Tokyo Verdy completed the double over Gifu this year as they clinically swept the home side aside on a wet & humid Wednesday night in Gifu.
FC Gifu starting XI: Ota, Abe, Takagi, Okane, Fuji, Henik, Takachi, Rodrigo, Kiyomoto, Ono, Endo
It was Verdy that made most of the early running, as Gifu struggled to deal with their sharp passing and the way they switched the point of attack. Alan Pinheiro was good at using his physical presence up front which allowed Shuto Minami & Ryuji Sugimoto to take up dangerous positions. The first half was bereft of chances until the 39th minute, when the visitors took the lead. Alan Pinheiro ran at the Gifu defence before playing a clever reverse pass through to Nakano, and his heavy touch ended up setting up Ryuji Sugimoto who proceeded to smash the ball past Ota high into the net. Gifu’s most notable moments of the first half were forcing four corners in quick succession, and Takumi Kiyomoto being booked for diving to try and win a penalty.
In the second half, Gifu improved a bit and were close to equalizing when a positive run by Junki Endo ended with his deflected shot being tipped around the post by Shibasaki. Henik had a goalbound effort blocked and Endo almost squeezed one in from a corner, but Gifu were sucker-punched in the 78th minute when Sugimoto again found space in the area, and he bounced his shot over Ota and into the net. Even the introduction of Hiroaki Namba off the bench couldn’t inspire Gifu and they slipped to yet another home defeat – the 6th home defeat of the season.
Gifu need a spark, and need a result from somewhere. Maybe new loan signings Masaki Watanabe & Koya Kazama will see some action, because FC Gifu desperately need something to work for them, otherwise things will look very bleak indeed. Sunday sees King Kazu & Tetsuya Okubo’s Yokohama FC roll into town, and Okubo will be relishing the chance to face the team he scored a hat-trick against last month. With Gifu’s slate of upcoming fixtures (Kanazawa, JEF, Jubilo) it is imperative that a morale boosting performance is delivered. We need a win.