It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but Gifu scored early and hung on for their first win of 2015.
Starting XI: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Takagi, Fukaya, Fuji, Miyazawa, Henik, Takachi, Kiyomoto, Leo Mineiro, Namba
As I thought, Gifu switched from a 3 CB formation to a 4-2-3-1 with Namba as the “one top” and Kiyomoto, Takachi & Leo Mineiro, making his full debut, playing behind.
Sanuki had the better of the early play, but it was FC Gifu who took the lead after ten minutes. Keiji Takachi received a lay-off on the edge of the box and his left-footed shot from it hit the post, but Hiroaki Namba was on hand to prod in the rebound. The team celebrated with the “rocking cradle” to celebrate the birth of Masashi Miyazawa’s second child.
From that point onwards, it really seemed like it was Sanuki that were making all the running. Big. powerful Andrea was proving a handful, but Tsukasa Masuyama stood up to the physical challenge quite well. Gifu were thankful for Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi as the veteran ‘keeper produced a couple of good saves to keep the side in front at the break.
In the second half, Masuyama was the first person to test either GK as he forced Kamatamare’s Shimizu into a smart save. After that, it was again Sanuki who were driving the game. They missed some good chances, Kawaguchi made another good couple of saves, and the last action of the game was a Sanuki header which hit the crossbar and fell to safety.
Of course Ruy Ramos will be happy to get 3 points on the board, but he will be hoping for an improvement when the team travels to Shikoku to take on a stuttering Tokushima Vortis next week.
I think the 4-2-3-1 formation is the one that he would like to stiik with and I think he’s hoping that soon he can count on the services on Rodrigo because he will improve the attacking threat of the side. I also presume that he’d like to start thinking about starting Ryutaro Karube, who looks like he would give the side a more dynamic defensive midfielder, but he is still a bit raw and needs a bit more nuturing into the side.
As for Sanuki, they look like they might be more of a match for teams this year, especially if Andrea can stay fit and add some end product to his storming physicality. Coach Makoto Kitano will be upset that his team lost this game, but he’ll be happy with the overall performance.
Still, a win is a win! Gifu will play much better this year and lose, so it is important to appreciate these three points. Onwards & upwards….We Are Gifu!!