Ventforet Kofu 1 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)
Gifu fought back from a goal down to draw level 1-all with Kofu in Yamanashi today. The goal was scored by Hiromi Kojima who came on the field as a replacement after 55 minutes and made his presence felt immediately as he popped a goal past the keeper 5 minutes later to put Gifu back on level peggings and at the same time give them a sniff of victory with 20 minutes remaining. The final five minutes had fans from both sides on the edges of their seats as both teams set up scoring chances, but in the end the whistle was blown, and while Gifu were celebrating their first first point in the J2 league, Kofu were heads down as the boos started raining in from their disgruntled supporters.
In the first half Gifu were dominated up front, defence was sturdy but in the 38th minute Kofu striker Haji knocked in a goal from a corner kick to give Kofu a one point lead going into halftime. Gifu were not looking too out of place but their inability to set up scoring chances was in turn putting pressure on their defence. A 1-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of the half.
In the second half, as they did in the Grampus game, Gifu came out with more passion and confidence began to rise in the team. It wasn't till the injection of Kojima though that they started to look threatening. In the 61st minute FW Katagiri faked a goal kick and passed to Kojima who kicked the ball sweetly past the GK Abe for Gifu's first goal in the J-league. Local Gifu hero Moriyama was then subbed-in 10 minutes later and came tantalisingly close to stealing the match winner for Gifu. But the game ended 1-1 with Gifu looking the most likely of the teams to post a winner if only they had an extra five minutes to work with.
The game summary stats though were a different story. Shots at goal 11 - 3 to Kofu. Corner kickes 9 - 2 to Kofu. Kofu will be kicking themselves for lacking the finishing touches to put Gifu away. Gifu though, will be pleased with a draw in their first J2 outing, away and in front of 13000 passionate Yamanashi fans. They showed patience and made the most of their limited chances.
Hold your heads high Gifu! The journey though, starts from here...