Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R4 vs Thespa Kusatsu

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

I don't know what happened in the couple of days since the big 3-0 loss to Ehime, but today Gifu came out firing and in the end picked up a much deserved win against the unbeaten in 2009 Kusatsu. The win was big for two reasons; 1. It was there first win against Kusatsu and 2. It was there first home win of the 2009 season.
The team had three changes from last weeks loss with Katagiri, Hashimoto and Tominari all joining the starting line-up and these players all played a big role in helping Gifu dominate on the field and the final scoreboard.
The cold temperature kept the play on the field quiet throughout periods of the game but the crowd of 2300 that braved the cold temperatures were on fire as they could sense an upset. They had to wait for it though and it came in the 88th minute when Someya scored his first goal for Gifu.

Next week is vs Tokushima who are looking pretty decent this year after a few seasons in the doldrums. Gifu will have to be on their game again if they want to come out with any points from this one. Still, a good win today. That's the shizzle.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

R3 vs Ehime FC

Ehime FC 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Before the 2009 season there was a dream among Gifu supporters that this team of young university graduates would shock the J2 world presenting youth, energy and an attacking spirit that would set Gifu up for a decent mid table finish come december.
Today though, reality set in. Todays team had five starting members from 2008s Tsukuba University team. Three of the other starting members had been struggling for game time last season and so far this season also look like they would be struggling to fit in the 2008 team. But due to a lack of players putting their hands up in the larger squad, and because of their J experience, these players are finding starting spots this year.
Defensively they aren't playing too bad, but communication problems and a lack of ability to clear the ball has lead to a few goals already.
The midfield is not controlling the ball well enough and most ball that gets to the forwards is pretty slow, with the exception of a few counter-attacks.
The forwards look similar to that of last year. With the ball that they do get they are indecisive and once they decide what to do the defense is already set. And those close chances just never seem to go in...
Today Gifu showed all this and subsequently allowed three goals in against an on form Ehime. The last goal was a consolation but Gifu never looked like winning this one.

So reality has set in. This is a young team. There are going to be plenty of losses this year. And probably a few high scoring ones.
With Ehime, Tokushima, Mito etc all looking to have matured alot more this year Gifu will indeed be doing well to avoid bottom of the table. To tell the truth though, they look like the worst team out there so far this year from what I've seen...

Their next task on wednesday isn't going to be easy. Facing Kusatsu at home. A Kusatsu that have one three in a row and are on fire up front.

Come on Gifu, show your spirit!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

R2 vs Ventforet Kofu

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

The 2009 home season began with a reunion with the Nagaragawa blues, as Gifu again failed to take any points away from Nagaragawa Stadium. 6800 odd fans came to see the game, about 1000 odd from Kofu. They were treated to a tight game with both teams never reaching great heights although Kofu were able to snatch a goal in the 17th minute through Morita after a Gifu defensive lapse. Kofu were particularly strong midfield, but up front they lacked spark. Gifu on the other hand put in a good defensive display, but were dominated in the midfield thus only having a few chances up front.
For Kofu a relieving win, but for Gifu disappointment after a good start in round one.

Monday, March 9, 2009

R1 vs Tochigi SC

Tochigi SC 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)

A nicely placed goal by Kazumasa Takagi in the 30th odd minute was enough to silence the crowd of 5500 in Tochigi Green Stadium on sunday. Me, along with the hundred or so Gifu supporters breathed a collective sigh of relief as Gifu, used their extra years experience in the J2 to make sure Gifu kicked off 2009 with an all important three points.
Not that Gifu played much better than Tochigi. Both teams struggled with new combinations and perhaps a few nerves. There were a few close shaves for both teams but in the end Gifus defense held well and never looked in too much trouble.
All in all a good first off win, but the team won't be able to relax, as next weekend they face Kofu at home. Kofu will be fuming after yet again failing to win their opening round match, while Gifu will be looking to exercise the home demons of the 2008 season where they only won three games at home.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2009 prediction and goal for FC Gifu

FC Gifu have stated that the team is aiming to end 10th or above in their second season in the J2. While I don't think this is impossible, this will definitely be a tough ask, especially with such a young team. But while remaining quietly optimistic, realistically, a finish above 17th will be seen as a good one for the team considering the amount of player changes and experience lost.

No doubt about it, this is a rebuilding year for Gifu. The biggest goal will this year be to develop the young team, avoiding injury, and providing a platform for these young stars to get out and perform in the years to come.

Their buildup to 2009 has been pretty good, recording training match wins over Kyoto and Kawasaki to name a few, although the question will come when these young players have to play in front of big crowds and raudy fans, as we saw against Nagoya Grampus last week. It's a different ball-game, and they'll have to get used to the added pressure.

Immediate team goals for 2009:
Beat the three new teams, Okayama, Tochigi, and Kataller. Especially Toyama, as Gifu has never beaten them.
Score goals against Cerezo Osaka and Ehime FC. They have yet to do so.
Beat Sapporo, Tokyo, Sendai, Osaka, Shonan, Kofu, Kusatsu and Ehime. They have yet to do so.
Keep their unbeaten record against Tokushima, Kumamoto, Toyama and Okayama.
Win more then three games at home!!!

As far as FC Gifu as a company is concerned, gaining financial sponsorship is top on the list. Gifu is the only team in the J1 and 2 without a main shirt sponsor. Beg beg beg! Do what you have to do! This team deserves a sponsor too!!
Also avoiding more debt whilst paying off debt is well... if Gifu want to be around next year... of the utmost importance!
I don't expect crowd figures to rise and if anything probably drop a bit. A lack of star players and a LONG LONG season should see numbers drop a bit, but the main thing is that management realise this and take the appropriate financial measures to keep the team afloat! As mentioned before, I few more home wins might also give the attendance figures a bit of a boost too!

Anyway here's my prediction for the 2009 end of season table. Gotta be realsitic here (as far as Gifu is concerned!)

1. Sendai 2. Osaka 3. Kofu 4. Shonan 5. Tokyo 6. Sapporo 7. Fukuoka 8. Tosu 9. Kusatsu 10. Mito 11. Yokohama 12. Kumamoto 13. Tokushima 14. Ehime 15. Toyama 16. Tochigi 17. Gifu 18. Okayama

Should be a good season anyway! To my friends and foes, see you at the stadiums throughout Japan!! ...and Ganbare FC Gifu!!!