Another defeat, this time at the hands of a team looking for promotion, leaves FC Gifu desperately trying to figure out how they can get out relegation hell.
FC Gifu starting XI: Tokizawa, Abe, Okane, Watanabe, Nogaito, Aoki, Henik, Sunakawa, Takachi, Kazama, Namba
FC Gifu had already survived a half hearted penalty shout when Cerezo claimed handball against Makoto Sunakawa before the hosts were awarded a spot kick after just 10 minutes. Some neat interplay on the Cerezo right led to Sakemoto apparently being brought down by Nogaito, but the replays showed that the contact was minimal at best. Still, those things go against you when you are at the foot of the table, and it was no surprise to see ex-Nagoya forward Keiji Tamada slot his penalty right down the centre of the goal.
After this, the game seemed to settle into a slower pace, possibly due to the fact that the game, despite kicking off at 7pm, was being played in some serious humidity. Gifu broke dangerously a couple of times, once when Keiji Takachi drove into the area but his cross was diverted behind. Cerezo looked to spread the ball wide at every opportunity, and Pablo did a good job finding that space and causing problems for Masanori Abe. Pablo came close to adding a second for Cerezo, but his free-kick flashed just wide.
Home ‘keeper Tanno had to be aware as Henik let fly from 25 yards out, but the custodian got over to tip the ball over the bar. The half ended with Cerezo coming close, Japanese international Hotaru Yamaguchi firing just past the post.
The second half started with Gifu on top, and they missed a glorious chance to level things just two minutes into the half. A nice passing move saw Hiroaki Namba get into space on the left and his cross beautifully picked out Koya Kazama but, with all the goal to aim at, he put his header wide. It was THE chance for Gifu and unfortunately it went begging again.
Just after this, Cerezo’s Yusuke Maruhashi looked pretty lucky to only receive a yellow when he seemed to kick Masanori Abe on the floor. Naoya Okane was also booked in the same incident for coming in and fanning the flames. He needs to learn to calm down a bit.
Gifu brought on Gilsinho & Leo Mineiro to spark their attack, but it was Cerezo’s Brazilian signing Edmilson who really should have put the game to bed but he inexplicably missed an open goal from six yards out. Gifu tried to apply pressure in the closing stages but only really had a long range Leo Mineiro effort to show for their exertions.
Another defeat, and now Gifu run the real risk of getting cut adrift at the bottom. We now sit three points behind Oita Trinita, who also lost at the weekend, but we are seven points behind Tochigi SC and Mito. Gifu travel to Tochigi next week knowing that a defeat is almost unthinkable, but a win is almost a necessity.