Sunday, November 29, 2009

R50 vs Cerezo Osaka

Cerezo Osaka 2 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 2-1)

Gifu put up a brave fight but lacked the killer punch to knock out J2 giants Cerezo. Again they left Nagai with no points and a one point loss.
Lanky Nishikawa knocked in a ball from close range in just the 8th minutes to give Gifu a shock lead, but this woke up the beast that is Cerezo and they grabbed the lead after 20 minutes, the second goal a blinder. They then went back into hibernation for the rest of the game.
Again it was a game that Gifu could have won, but again, without inspirational skipper Kazunori they looked a bit flat on attack.
With Fukuoka winning against Mito today, a top 10 finish to the season is now impossible. Kumamoto's win put them just a point behind Gifu, along with Toyama. So depending on next weeks results Gifu could finish anywhere between 11th and 14th.
Confirmed players that won't be playing for Gifu next year are:

Kan (Kikuchi)
Seo Kwan Soo

Hopefully Gifu can put on a good performance against Tokushima with a healthy crowd behind them and give these players a good send off.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

R49 vs Consadole Sapporo

FC Gifu 2 - 4 Consadole Sapporo (ht 1-3)

After a great defensive display against Chiba last week, Gifu were knocked back down to earth conceding 3 goals to be down 3-0 after just 21 minutes. The first goal was the result of bad defense, the second a horrible miss by keeper Noda, and the third was the result of a sublime strike by Danielson. Gifu scored one goal to Satou to place the score at 3-1 going into the second half, and give Gifu a faint chance at catching up to Sapporo, but Sapporo struck back early in the second half, and although Satou struck again for his second, it was not enough. Sapporo never looked like losing and played the better football, whereas Gifu looked disinterested, maybe still hungover from their victory celebrations of last week.
There were some positives to come out of the match though. First was that Gifu scored their first goals against Sapporo. Second was that Satou scored the 100th J2 goal for FC Gifu and in the process moved his total up to 15 for the season - 9th overall in the J2. The last point was that Gifu attracted their 100.000th spectator of the season, with 7,800 spectators turning up in the cold rain.

Next week is a trip to Osaka to play Cerezo. Gifu's past results at Nagai are two hard-fought 1-0 losses, and they are going to have to pull something special out of the bag if they are going to win this one. A loss will see them most likely plummet down the rankings to 13th or 14th...

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Emperor's Cup Round 4

FC Gifu 1 - 0 JEF United Chiba (ht 1-0)

FC Gifu claimed their first ever J1 scalp on sunday, at the same time progressing to the best 8 for the first time in their short history.
In the first half, bar the occassional outbreak by JEF, Gifu looked strong, creating plenty of space and chances. They didn't hit the scoreboard until the 44th minute though, when Yoshimoto kicked a loose ball in from a corner-kick.
JEF came out firing in the second half, dominating on the field and setting up chances of their own. They couldn't get on the board though as Gifu's defense stayed strong and in the end suffered another painful loss to add to their season of woes.

Gifu will now face Nagoya Grampus (again! - Yawn...) on December 12th to decide who will get to the best 4 to face either Albirix Niigata or Shimizu S-Pulse.

Monday, November 9, 2009

R48 vs Fagiano Okayama

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

I didn't see this game because I was at Mito watching Vegalta getting promoted but from what I saw of the highlights it was a pretty close game. Okayama have lacked the killer punch all year and it showed again in this game. Gifu left it till late in the second half, with Kazumasa bagging a PK after Shimada was pulled down in the box, and then Satou knocking in another with just minutes left on the clock.
The win was Gifu's first in eight games and was vital as the Fukuoka and Toyama both grabbed points and had lept above Gifu in the table before the game. The win though sees Gifu remain in 11th, just two points behind a top ten finish with three games to go.
For a top ten finish Gifu will have to win probably at least three out of their last three games. This won't be easy though as those opponents are Sapporo (Gifu has never beaten them), Osaka (Earned promotion to the J1 - Still fighting for the championship) and Tokushima (The most improved team in the J2 this year).
Still, there is hope and it will make an exciting finish to the year for the team. The can still finish anywhere between 10th and 14th.

Next weekend is the big game vs J2 new-comers JEF United Chiba at Kumagaya. Should be a good one. Gifu after making the best 16 for the first time will now be looking to make the best 8, as well as claim their first ever J1 scalp.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Emperor's Cup Round 3

FC Gifu 4 - 1 Matsumoto Yamaga FC (ht 1-0)

FC Gifu claimed their second scalp of the cup this year beating Matsumoto 4-1 in Akita. I wasn't able to make the game unfortunately, being in Tokyo at the time, but reports say that Gifu beat Matsumto through slick passing, superior body size, and a good game plan.
Gifu struck first midway through the firsthalf through a Yoshimoto header from a corner kick. In the second half they scored again through a Satou goal, only to be pegged back a goal a few minutes later when Matsumoto scored. This set up a tense few minutes just after the goal, but when Kazumasa slotted a PK not long after, the game was effectively over. In the dying minutes Nishikawa slotted himself a goal and that was that.
Apparently only 560 people turned up for the game in Akita. About 100 from Gifu, 50 odd from Matsumoto and the other 400 or so people probably from around the surrounding area.
Quite funny that. If the game had been played in Matsumoto there would have been probably over 5000 at the game but....

Anyway, all this means that Gifu will now be playing JEF Chiba in Saitama-Ken on November 15th. Considering Gifu has never beaten a J1 team in an official match, this will be a great chance for them. Chiba though will be slightly confident after disposing of Trinita 3-2 in Oita, and will also be playing basically in front of a home crowd. Still, it should be a good match!

For more Emperor's Cup results/draw etc in English go here.