Sunday, June 29, 2008

R23 Home Away From Home

Tokushima Vortis 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)
FC Gifu again showed that they loved playing away from home by grinding out a tough 1-0 victory at Naruto. Both teams had a few chances with Tokushima looking slighty better after a scoreless first 45 minutes. FC Gifu found it hard to get any momentum going with plenty of passes going astray, but in the 70th minute MF Hiromi Kojima put up his hand for a starting spot by belting in a nice goal from just outside the box. Tokushima then threw everything at Gifu in the final 10 minutes or so but Gifu's defense held sturdy.
Again defensively the team played well but again on attack and in the midfield things weren't quite so peachy. I'm predicting that maybe "ace" Katayama will be off the starting 11 next week and replaced by perhaps Kojima. Whatever happens, there needs to be a change up front.
Next game July 5th (home) vs Montedio Yamagata
This will be a tough one. 2nd placed Yamagata are on a high at the moment and Gifu will need to play their best to beat them. The question is, do they know how to do this at home???

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

R22 Lack Of Strike-Power

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka (ht 0-0)
I've come to a realisation about FC Gifu over the last few weeks. We are seriously in need of a good Forward who knows where to be at the right time.
This was once again shown tonight as Gifu created plenty of scoring chances, defended like demons, but yet again came out on the wrong side of a game that seemed destined to end either a 0-1 loss or a 0-0 draw.
The home stats show it all. 11 games - 1 win, 3 draws, 7 losses. 6 goals scored in those 11 games by Gifu, 18 against. 7 scoreless games for Gifu.
Going to Nagara Stadium almost means going to watch Gifu lose....
Anyway, in the end of the day Gifu were beaten by MF Tatsunori Hisanaga's nice heading goal in the 62nd minute. Yusuke Tanaka was red-carded in the 70th minute for elbowing Atsushi Katagiri in the head, but Gifu couldn't take advantage of it. Although I definitely wouldn't say that Fukuoka were the best team on the day, they got the goal, and ultimately that was enough to put them a place ahead on the table, knocking Gifu back down to 10th.
Next game June 28th (away) vs Tokushima Vortis

Saturday, June 21, 2008

R21 Hot Water Battle - Part 2

Kusatsu Thespa 1 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)
FC Gifu let three points slip as they were pegged back by Kusatsu after obtaining an early goal. Kusatsu came out firing, looking for a new club record of five wins on the trot, but were shocked when Gifu FW Masato Katayama got a goal in the 23rd minute. A bit of a lucky goal, being fired like a bullet by Atsushi Katagiri into the legs of Katayama and then deflected into the goal.
In the second half Kusatsu once again came out firing and were finally rewarded with a goal to Yasunori Takada in the 70th minute. Both teams then fought to the death for the winning goal but it was not to be and the games ended in a draw.
It was a pretty impressive first half for Gifu and once again their defense throughout was good. They will be disappointed at losing after gaining an early lead but to stop Kusatsu's four game winning streak was in itself a good effort.
Next game June 25th (home) vs Avispa Fukuoka
Can Gifu break the curse of Nagara Stadium??

Sunday, June 15, 2008

R20 Back On Track

Yokohama FC 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)
FC Gifu finally got back on track in Yokohama today holding onto a gritty 1-0, their first win since May 11th in round 13.
The game's solitary goal came in the 68th minute when a loose corner kick ball was kicked into the net by Kan Kazunori.
The first half wasn't overly exciting with both sides playing well defensively but only having one shot at goal. In the second half the pace picked up a bit and Yokohama squandered at least two golden chances at goal. But in the end of the day Gifu's defense held strong, producing its third clean sheet in as many weeks. Yokohama may be a bit unlucky to have not even managed a draw in this game but at the same time Gifu will be happy that they won, especially considering the referee blowed the whistle on them too many times when it looked like there were good counter-attacking chances ahead.
Next week Gifu visit Kusatsu Thespa and will be determined to break Kusatsu's impressive four game winning streak and at the same time gain revenge for the loss inflicted on them in round 14.
Next game June 21st (away) vs Kusatsu Thespa

Thursday, June 12, 2008

R19 Same Result - Different Game

FC Gifu 0 - 0 Roasso Kumamoto (ht 0-0)

For the second successive week Gifu could only manage a nil-all draw but this week the performance on the field was far from pretty. Roasso came to Gifu with determination to win the game but it seems that Gifu are still being bogged down by the pressure of playing at home, even if it was only in front of a pultry 2000 odd spectators.
Last week Gifu were unlucky not to win but this week it was the opposite. Their passes were intercepted left, right, and centre and although they almost pulled off a last minute winner they didn`t offer much for the opposition GK all night.
The one positive point was again their defense and the performance of GK Suguru Hino.

In other results Mito and Tokushima gained impressive wins to be within reach of Gifu on the table whereas Kusatsu won their third game in a row (the first time ever) to jump even further ahead.
This sunday Gifu play Yokohama away. Both teams are struggling at the moment so it should be an interesting match. A Gifu loss would see them most likely slip down to 13th or so on the table....

Next game June 14th (away) vs Yokohama FC

Sunday, June 8, 2008

R18 Ganbattakedo...

Ehime FC 0 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

On Sunday out-of-form Gifu took on Ehime in Matsuyama. It was a pretty good game by both teams, evenly contested, and in the end neither team could take advantage of some close opportunities and finished with a solitary point each.
For Gifu, the team played pretty well, had opportunites, but couldn't convert. On the other hand, in defense they played well and kept Ehime's attack at bay and as a result managed to hold a clean-sheet for only the second time this season.

This wednesdays game against Roasso Kumamoto at home is turning out to be a must-win game for Gifu now. The three main reasons for this are:
1. RIVALRY! Kumamoto are enemy number one for Gifu!
2. Gifu have only won once at home this season and that was in Round 4!
3. Teams like Thespa Kusatsu, Avispa Fukuoka and Mito Hollyhock are on form and have either overtaken Gifu in the table or are about to!

Next game June 11th (home) vs Roasso Kumamoto

Monday, June 2, 2008

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Ventforet Kofu (ht 0-0)

FC Gifu finally stopped their run of losses and goal drought but could still only manage a 1-all draw against Kofu.
Super goal saving by Suguru Hino kept Gifu in the game throughout as Kofu poured in wave after wave of attack.
Gifu struck first though in the 56th minute when DF Kan Kikuchi made Kofu pay for some sloppy defensive work in the goal area but Kofu then struck back in the 72nd minute when FW Toshiaki Haji headed in a goal to set up a tense finish.
In the end Kofu had 13 shots to Gifu's four and were visiably upset to not get three points from this game. Their supporters even made them sit around on the field after the game as they voiced their opinions on the days happenings.... no wonder Gifu DF Shinya Nasu wanted to change teams at the end of last season!

Next game June 8th (away) vs Ehime FC