Possibly the best FC Gifu performance of the Ramos era resulted in a come from behind win against their much vaunted opponents.
FC Gifu starting XI: Ota, Abe, Okane, Takagi, Nogaito, Masuyama, Henik, Ono, Takachi, Leo Mineiro, Namba.
The surprising news was that Satoshi Tokizawa came down with an illness, and that forced Gakuji Ota into action in goal. And it wasn’t long before Gakuji was picking the ball out of the net as Jubilo made a whirlwind start. Yuichi Komano’s cross from the left was headed clear by Masanori Abe only as far Kota Ueda on the edge of the area, and he arrowed in a shot past Ota – after all of 29 seconds.
A bad start for Gifu but they almost leveled soon after, Hiroaki Namba seeing his shot saved by Kamiski after good work down the right from Leo Mineiro. Jubilo doubled their lead after the half hour when Daisuke Matsui’s cross found the Brazilian forward Adailton and he prodded the ball into the far corner.
Or not, because Gifu pulled a goal back in the 39th minute. Keiji Takachi’s cross was half cleared as far as Leo Mineiro and his shot was deflected into the net by Kazumichi Takagi, his first goal for the club. Takagi’s joy was almost cut very short when Jay Bothroyd caught with a very bad challenge – one which should have earned my fellow Englishman a red card instead of the yellow that was shown to him.
The half time whistle came with Gifu just a goal behind, and they set about trying to eradicate that deficit from the second half get-go. Keiji Takachi set up Tsukasa Masuyama on the edge of the area, but Tsukasa’s left foot curler went over the bar. Gifu did equalize in the 56th minute, and it was a brilliant goal. A clearance deep in defence initiated a counter-attack that Leo Mineiro continued down the right, and his perfect cross found Hiroaki Namba and NMB24 produced a superb first time finish past Kaminski and things were level at 2-2.
Gifu didn’t stop there though, and stunned the home crowd when they went 3-2 up. Great hustle from Leo Mineiro won the ball in midfield, Keiji Takachi picked up the ball and advanced at the suddenly shaky Jubilo defence before playing the ball through to Leo. His flick past the onrushing Kaminski found that man Hiroaki Namba and he pounced for his J2 pace-setting 11th goal of the season.
Gifu had to be strong to hold off the inevitable Jubilo onslaught, but defenders repeatedly put their bodies on the line and Gifu managed to close out a famous 3-2 win.
Wow. What a game. Heroes all over the pitch. Takagi & Okane were really good at nullifying the threat of Jay Bothroyd. Henik prowled the midfield like a hungry lion, one of his very best performances. NMB24 showed why he is the top scorer in the league with sharp finishes and even sharper movement.
But, for me, Gifu’s best player on the night was Leo Mineiro. He was superb. He assisted all three goals and was a constant threat whenever he got the ball. His pace causes anyone problems, and his work-rate is phenomenal. He was simply brilliant against Iwata.
Next up, a home date with Gunma. More of the same please!!!