If FC Gifu didn’t want to start thinking about life at the bottom of J2, it is probably time to start as this home defeat against fellow early season strugglers Tochigi leaves them rock bottom of J2 after eight games.
FC Gifu starting XI: Ota, Abe, Takagi, Okane, Nogaito, Masuyama, Henik, Takachi, Kiyomoto, Rodrigo, Namba
Once again it was a game to be started in bad weather conditions, apparently the weather Gods don’t fancy Gifu this year as this was third game in a row that has been weather (rain) affected.
Gifu started off the better but despite their possession the best effort they could muster was a long range Shun Nogaito effort that went wide. As the first half wore on the teams began to cancel each other out and it was clear that these were two sides that were low on that most vital of ingredients – confidence. Tochigi finished the half on top and it needed a smart save from the recalled Gakuji Ota to keep out a Yuzawa shot just before half time.
Tochigi took the lead in the 70th minute, and the goal came from the penalty spot. Yuzawa turned Henik in the area and the big Brazilian clipped the Tochigi wide man and it was a clear penalty. Sakano stepped up and put his penalty straight down the middle of the goal to give the visitors the lead.
Gifu knew they had to go forward and Leo Mineiro went on in place of Nogaito to try and give the side more creativity. As Gifu pushed forward they created chances: Keiji Takachi was really unlucky to see his snapshot come back off the post while Masuyama could only put the rebound straight at Tochigi ‘keeper Sakurai. Kazumichi Takagi had a great chance to level things near the end but unfortunately for Gifu he could only direct his header wide. It was to be the last chance of the game as Gifu slipped to yet another defeat – their 6th defeat in a row. Not surprisingly, during the second half Ruy Ramos cut an exasperated figure on the sideline, he must be wondering what he can do in this situation.
FC Gifu are firmly rooted to the bottom, with only the three points picked up against Kamatamare Sanuki to show for thier efforts this season. They’ve made a lot of headlines this year, although not for the reasons that they would have hoped for at the start of the season – most of the headlines have come from the defeats at Oita & Tokyo Verdy.
Where next for FC Gifu? Literally, to the Level 5 stadium in Fukuoka to take on Masami Ihara’s in-form Avispa Fukuoka side. Philosophically? I’m not sure. This team needs a spark, a momentum changer. It is too early to start talking about relegation (we are only 1/6 of the way through the season) but the club has to be concerned about the way things are going. The supporters? Well, we are used to being around this position in the table so there’ll be no issues with the fans. Yesterday they were fantastic again. They’ll need to inspire the team in the coming games.