wakasa react quickest to put the ball into the net. It was an astonishing original save by Kawaguchi, but once again he was let down by defenders not reacting quick enough.
Namba had one optimistic effort well saved by the Trinita ‘keeper, but that was as close as Gifu came to an equalizer.
In the first half, Gifu played some nice stuff and created openings, but in the second they were pushed back and weren’t able to exert themselves on the game. Oita took their chance, Gifu didn’t. That is a rare happening these days though, as Gifu drew a blank for only the second time this year. They will have to sharpen up for the visit off Jubilo’s all-star team next week.