FC Gifu put in a dismal performance as they were beaten by last year’s J3 champions Zweigen Kanazawa at a rainy Nagaragawa Memorial centre.
FC Gifu starting XI: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Fukaya, Takagi, Fuji, Miyazawa, Henik, Takachi, Kiyomoto, Leo Mineiro, Namba
The match started off in an entertaining fashion, the visitors forcing a couple of early corners and free-kicks, while Hiroaki Namba was looking in the mood for Gifu. Brazilian midfielder Henik picked up a booking in the 17th minute for persistent fouling and was quite lucky not to receive a second yellow when hammered the ball into the stand out of frustration.
Masashi Miyazawa sent a half volley just wide and Takumi Kiyomoto couldn’t quite properly connect with a Masuyama cross, but Gifu didn’t really make Zweigen ‘keeper Harada work in the first period.
Gifu brought on Ryutaro Karube & Rodrigo at half time, but they were powerless to prevent Kanazawa from taking the lead just two minutes into the half. A swift counter attack from the visitors ended with Kazuhiro Sato placing a shot just out of the reach of Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi to put them 1-0 up. Gifu were trying to get back into the game, but Zweigen were mostly in control and they sewed the game up in the 70th minute, albeit from a very debatable penalty.
Henik was adjudged to have brought down a Zweigen player in the box. When I saw it live I didn’t think it was a penalty and having seen it again on TV I’m convinced it wasn’t. Anyway, it was given and Shohei Kiyohara needed no second invitation to put Zweigen 2-0 up and seal the game.
Gifu brought on Junki Endo to try and find some spark, but at that point it wasn’t going to make much difference as Kanazawa were cruising, and could have added to their tally.
So, after four games FC Gifu sit second bottom and travel to bottom placed Oita on Wednesday night before welcoming title favourites Cerezo Osaka next weekend. It is still early in the season but Gifu can’t afford to let too many more games slip away from them. It is going to be a tough week, but the team need to be tough on themselves in training this week. A response is needed.