Just three days after Gifu’s worst performance of the season came a superb bounceback performance as Gifu left the beautiful city of Sapporo with all three points.
FC Gifu starting XI: Tokizawa, Masuyama, Watanabe, Okane, Nogaito, Kazama, Henik, Takachi, Aoki, Namba, Leo Mineiro.
Gifu, not surprisingly, made some changes from the team that lost 0-3 at home to Oita on Sunday with Koya Kazama coming back into the team in place of the suspended Gilsinho. Both full backs were replaced – Masuyama in for Abe and Nogaito in for Fuji. and the impressive and hard-working Tsubasa Aoki came in to partner Henik in the centre of midfield.
Consadole almost took the lead immediately as defender Uehara found himself unmarked 7 yards out, but Tokizawa palmed the ball over. Gifu started to get into the game and they took the lead just after the half hour. J2’s assist king Keiji Takachi swung in a vicious corner and Masaki Watanabe glanced in a header at the near post. It was the defenders first goal for the club, and what a time to get it.
Just before half time, defender Naoya Okane had to be alert to block a Sapporo attack down the left but that was about the limit of Consa’s attacking threat and Gifu went in at the break 1-0 up.
Sapporo again came out the blocks quick and “Gifu-killer” Uchimura was first to test Tokizawa, but Satoshi held on his shot at the second attempt. Consadole then wasted a couple of good chances as Arano and then Horikome both failed to keep their cool when staring down on goal.
Gifu came so close to a second when Henik thumped a howitzer against the crossbar, and then minutes later Leo Mineiro smashed his penalty – won by himself – against the bar too. Leo made amends for that miss when took a beautiful pass from Hiroaki Namba, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the empty net in the 93rd minute.
But not quite as Consadole’s Uehara headed in a goal in the 95th minute to give Gifu more than a few scares, but the final whistle went soon after and Gifu got the win they craved after such a disappointing defeat on Sunday.
Next up for Gifu is another crucial game, this time at the K’s Denki Stadium against fellow strugglers Mito Hollyhock. Gifu have won their last three away games, and so will go there in confident mood.