Monday, September 28, 2009

R42 vs Ventforet Kofu

FC Gifu 1 - 2 Ventforet Kofu (ht 0-0)

The motivation for promotion to the J1 proved to be too much for mid-table FC Gifu as Kofu came back from a goal down in the second half to nail home an impressive 2-1 victory at Nagaragawa. While the first half was pretty even but leaning slightly towards Kofu, the second half was almost totally Kofu. Even after Gifu DF Yoshimoto (on-loan from FC Tokyo) knocked in a fortuitous goal part way through the second half, it was always a question of when Kofu would equal the score, and then one they had done that, the knockout blow was almost inevitable.
Gifu were done by two set-plays (corners) which shows how this is still a defensive weak point for them, while their own set-plays are virtually non-existant.
It was a bitter loss. Gifu lost two in a row for the first time in a while, got beaten after leading, and lost the chance to beat Kofu for the first time in their history. They also got knocked down to 11th on the table and now have Kusatsu and Fukuoka snapping at their heels.
Next they face an on-fire Sagan Tosu. Gifu haven't lost three in a row yet this year but they're going to have to dig deep to get out of this one...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

R41 vs Tochigi SC

Tochigi SC 2-1 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Last saturday Gifu played pretty average but still managed a 3-1 win over Mito. Today's game they played even worse and were rewarded with a 2-1 loss to bottom placed Tochigi. Passes were missed, shots went astray and in general timing was a shambles. After Gifu went 2-0 down, they did manage to peg one back through Shimada, and it looked like they might be in for an unlikely victory, but Tochigi held the ball well, and Gifu as a result suffered their first loss to Tochigi in the J2. One major thing that has been plaguing FC Gifu this year is Manager Matsunaga's timing for replacements. Almost always way to late. In games like today when the team wasn't playing well he should have made changes earlier to change the tempo of things. While he did make the changes after 70 minutes today and the team did climb back and score a goal, it was ultimately too late. If it had been 5 or 10 minutes earlier it could have changed the game.
But it's not only when we're losing that his substitution is slow. When we are winning games comfortably and there are players who could do with some good game time and experience, whilst also resting some of the starting players, his substitution is slow and most players only come off the bench for a matter of minutes....
Anyway, would be nice if this could change at some stage...

Next game, back at home vs Ventforet Kofu who Gifu has never beaten.
Gambare boys! Only 10 games left!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

R40 vs Mito Hollyhock

FC Gifu 3 - 1 Mito Hollyhock (ht 0-0)

This was one of those games that took a while before things started happening. In fact the first half might as well not have happened. Considering the game was played at 1pm, in the 30degree heat, it's not too much of a surprise that players and fans alike took a while to get into the game.
Gifu opened the scoring through Satou and Nishikawa before Mito hit back to move the score to 2-1 and set up a tense finish. Gifu though prevailed, and managed to get another goal through Nishikawa, giving Gifu the win and bragging rights over Mito for the year.
The win puts Gifu into the top 10 in the table, and virtually ends Mito's chances of promotion this year.
Although they scored three goals, it was good, aggressive tackling and defense that won this one for Gifu.
This wednesday, is the trip to Tochigi and a chance of a three game winning streak.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

R39 vs Kataller Toyama

Kataller Toyama 0 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)

Finally the day came when Gifu was able to claim the scalp of their Toyama opponents. Throughout the JFL and J2, Gifu had managed three draws and one loss to Toyama teams. Today though came revenge. The weather cleared up for the game and Gifu dominated from the start. Things looked a bit patchy in defense but Gifu was able to keep the sheet clean for the first time in a while.
Goals came through Shimada in the first half and Nishikawa in the second half. A great performance and perfect revenge for the 3-0 loss earlier in the year.
The win keeps Gifu in 11th place but now they are just one point behind Toyama and a top ten placing on the table.

Next game vs the mighty Mito Hollyhock!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

R38 vs Shonan Bellmare

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Shonan Bellmare (ht 1-0)

There's an old cliche, "a game of two halves", and this was shown perfectly today when Gifu outplayed Shonan in the first half, grabbing a one point lead through captain Kazunori, but then were outplayed in the second half, letting in a goal, and letting the game slip into a draw.
It was a draw in which both teams left the field hurting. Gifu, having taken the lead, failed to capitalise and go on to the win. Shonan, although catching up to Gifu, failed to get that extra goal that will be vital for them in the race to promotion.

Next game: The Tokai-Hokuriku Derby in Toyama.
Gifu have never beaten Toyama and this is their chance...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

R37 vs Roasso Kumamoto

Roasso Kumamoto 2 - 5 FC Gifu (ht 1-3)

Gifu took avenge for their 5-2 loss to Roasso the last time the two teams met, by scoring 5 themselves in a ramsacking in Kumamoto. Roasso opened the scoring after just three minutes, but Gifu struck back through Shimada, Tominari and Nishikawa, to take a 3-1 lead into the break. After the break 2 quick goals by Satou took the score to 5-1, before a goal in additional time to Roasso saw the game end at 5-2. Kumamoto's defense was pretty weak, and players like Hashimoto and Shimada exploited it to great effect. All in all a great win for the team, especially considering they had only two days and a length of the country journey to recover from.

Next game... Shonan. The big boys are in town. Should be a classic. Go the Gif!!!