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