Two of J2’s strugglers meet in an important Sunday night game at Gifu’s Nagaragawa Memorial Centre Stadium.
Setting the scene:
FC Gifu currently sit in 19th place in the J2 table, one place and two points above our opponents on Sunday. Last year this game was a nothing, mid-table match but this year things are little more serious. A win for the home side would give them some much needed breathing space, but a win for Mito would plunge Gifu back into trouble. Make no mistake, it might not be pretty but this is a crucial game for both sides.
FC Gifu form:
- 5/3 v Giravanz Kitakyushu (A) – lost 1-2
- 5/6 v Kyoto Sanga (H) – drew 1-1
- 5/10 v Ehime FC (H) – won 2-1
- 5/17 v Roasso Kumamoto (A) – won 2-1
- 5/24 v Omiya Ardija (H) – lost 0-5
Gifu are still in the midst of a pretty serious injury situation, especially in defence, and that situation was only exasperated this week with the announcement that centre back and consistent performer Kazumichi Takagi will miss the next month with a groin injury.
My belief is that FC Gifu will revert to a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 which will probably mean that Naoya Okane & Yuki Fukaya will be in the middle of defence. Jun Suzuki made his pro-debut last week and could be an option if Ramos decides to go for youthful exuberance instead. Fukaya will need a bounce back game after last week’s deflation against his old club. Masanori Abe & Henik are available again after suspension too. Up front, I would be amazed (unless some unreleased injury is announced) if 8 goal top scorer Hiroaki Namba isn’t reunited with Leo Minero up top.
Mito Hollyhock form:
- 5/3 v Zweigen Kanazawa (A) – lost 0-1
- 5/6 v V-Varen Nagasaki (H) – lost 1-3
- 5/9 v Jubilo Iwata (A) – lost 1-2
- 5/17 v Oita Trinita (H) – drew 1-1
- 5/24 v Kyoto Sanga (H) – lost 0-2
Last year’s meeting:
It was a very dispiriting night last year as Mito came into town and came away with a very easy 2-0 win.
History, or at least recent history, goes against FC Gifu as Mito Hollyhock have won the last four meetings between the teams:
- Mito Hollyhock 4-1 FC Gifu
- FC Gifu 1-4 Mito Hollyhock
- Mito Hollyhock 3-2 FC Gifu
- FC Gifu 0-2 Mito Hollyhock
It is a very important game (did I mention it before?) and time for the players & supporters to stand up and be counted. See you there tomorrow!!