Saturday, August 30, 2008

R33 Out-Oranged Again....

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Ehime FC (ht 0-0)

Out-classed again, Gifu slumped to yet another loss at home and are now eight games without a win.
Play once again just didn't look positive in general and although the game could have easily ended in a draw it was Ehime who looked the more dangerous team especially through their counter attacks.
The first half once again belonged to the opposing team with Gifu not playing well at all, and although they picked up the pace in the second half the goal to Ehime's MF Syuichi Akai in the 74th minute was ultimately too much for Gifu to peg back.
Is there an end in sight for their misery??
Seemingly not, as their next four games are against Hiroshima, Osaka, Sendai and Kofu...

Next game September 7th (away) vs Sanfreece Hiroshima

Sunday, August 24, 2008

R32 Hammered

Thespa Kusatsu 3 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 3-0)

Once again a lacklustre display by Gifu saw them crash to a heavy defeat in Gunma today. Goals to Shimada (25th), Kumabayashi (28th) and Goto (37th) effectively ended the game before half time.

In a wet slippery stadium Gifu's defense was torn apart by the attacking proess of Kusatsu in the first half. Kustsu were going forward whereas Gifu just looked awful.
In the second half a lax Kusatsu took their foot off the pedal and allowed Gifu alot more control. With the injection of Otomo again with half an hour to go the attack started to look dangerous and Gifu were rewarded with a goal to Katagiri. But that's all there was. Gifu looked very average today.

Next game August 30th (home) vs Ehime FC

Monday, August 18, 2008

R31 Another Draw

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Tokushima Vortis (ht 0-1)

Another home game, another two points down the drain. Gifu once again failed to impress the crowd of 3500 spectators and now remain winless in their last six games.
After only watching the highlights of this game, and hearing other fans comments it seems that Tokushima played the better of the two teams and were unlucky not to win.
Tokushima got the scoring underway with a goal to FW Souza in the 42nd minute but Gifu struck back in the 80th minute through MF Otomo.
So the last third of the comp starts the same way as the 2nd third ended. Another draw.
Joy. Rapture. Excitement.

Join us next week as Gifu takes on another draw-hunter Kusatsu. Can Gifu break their drought?

Next game August 24th (home) vs Kusatsu Thespa

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FC Gifu - J2 Season 2/3 preview

FC Gifu have now battled for two-thirds of their inaugural J2 season. Below are some thoughts on the second-third of the season and season thus far.

R30 J2 Table (FC Gifu Result)

65 Sanfreece Hiroshima (1-1) (0-4)
50 Montedio Yamagata (5-3) (2-1)
46 Sagan Tosu (0-1) (0-0)
45 Shonan Bellmare (2-4) (0-0)
45 Vegalta Sendai (0-1) (1-1)
42 Cereso Osaka (0-1) (0-5)
42 Thespa Kusatsu (0-1) (1-1)
39 Avispa Fukuoka (5-1) (0-1)
36 Ventforet Kofu (1-1) (0-0)
34 Yokohama FC (2-3) (1-0)
33 FC Gifu
32 Mito Hollyhock (3-1) (0-1)
27 Ehime FC (0-3) (0-0)
25 Roasso Kumamoto (2-0) (0-0)
15 Tokushima Vortis (2-1) (1-0)

Results show that Gifu have not been good enough to beat most teams at the top of the table and have also stumbled against teams that are or were below them. This has led to a slip from 8th in the competition in Round 15, to 11th in the competition in Round 30.

Results Round 1-30:

Results - Overall
Won 8 Draw 9 Loss 11 (R1-15 W5 D2 L7) (R16-30 W3 D7 L4)

Results - Home
Won 2 Draw 4 Loss 8 (R1-15 W1 D1 L5) (R16-30 W1 D3 L3)

Results - Away
Won 6 Draw 5 Loss 3 (R1-15 W4 D1 L2) (R16-30 W2 D4 L1)

Overall results show that although Gifu haven't won as much in the second-third of the season, they haven't lost as many games either. This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. More draws means that they either drew more games that they could have lost or oppositely drew more games that they could have won.
Away form has again been the saviour for Gifu. With six wins away the are second only to Hiroshima in away form. On the other side of the coin is the fact that there home form is still terrible. 2 wins and 15th (last) in the league...

Overall Gifu can show a bit of pride that they haven't had as many teams beat them in the second part of the competition. However most teams don't settle for draws and in this aspect Gifu will be disappointed. The loss of an extra two points from these draws in winnable games are a telling sign as to why Gifu has slipped down on the table.


Goals - For 30 goals (=12th)

Goals - Against 37 goals (8th)

In the first third of the J2 Gifu played an attacking style of football and were ranked 2nd in goal scoring ability. On the other hand they were ranked 11th in goals against. In the second third of the J2 though, Manager Matsunaga changed the team formation to a defensive one relying on mainly counter-attack to provide goals, in order to stop the flow of goals they were conceding. While Gifu's defense in the second third is amongst the best, their attack in turn, has become one of the worst.
What kind of formation Matsunaga is going to resort to in the last third of the j2 is still a mystery. Gifu have showed that they have the ability to have some of the best attack and defense in the competition, but the question is whether they can find the balance between the two.

Best Players:

1. Atsushi Katagiri
Finally started to show his potential in the second third of the competition. Is up there with the best in goal assists and has managed a few goals for himself too. His free kick winner against Yamagata was a pearler. He is THE key forward for Gifu.

2. Kota Fukatsu
One of the key reasons Gifu's defense has been so strong lately. Aggresive tackler.

3. Takashi Umeda
Goals have been hard to come by lately for Umeda, but his general play is superb and he is glue that holds this team together. Top contender for Gifu player of the year.

Best Games:

1. FC Gifu 2 - 1 Yamagata Montedio
Gifu finally showed that they could score off a set play and that they could win at home (on the odd occasion). Yamagata came back to tie the game up at 1-1 but then Katagiri magically guided the ball over wall from a free kick to seal the winner with only a minute remaining on the clock.

2. Vegalta Sendai 1 - 1 FC Gifu
The first time Gifu play in the best J2 stadium in front of 13000 odd screaming Vegalta fans. Game could of gone either way. Also saw the return of Otomo to his old stamping ground and a great performance by him to boot.

3. Yokohama FC 0 - 1 FC Gifu
As a game from a spectators point of view, this wasn't the best. But Gifu showed plenty of gritty determination to pull out a one goal victory and get revenge for the demoralising come-from-behind defeat to Yokohama FC at Nagara Stadium in the early rounds.

Best Goal:

Atsushi Katagiri's goal vs Vegalta Sendai in round 28. Great right-field dribble from Takashi Umeda and a nicely weighted pass from Hiromi Kojima to Katagiri to net the goal. All after just five minutes of play at Yuatech Stadium, Sendai.


49842 (14 games)
Average Attendace: 3560 (J2 - 14th)

As expected Gifu's poor home form has ultimately led to a dip in the number of people attending the games. Another factor is the fact that they didn't play any of the crowd-pulling pleasers like Hiroshima or Yokohama at home this round either.
One other point is that while most of the other teams have a rival team to play which boosts attendance numbers, such as Ehime vs Tokushima, Gifu does not have that rival team in the J2. The pre-season game vs Nagoya Grampus is a great example of this kind of rivalry boosting numbers, as over 10,000 turned up to Nagaragawa to watch that game.
Still though, the faithful always show up at Nagaragawa. Again though, more losses at home, especially to the likes of Tokushima, will unfortunately almost definitely see crowds numbers drop again...


The results have been average for Gifu this third of the competition. There were no big wins for Gifu this time but instead two big losses against Hiroshima and Osaka respectively. Defense, although improving dramatically, has not been able to save Gifu when the goals aren't coming at the other end of the field. There have been good games but there is a growing dissatisfaction among the fans in the way that Gifu are playing the game. There was a stark contrast in the attacking brand of football being played in the first 15 rounds compared with the defensive play shown in the second 15 rounds. For fans this is quite a hard transition to watch, but if the results begin to come through then the fans should warm up to the change.
What will the last 15 rounds bring? A good performance could see Gifu finish mid-table or even slightly above. A continue in their current form could see them fall again though and finishing 15th out of 15 is still a possibility.
How will the 2008 FC Gifu team finish? The last 15 rounds will define the season for Gifu. If they fade, the season will become a disappointing first year. Start winning again though, the season will be a very satisfying one.

Go the Greens! Do it for Gifu!

Monday, August 11, 2008

R30 Defense vs Defense

Sagan Tosu 0 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

FC Gifu finished two-thirds of the competition with nil-all draw away to Sagan Tosu. With both teams being some of the most defensive in the competition there were never going to be many goals shared although both teams did come close.

FC Gifu did wake up from their lacklustre performance against Mito last week and in the first half had the best of the attacking chances. In the second half though Tosu attacked wave-after-wave and only solid defense kept the scoreboard from changing. With a few minutes left remaining Gifu had a few close opportunities, but as in almost all their games this year, bar the game vs Yamagata, they weren't able to find the net to score a dramatic victory.

Next week is a very big game for Gifu. Tokushima, although being at the bottom of the table, have looked good in parts in their last few games and against Gifu away will fancy their chances for an upset there. If Gifu do lose this game a drop to 12th or 13th in the table is almost inevitable as teams like Mito are playing alot better at the moment.

Next game August 17th (home) vs Tokushima Vortis

Friday, August 1, 2008

R29 Welcome to Mr Hyde Stadium

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Mito Hollyhock (ht 0-0)

Why FC Gifu are a completely different team when playing at home is a mystery. In a consistant Jekyll and Hyde like way, Gifu, usually after performing reasonably away, save their worst games for the poor fans who trudge to Nagaragawa Stadium every other week. And for the almost 3000 odd fans who turned up last night, it was no different, as they watched Gifu crumble to be defeated by a spirited Mito Hollyhock, in perhaps Gifu's worst performance of the year thus far.

Taking no credit from Mito, they dominated in every aspect of play. Defence - rock solid, Interplay and passing between players - awesome, they just did the basics right and had obviously done their homework on Gifu too. The first half in particular, they didn't even give Gifu a chance, and were perhaps unlucky to finish the half without a point to their tally. This changed though in the second half when superstar FW Tomoyuki Arata headed in a beautiful ball in the 63rd minute. From then all they had to do was defend...

At this point though Gifu finally woke up and started to attack the opposition goal. One or two close chances were missed, one chance was very close. The game could have easily been tied up, but this would have been undeserved for Gifu. This was Mito's game. In the last moments Mito beautifully wound down the clock and starved Gifu of possession and any chance for a comeback. GK Koji Homma was lucky not to gain a yellow card for his actions in slowing the play down in the last 10 minutes or so, but in the end of the day I'm sure he would have gladly sacrificed a yellow for the team and three points.

The fulltime whistle blew and FC Gifu were greeted with booing for the first time this year. The combination of a very flat, unspirited performance, being beaten by a team under Gifu in the table, plus their horrible run of performances at home, was all a bit too much for some of the fans. Other fans just stood silently....

...the Mito fans and players on the other hand were understandably happy. Congratulations to them on a well deserved win.

The next game for Gifu is against Sagan Tosu away. While their may not be too much pressure on Gifu for that game, their next home game vs Tokushima Vortis will be a different story. If Gifu are unable to win that game I fear what might happen.

Tough times for Gifu. Welcome to the J2!

Next game August 10th (away) vs Sagan Tosu