A thoroughly deserved win for a vibrant, attacking FC Gifu side, one that inspires hope for the rest of the year.
FC Gifu starting XI: Kawaguchi, Abe, Henik, Tanaka, Masuyama, Miyazawa, Takachi, Mizuno, Ota, Namba, Nazarit
Gifu started off well, and nearly took an early lead when Hiroaki Namba was played in down the left, but he put his shot into the side netting – although it did look to supporters that the ball had gone in. Gifu did take the lead in the 18th minute, and the goal came from an unlikely source. A Namba cross was cut out by a Verdy defender, but the ball fell to Keisuke Ota on the edge of the area and he placed a shot into the bottom corner – his first goal for the club.
Verdy, although not really in the game, really should have equalized soon after. Nildo somehow headed over from 4 yards out, and Koki Anzai prodded wide after latching on to a long ball over Gifu’s 3 centre backs. The home side also had chances, none that came closer than Namba thumping a left foot shot against the post. But Gifu got the second goal they deserved just before half time, and again Ota was involved. His perfectly weighted through ball found Nazarit, and the big Colombian slotted under debutant William Popp.
The icing on the cake came on the hour when Keiji Takachi scored Gifu’s third. Nazarit’s shot was blocked and the ball fell to Takachi on the edge of the area. He dragged the ball on to his left foot and curled a beautiful shot into the top corner. A quality goal, and it was Takachi’s 50th goal in J2.
Gifu brought on youngsters Kiyomoto & Endo to rest Namba & Nazarit, and Kleiton Domingues was given his Gifu debut in what turned out to be almost the perfect evening in front of 7,000 plus people at the Nagaragawa Stadium.
On the whole, great stuff from Gifu last night. Verdy are currently encountering some growing pains and they’ll probably get better but the home side saw them off with ease. A clean sheet was a very welcome thing too. Keisuke Ota was excellent in midfield, as was Takachi. There five ball playing midfielders in midfield, and Gifu kept the ball better as result.
Next week, Gifu head to Kataller Toyama, a team on J2 life support. It is a good chance to follow up this good performance.