There is a pulse! Gifu are still on life support in J2, but their chance of survival received a huge shot in the arm after an own goal gave them a huge win at fellow relegation candidates Tochigi SC.
FC Gifu starting XI: Tokizawa, Masuyama, Watanabe, Okane, Nogaito, Miyazawa, Henik, Kazama, Takachi, Leo Mineiro, Namba.
Tochigi started off on the front foot, and it took a good block from Satoshi Tokizawa in the tenth minute to keep the score blank. Gifu did show signs of attack. Henik, never one to shy away from a long range effort, skied a shot from 30 yards just on the half hour. Hiroaki Namba, currently in a goal drought, had a chance to end that just before half time, but his close range effort was blocked by the Tochigi keeper.
Half time came with the game goalless, but that changed in the 60th minute, when Gifu snatched a priceless goal. Koya Kazama’s dangerous cross from the right was inadvertently glanced into his own net by Tochigi defender Lee Joo Young and Gifu had the lead they craved.
Tokizawa had to make a good save from a Sakano free-kick to preserve the lead, but preserve it they did and the three points took them level with Oita and within four of Tochigi with a game in hand.
Gifu’s defensive situation has improved since the Omiya game, and they’ll need that to continue as they play their game in hand, against Gunma, on Wednseday night. A win there, and Gifu’s pulse will be racing…..