The positives outweigh the negatives coming from Gifu’s 2-2 draw at in-form Avispa Fukuoka on a scorching Sunday afternoon.
FC Gifu starting XI: Ota, Abe, Takagi, Okane, Takachi, Karube, Mizuno, Fuji, Masuyama, Leo Mineiro, Namba
The started off with controversy as Fukuoka ‘keeper Kamiyama handled outside of the penalty area with only 3 minutes on the clock, but the referee somehow refrained from giving him a straight red card, perhaps on account of the angle the ball was going (admission: it was going slightly away from goal)。For me, it looked like it should have been a definite red card, but it wasn’t and Keiji Takachi thumped the resulting free-kick just wide. The pace of Leo Mineiro up front was causing the Fukuoka defence problems, and it was the Brazilian who broke the deadlock after 28 minutes. A throw in from Masuyama evaded all the Avispa defenders and allowed Leo Mineiro to run through on goal and calmly put the ball past Kamiyama for his first ever goal for Gifu.
Gifu had the better of the first half, but found themselves conceding an equalizer just before half time. A cross from deep on the left was met by Hisashi Jogo, who made a superb run, and the Fukuoka veteran glanced his header past Gakuji Ota in the Gifu goal.
Avispa started the second half better, but it was Gifu that re-took the lead on the hour. Keiji Takachi’s inswinging free-kick was poorly cleared by Kamiyama and it left Naoya Okane with the relatively simple task of heading into the net to restore Gifu’s lead. The goal was FC Gifu’s 300th goal in J2.
but things are never easy with Gifu, and within eight minutes the hosts were level. A corner from the left wasn’t particularly well dealt with and it left on-form Takayuki Nakahara with a chance from an acute angle. It was a good effort, but Gifu ‘keeper Gakuji Ota will have been disappointed to let it slip in at the near post.
Gifu had to weather some late pressure but the defence, well marshaled by Kazumichi Takagi stood firm and Gifu picked up a very valuable point.
Obviously Ramos will be disappointed to concede the lead twice, but this was a decent performance and a decent point against a very legitimate foe. Gifu played well on the counter attack, and they may have found a counter attacking threat in Leo Mineiro. The Brazilian provided a pacey threat that Gifu haven’t had this season and if he plays on the shoulder of the last defender he has the speed to cause problems.
Next up is the start of the Golden Week rush, as FC Gifu host V-Varen Nagasaki on Wednesday afternoon.