Sunday, May 31, 2009

R18 vs Avispa Fukuoka

Avispa Fukuoka 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

FC Gifu started off the second part of the season with a well fought victory over Avispa in Fukuoka. Fukuoka created plenty of chances, but couldn't finish them off. Gifu played pretty well throughout the game too but unlike Avispa managed to squeek a in a goal to claim the three points and move up to 13th in the table. The goal was produced by great dribble and passing by Shimada and Takagi and finished off by Satou who calmly passed around the keeper to score the match winner.
Afterwards the Fukuoka fans, angry at not being able to win in 10 games held a protest and wouldn't budge from their seats until the Fukuoka managers etc came out and said a few words... ahhh.. it's good to win away!
As for Level 5 Stadium, it's a pretty impressive stadium. They even sell Blue Whale Kebabs... which were pretty good... err I had to try for scientific purposes...
Anyway the win gave Gifu it's first 2-game winning streak this year, and a win against the struggling Mito on wednesday could give the team its first 3-game winning streak and 3-game home winning streak in the J2. But unfortunately, Mito can never be trusted to give in easily...
Should be a good game.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 J2 Season 1/3 Review

Table (Round 17)

41 Cerezo Osaka (+20)
39 Shonan Bellmare (+21)
35 Vegalta Sendai (+35)
34 Ventforet Kofu (+9)
28 Mito Hollyhock (0)
27 Consadole Sapporo (+4)
25 Tokyo Verdy (+1)
24 Ehime FC (+4)
24 Tokushima Vortis (+3)
23 Kataller Toyama (-1)
20 Thespa Kusatsu (-4)
20 Sagan Tosu (-6)
17 Avispa Fukuoka (-8)
16 Roasso Kumamoto (-8)
16 FC Gifu (-11)
14 Tochigi SC (-10)
12 Fagiano Okayama (-17)
7 Yokohama FC (-13)

So Gifu's ends the first third of the 2009 J2 with a 4 win, 4 loss, 9 loss record.
All-in-all, not too bad considering the changes that happened within the team since the 2008 season.
Importantly for the fans, three of those wins were at home.
The problem for Gifu has been trying to find the right mix of attack and defense. Their goals for record is 14 (15th= with Tochigi SC), whereas their goals against record is 25 (14th= with Yokohama FC). So with those stats in mind it's easy to see why Gifu are 15th on the table.
Their attack is in the close - but no cigar territory. Plenty of chances, just no one's putting their hands up to fire in that winning goal. The formula is quite simple for Gifu, if they score at least one goal then they usually manage a win or a draw. Only once when they scored a goal they lost (Tokushima 3-1). On the other hand when they scored no goals they lost eight times and drew only one. This team thrives on confidence and momentum.
Defense on the other hand has been a big problem, with the core of the DF squad playing their first games in the J-league. This of course will probably get better over time, as these new players get the necessary experience needed, but unfortunately for the time being there are like to be a few hefty scores against Gifu by teams like Shonan and Cerezo.

R17 vs Roasso Kumamoto

FC Gifu 1 - 0 Roasso Kumamoto (ht 1-0)

Gifu kept it's unbeaten record against Kumamoto in tact with a Katagiri PK being enough to knock out the visitors and leave Gifu in 15th place one third of the way through the competition.
The game itself was a spectacle. Good attacking football from both sides. This si a fierce rivalry and it showed. Both teams had plenty of chances and the game could have easily gone to the visitors if it hadn't been for some great last-minute desperate defense by Gifu.
So job well done, and three home wins this season already for Gifu. Also they managed to win two in a row at home for the first time in the J-league.
Goodness all round!
Next, the big trip down to Fukuoka!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

R16 vs Yokohama FC

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

After a dour first half where I almost fell asleep (and Yokohama scored there goal), the second half opened up to provide a bit of entertainment, especially after Someya's equaliser in the 55th minute. Both teams pushed hard for that elusive bottom of the table win but had to be content with a draw.
So Gifu avoided an embarrassing loss to Yokohama who haven't won at home for about 18 games. In avoiding the loss Gifu kept off the bottom of the table and but were later overtaken by rival scum Tochigi SC.
Next though, they face their most bitter rivals, Roasso Kumamoto, who they have yet to lose to. The question is, for how long??

Sunday, May 17, 2009

R15 vs Consadole Sapporo

Consadole Sapporo 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Ahh the trip to Sapporo.. was it worth it? Hell yeah! Apart from the game itself it was a great trip and seeing Gifu play in the dome was awesome.
But the signs were there from the start when Gifu walked out in their home uniforms. Gifu rarely play well in that uniform, and under the lights of the dome it shows that the uniform is probably the worst in the J league....
The game itself was as the score indicates dominated by Sapporo. Gifu defense wasn't too bad but Consadole just had the right players for the job. The injury to Kawashima in the second half (broken collarbone??) is going to hurt. Gifu was finally getting their defense sorted lately.
This wednesdays game is against Yokohama FC. A must win for Gifu to keep off the bottom of the table. Unfortunately with Kawashima and Kikuchi Kan out due to injury theyre probably going to have to win by scoring goals.. (paste striker here.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

R14 vs Fagiano Okayama

FC Gifu 4 - 0 Fagiano Okayama (ht 2-0)

Your eyes are not betraying you. Yes, Gifu managed to score four goals. Yes, Gifu managed to win at home again. Gifu, winless in ten games, was hungry for a win against no-loss-in-four-games Okayama. A combination of a tired Okayama team and an inspired Gifu team (plus a Okayama red-card in the second half) led to this goal fest at Nagaragawa. Actually, it's the first time that Gifu has ever scored four goals in the J2 at home.
Defense was tight, passwork was brilliant, and the forwards made plenty of chances. Okayama was lucky not to come out another couple of goals down.
Nishikawa bagged his first J2 goal, followed by a hat-trick. Kan also scored his first goal of the season. It was goodness all round.
I almost forgot what it felt like to win...
Next is the big trip to Sapporo!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

R13 vs Cerezo Osaka

Cerezo Osaka 1 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

Some brave defense by Gifu almost got the boys a point from their visit to Osaka but the head of that pesky Kaio was the difference as Osaka came out with a hard fought three points, whereas Gifu was yet again left to think what could have been...
Gifu played some pretty good footy but against Osaka they need better than that. Now, after this game, Gifu has played Cerezo four times, lost four, and has yet to score a goal against the mighty pink and purples...
They have also failed to score in their last four games and are winless in their last nine games...
can this change against Okayama this weekend?? I would hope so... but then again, we're playing at home!!

R12 vs Tokyo Verdy

FC Gifu 0 - 0 Tokyo Verdy (ht 0-0)

...and the spoils were shared in the inaugural "Green Derby". A solid crowd was at Nagaragawa on a sunny day to watch a good battle unfold between past-J1 Tokyo Verdy and past-JFL FC Gifu. Both teams had chances to put this game away. For Verdy Oguro played a good game and was close on a few occasions but Gifu also had a few chances of their own.
Positives were the first blank sheet in defense for a while but once again a lack of strike power up front cost Gifu from claiming a famous (in Gifu!) victory for the boys.