Despite a spirited second half fightback, a goal in additional time condemned FC Gifu to another last gasp defeat.
- FC Gifu starting XI: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Kitani, Abe, Santos, Miyazawa, Henik, Mio, Takachi, Namba, Nazarit.
The first half, in general was a very non-descript affair with only one real moment of excitement, and it came from Consadole Sapporo defender Osanai. He collected a pass on the edge of the area, and drilled a low shot past Kawaguchi into the far corner. And, honestly, that was the only thing to speak about in the first half.
If Gifu thought the second was going to get better, it didn’t. Firstly, midfielder Keiji Takachi suffered what looked like a painful knee/lower leg injury after falling awkwardly (update: I saw the players as they arrived home on the train, and Takachi was still limping, but seemed in decent spirits) and then Takuma Arano skipped away from the defence and clipped beautifully over the on-rushing Kawaguchi.
Or not. As Gifu somehow mustered some attacking intent, something that wasn’t very visible in the first 70 minutes. In the 71st minute, substitute Takumi Kiyomoto and Nazarit exchanged passes on the edge of the area and the ball fell to Masuyama whose left foot shot crept in past Sapporo ‘keeper Junki Kanayama. In the 84th minute came a moment Junki Endo will never forget. Nazarit laid the ball off to him on the edge of the area, and Endo skipped past two players before firing a brilliant right foot shot into the top corner. A wonderful goal in any right, but for a first J.League strike, it was pretty special.
But, just as it looked like Gifu would claim a point, they undone in injury time by giant Korean striker Jeong. A ball was floated in to the far post and, although Masuyama tried to head away, his touch only made it easier for Jeong to smack a close range volley past the helpless Kawaguchi.
So, another late defeat to add to the ones against Avispa Fukuoka and Mito Hollyhock. It is now only one win from the last nine games and the team need to start getting some wins on the board. Gifu now sit 18th and are probably looking down as opposed to the other way.
The main positive to come from this game is undoubtedly Junki Endo’s goal. Hopefully that will give him the confidence to kick on from here.
Gifu face another long trip next week when they head to horse country, Kumamoto. It would be a very good time to get a win.