Sanfreece Hiroshima 4 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 2-0)
Hiroshima showed everyone on saturday night why they are the form team of the J2 and why they will almost certainly be seeing themselves back in the J1 in 2009. Sure the team has been a little out of form of late, but following a wednesday game away (Gifu had a bye), and with injury to key players, the team showed that they are an obvious class above the rest of the J2. Of course they haven't won all games and have been pushed hard by teams in the lower end of the table, but in football a top team rarely goes through a season unbeaten now do they?
FC Gifu, did not play too bad, but Hiroshima proved that the main difference was the difference in class between the forwards, with Sanfreece having the ability to strike when other forwards would usually miss.
Gifu actually held on well for the first 42 minutes, but just when it seemed that Gifu would go into the half at 0-0 Sanfreece struck through MF Kohei Morita in the 42nd and then MF Yosuke Kashiwagi in the 44th. If Gifu was to have a chance to win the game they needed to do it right after the break but it was instead Hiroshima who added more to the tally with a goal in the 48th minute to FW Hisato Sato and then to rub salt into the wounds a PK to Koji Morisaki in the 62nd.
So for Gifu, this game finally introduced the harsh reality that they are a club recently promoted from the JFL. Surely they were thrashed by Cereso Osaka 5-0 in Round 16, but that result was more to do with the referee than the ability of Osaka or Gifu. In contrast, in this game Hiroshima showed Gifu what kind of play needs to be produced if the teams wants to be eventually promoted to the J1. This was a powerful showing by Hiroshima, and it would have surely awoken many of the Gifu players and supporters into the reality of their situation this year.
Anyway, it will be very interesting to see how they react when they play Shonan at home this weekend. A win will no doubt add some confidence back to the team, but a loss followed by a tough away trip to Sendai could see them slip right back down in the table.
Next game July 19th (home) vs Shonan Bellmare