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Weekend round-up

Gamba hold Kawasaki to 2-2 draw, move up to 9th place

Kawasaki came into the game in 4th place looking to close in on a Champions League place for next year while the home side were looking to ease lingering relegation worries. In the end both had to settle for a share of the spoils following an entertaining game.

Gamba, missing both Takashi Usami and Ademilson due to injury, pushed Kosuke Onose into a more attacking role just off veteran striker Kazuma Watanabe. This move paid immediate dividends as Shu Kurata and Onose exchanged passes down the left side and Onose then unleashed a thunderous strike from just outside the area which crashed off of the Kawasaki crossbar, bounced on the line, touched the crossbar again before rebounding to the grateful Watanabe who tapped into an empty net, 1-0 Gamba after just 5 minutes.

Kawasaki quickly settled after their early setback and dominated possession and territory for most of the rest of the half, however, they were unable to find an equaliser with tall Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao (an excellent selection as Gamba always struggle against tall or fast Brazilians – way too much respect given) going closest with a header just wide. Yajima and Ideguchi had half chances for Gamba but in truth Kawasaki would have felt slightly aggrieved not to go in level at half time.

The second half started with a surprise change for Kawasaki, impressive young midfielder Ao Tanaka, fresh from scoring a double for Japan U-22 midweek replacing the versatile Hidemasa Morita in central midfield. The switch seemed to galvanise Frontale and they quickly seized the initiative. On 51 minutes, Damiao nodded down for Ryota Oshima and he slid the ball past Masaak Higashiguchi in the Gamba goal. Just 12 minutes later Damiao was the scorer, Kyohei Noborizato broke down the right and fed the ball to ex-Gamba star Akihiro Ienaga who in turn found Damiao who was allowed to swivel (too easily?) and angle a shot past Higashiguchi. 2-1 to the reigning J1 champions.

Kawasaki’s lead was to be short-lived however, as just 2 minutes later Onose swung in a cross from the right and Kurata placed a beautiful header into the bottom corner, his 7th J1 goal of the current campaign which puts him joint 1st with Ademilson. That goal could be Kurata’s final contribution this season as after connecting he was knocked unconscious by Kawasaki right-back Noborizato who was late arriving for the header. Both players had to be replaced with head injuries and it was later revealed by Gamba that Kurata had suffered a fractured left cheekbone, get well soon Shu!

Akihiro Ienaga had two good chances to win the game late on but was off target on both occasions, while Gamba threw on ex-Frontale forward Patric in place of Watanabe, but to no avail. 2-2 the final score.

The result, coupled with others elsewhere moved Gamba up to 9th in the standings, the first time they’ve been in the top half since their round 4 win over Kawasaki back in March. Victory away to crisis-hit Shonan in 2 weeks would put us 7 points ahead of them with 4 games left to play. Following that up with positive results at home to Sendai (Nov 23) and Matsumoto (Nov 30) would surely secure J1 football for next year.

Information
Gamba Osaka 2-2 Kawasaki Frontale
Panasonic Stadium Suita
Attendance: 25,748
Temp./Humidity: 24.8C / 57%

Gamba Osaka: Masaaki Higashiguchi; Ryu Takao, Genta Miura, Kim Young-gwon; Yuya Fukuda, Shinya Yajima, Yosuke Ideguchi, Hiroki Fujiharu (Markel Susaeta 62′); Kosuke Onose, Shu Kurata (Leo Takae 68′); Kazuma Watanabe (Patric 87′).
Unused Subs: Mizuki Hayashi, Shunya Suganuma, David Concha, Yasuhito Endo.
Goals: Watanabe 5′, Kurata 65′
Assists: Onose 65′
Yellow Cards: Fukuda 90+3′

Kawasaki Frontale: Shota Arai; Kyohei Noborizato (Yasuto Wakizaka 69′), Kazuya Yamamura, Shogo Taniguchi, Shintaro Kurumaya; Hidemasa Morita (Ao Tanaka 46′), Ryota Oshima; Akihiro Ienaga, Kengo Nakamura (Hokuto Shimoda 78′), Tatsuya Hasegawa; Leandro Damiao.
Unused Subs: Jung Sung-ryong, Manabu Saito, Yu Kobayashi, Kei Chinen.
Goals: Oshima 51′, Leandro Damiao 63′
Assists: Leandro Damiao 51′, Ienaga 63′
Yellow Cards: Ienaga 41′, Kurumaya 90+6′

Gamba U23 unable to stop winless run

Gamba U23, who’d stopped the rot of 4 successive defeats with a draw away to Gainare Tottori last week, were unable to go one better against Kamatamare Sanuki and had to once again settle for a point.

No overage players were selected for this game so the starting line up had an average age of just 18 years old and contained a mixture of 6 professionals and 5 high school students. Captain Riku Matsuda made his 50th J3 appearance in this game, while Shohei Ogushi returned at right back and Kohei Okuno moved into his more natural position of central midfield.

The first half was a rather cagey affair with Gamba U23’s best chances coming through free-kicks from Ren Shibamoto and Shuhei Kawasaki. In the end neither side could find the back of the net and it was goalless at the interval.

Gamba U23 rejigged things at half time, replacing central midfielder Ko Ise with the more attacking Dai Tsukamoto, a move that allowed Shibamoto to move into a deeper role alongside Okuno, his best position in my opinion. The substitution quickly paid off as Tsukamoto played the ball through to Shibamoto just inside the box in the 65th minute and he managed to prod the ball past Kenta Shimizu in the Sanuki goal to give the visitors the lead.

The joy from that goal would be short-lived though as Matsuda was sent off for a second bookable offence just three minutes later. This prompted another reshuffle as centre-back Shinri Ono came on for right-winger Jiro Nakamura to try to shore things up at the back. Initially Gamba U23 held out well against the waves of Sanuki attacks that followed but an own goal with just 5 minutes of normal time remaining meant they left Shikoku with just a point and will now head into the home derby match against Cerezo U23 next week aiming to snap a 6 game run without a victory.

Information
Kamatamare Sanuki 1-1 Gamba Osaka U23
Pikara Stadium
Attendance: 1,786
Temp. / Humidity: 23.6C / 41%

Kamatamare Sanuki: Kenta Shimizu; Kenji Arabori, Akira Takeuchi, Shogo Asada, Takuya Nagasawa; Kenshiro Suzuki (Kenta Sawada 85′), Kazumasa Takagi, Hironori Nishi (Ryosuke Kijima 68′), Kentaro Shigematsu, Yuki Morikawa; Yuki Fuke (Tomoya Takeshita 79′).
Unused Subs: Yusuke Akahoshi
Goals: Own goal 85′
Yellow Cards: Takagi 30′, Takeshita 90+4′

Gamba Osaka U23: Kosei Tani; Shohei Ogushi, Riku Matsuda, Hayate Toma, Tatsuya Yamaguchi; Kohei Okuno, Ko Ise (Dai Tsukamoto 46′); Jiro Nakamura (Shinri Ono 70′), Ren Shibamoto, Shuhei Kawasaki; Haruto Shirai (Keishi Murakami 90+2′).
Unused Subs: Wang Xinyu
Goals: Shibamoto 65′
Assists: Tsukamoto 65′
Yellow Cards: Okuno 35′, Matsuda 49′, 68′

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Gamba Osaka VS Kawasaki Frontale match preview

Gamba Osaka (12th) vs Kawasaki Frontale (4th)
2019 Meiji Yasuda J1 League Round 29
19 October 2019 at 14:00 JST
Panasonic Stadium Suita


Both sides return to league business this week following League Cup action during the international break. Kawasaki successfully reached the final with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Kashima Antlers while Gamba were eliminated on away goals by Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

In the league, Gamba lost their first 4 home games this year, but have gone unbeaten in the next 10 with their last home defeat coming against Urawa on April 14th. They’ve also won 5 of their last 8 league games at home, however the 5-0 rout of Sapporo in round 28 is the only time they’ve won by more than one goal, Cerezo, Shonan, S-Pulse and Tosu have all been seen off by 1-0 scorelines.

Kawasaki, on the other hand, are statistically the best away side in J1 with 26 points from 13 games which includes 8 victories, also a league high. They, like Gamba, won their previous match 5-0, in their case away to Shonan Bellmare, with 4 of the goals coming inside the first 35 minutes of the match. Prior to that they had lost 2 out of 3 league contests with the defeats coming against Gamba’s Kansai rivals, losing 2-1 both at home to Kobe and away to Cerezo.

Gamba won the reverse fixture between these sides in round 4 back in March. Genta Miura’s 91st minute strike was all that separated the two teams, both notorious for starting seasons slowly. Gamba were also victorious in the corresponding game last year, goals from Kazuma Watanabe and Fabio giving them what, at the time, was considered a surprise win, however, it went on to kickstart their season and was ultimately the first of nine consecutive J1 victories under Tsuneyasu Miyamoto.

Team News:
Kim Young-gwon returns to the Gamba squad after missing the league cup semi-final due to an international call-up and will surely take Shunya Suganuma’s place in the back 3. Yahoo Japan have reported that Takashi Usami is likely to miss this game after he went off injured against Consadole in the first half of last Sunday’s clash, he’s said to be targeting the match away to Shonan Bellmare on November 3rd for his return. The same Yahoo article also stated that Ademilson was a doubt for Saturday after injuring a leg muscle in the same game as Usami, though given his performance last Sunday it’s possible he was in line to be dropped to the bench anyway.

It would definitely be a big blow for Gamba if Usami is ruled out as he’s started to come into decent form following his mid-season return from a spell in Germany. Patric and Watanabe could form the strikeforce in the absence of Usami and Ademilson or if they are considered too similar to each other, big name Spaniard Markel Susaeta might come into the starting eleven, playing just off Patric.

Elsewhere, Yuto Suzuki is unable to play against his parent club, he could have potentially made the bench due to the attacking injury problems. Attacking midfielders Leo Takae, Daisuke Takagi and David Concha are likely to compete for the 2 bench slots made available by Ademilson and Usami’s injuries, all 3 of them played in Gamba U23’s draw away to Gainare Tottori in J3 last week.

For Kawasaki, centre-backs Tatsuki Nara (a target for Gamba last winter) and Jesiel are out injured. These losses have seen Shintaro Kurumaya, more normally a full-back partnering Shogo Taniguchi in the heart of the defence, former Cerezo utility player Kazuya Yamamura is another option. The 2017 and 2018 league champions have also struggled to adequately replace Brazilian right-back Elsinho, who surprisingly moved to S-Pulse last winter and have had something of a rotation policy going on in his absence. Hidemasa Morita, who starred in central midfield last season, played there in the previous league match away to Shonan, while Kazuaki Mawatari and Kyohei Noborizato took turns in the league cup matches against Kashima.

Going forward, however, Kawasaki have a plethora of options, including former Gamba favourites, the creative Akihiro Ienaga and Hiroyuki Abe who’s scored 7 goals in just 18 J1 games this year (and is a player I’d happily welcome back to Gamba). Central midfielder Ryota Oshima returned from an injury lay-off as a sub against Kashima and could come into consideration for a starting role in this game. Fellow midfielder Ao Tanaka scored twice for Japan Under-22 in their 3-2 win away to their Brazilian counterparts, however his late arrival back in Japan may preclude him from starting this fixture..

Prediction:
Prior to the previous home game with Consadole Sapporo I felt I’d be happy with 10 points from the remaining 4 home games, with 3 points already in the bag and the final 2 matches being against struggling Sendai and Matsumoto, I’d definitely take a draw in this game. That said Kawasaki may be an ageing side who’s standards have slipped a little this year, but they still possess a wealth of talent, particularly in midfield and attack and come into the game in decent form.

While Gamba are desperate to move away from the fight to avoid the 16th place relegation play-off spot, Kawasaki will be equally motivated to move into the top 3 and seal a place in next season’s Asian Champions League. With my heart ruling my head I’ll go for a 1-1 draw, but maybe a more realistic prediction would be a 2-1 Kawasaki win.

Predicted Gamba Line-up:
GK 1 Masaaki Higashiguchi (33 years old)
CB 27 Ryu Takao (22)
CB 5 Genta Miura (C) (24)
CB 19 Kim Young-gwon (29)
RWB 8 Kosuke Onose (26)
LWB 34 Yuya Fukuda (20)
DM 21 Shinya Yajima (25)
CM 15 Yosuke Ideguchi (23)
CM 10 Shu Kurata (30)
CF 18 Patric (31)
CF 39 Kazuma Watanabe (33)

Subs: 23 Mizuki Hayashi (GK/23), 13 Shunya Suganuma (CB/29), 4 Hiroki Fujiharu (LB/LWB/30), 7 Yasuhito Endo (CM/39), 14 Markel Susaeta (RW/LW/AM/31), 11 David Concha (RW/LW/CF/22), 20 Daisuke Takagi (RW/LW/CF/24)

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Gamba eliminated from YBC Levain Cup on away goals

Gamba entered the second-leg of their YBC Levain Cup semi-final against Hokkaido Consadole holding just a slender 2-1 lead from the first game in Osaka. Kim Min-tae’s late goal for Consadole looked like it may be crucial and so it proved.

Both teams had chances in a goalless first half with Ademilson threatening for Gamba and Fukumori hitting the base of the post with a free-kick from just outside the area for Sapporo. Gamba were dealt a cruel blow in the 34th minute when Takashi Usami was forced to leave the field injured, he was replaced by Patric.

Consadole started the second half stronger, but it was Gamba who had the first big chance of the half, however Ademilson was once again unable to convert, hitting his shot straight at Takanori Sugeno in the opposition goal and firing the rebound wide. It would prove to be a costly miss as in the 76th minute Sapporo broke upfield and a fierce shot from Japanese international forward Musashi Suzuki flew past Masaaki Higashiguchi in the Gamba goal. It was a goal worthy of winning any game and it proved to be the decisive one in this tie.

Gamba threw on Markel Susaeta for Shinya Yajima in midfield and replaced the wasteful Ademilson with the taller Kazuma Watanabe for a final push towards an equalising goal. It was not to be as despite forcing 3 corners inside injury time, they were unable to convert and Consadole advanced to their first ever national final on away goals where they will play Kawasaki Frontale who saw off Kashima Antlers 3-1 on aggregate.

Information:

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 1-0 Gamba Osaka
Musashi Suzuki (76)
Assist: Jay
Attendance: 15,996 (in Sapporo Dome)
Temperature/Humidity: 23.6C / 50%

Sapporo: (3-4-2-1) Sugeno; Shindo, Kim, Fukumori; Shirai (Lucas Fernandes 59′), Fukai (Kaneko 85′), Miyazawa, Suga (Ishikawa 89′); Suzuki, Arano; Jay.
Unused Subs: Awaka, Nakano, Hayasaka, Iwasaki.
Yellow Cards: Sugeno (90′)

Gamba: (3-5-2) Higashiguchi; Takao, Miura, Suganuma; Onose, Fukuda; Yajima (Susaeta 79′), Ideguchi, Kurata; Ademilson (Watanabe 85′), Usami (Patric 34′).
Unused Subs: Hayashi, Aoyama, Fujiharu, Endo.
Yellow Cards: None

Stats
Sapporo Gamba
Shots: 13 16
Corners: 5 11
Free Kicks: 5 8

Gamba U23 snap 4 game losing run with 2-2 draw away to Gainare Tottori

A first half own-goal and a second half strike by David Concha, his first in Japan were enough to earn Gamba U23 a battling 2-2 draw and move them up to 12th in the overall standings.

Gamba U23 took the opportunity to field 3 overage players in this game with debutants Yuto Suzuki and Daisuke Takagi joining goalkeeper Ken Tajiri in the starting line-up. There was also a start for fan-favourite Leo Takae who seems to be out of the picture with the J1 side at the moment.

A defensive blunder gifted Gamba U23 the lead in the 29th minute, but goals by Naoya Uozato and Masamichi Hayashi either side of half-time gave the home side a slender lead going into the final 10 minutes. However just as they did the previous week against Toyama, Gamba U23 responded with a goal of their own through Spanish forward Concha with assist king Shuhei Kawasaki providing the cross. Gamba U23 pressed for the winner but were unable to find one and had to settle for a draw. Their next match is away to 13th place Kamatamare Sanuki at 13:00 (JST) on October 20th.

Information:

Gainare Tottori 2-2 Gamba Osaka U23
Naoya Uozato (35) Own goal (29′)
Masamichi Hayashi (78′) David Concha (83′)
Attendance: 1,850 (at The Tottori Bank Bird Stadium)
Temperature/Humidity: 21.4C / 45%

Tottori: (3-4-3) Kitano; Ikegaya, Inoue, Takahata; Uematsu, Kani (Yuri 87′), Fukumura, Uozato; Vitor Gabriel (Oya 58′), Hayashi, Misawa (Fernandinho 73′).
Unused Subs: Inoue, Ishii, Hoshino, Suzuki.
Yellow Cards: None

Gamba U23: (4-2-3-1) Tajiri; Suzuki, Okuno, Matsuda, Yamaguchi; Shibamoto, Takae (Ise 71′); Takagi (Nakamura 83′), Concha, Kawasaki; Shirai (Tsukamoto 81′).
Unused Subs: Wang, Toma.
Yellow Cards: None

Stats
Tottori Gamba U23
Shots: 8 6
Corners: 3 1
Free Kicks: 7 8

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Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo vs Gamba Osaka (YBC Levain Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg) Preview

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo vs Gamba Osaka
YBC Levain Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg
13 October 2019 at 14:00 JST
Sapporo Dome


Gamba take a slender 2-1 advantage into this game following Shu Kurata’s injury time winner at Panasonic Stadium Suita on Wednesday. A draw would be enough to take them through, but both of Wednesday night’s goalscorers, Kurata and Takashi Usami, were quick to point out, when talking to Gamba’s official website, that playing for a draw was not a good strategy to employ against opposition as strong as Consadole. The winning side will play either Kashima Antlers and Kawasaki Frontale on October 26th in Saitama.

Team News:
Gamba are still without South Korean centre-back Kim Young-gwon who is away on international duty, everyone else is ready to play. The only possible changes would be for Yasuhito Endo coming in for Shinya Yajima in the deep-lying playmaker role, while Hiroki Fujiharu could replace Yuya Fukuda and Patric may take the place of his compatriot Ademilson. However, I feel Head Coach Miyamoto is unlikely to tinker too much and we’ll likely see either the same starting line-up as Wednesday or just Endo replacing Yajima,

For Consadole, key attacking midfielder Chanathip was injured and forced to pull out of Thailand’s squad, while 195cm former Cerezo Osaka goalkeeper Gu Sung-yun is away with South Korea ahead of their derby match with North Korea on Tuesday. English striker Jay Bothroyd could come into the starting line-up following a brief substitute appearance on Wednesday.

Prediction:
Gamba have the upper hand in head-to heads this season, leaving Sapporo with a 0-0 draw back in May, before winning the reverse fixture 5-0 just last week. Being a finely balanced cup tie means this could go either way, but Gamba have already used away goals in their favour this year in the quarter-final victory over FC Tokyo. An early Gamba goal would leave Consadole with a mountain to climb and I think that’s what we may see with a second half equaliser leaving the final score 1-1 and Gamba advancing to the final (probably against Kawasaki).

Predicted Gamba Line-up:

GK 1 Masaaki Higashiguchi (33 years old)
CB 27 Ryu Takao (22)
CB 5 Genta Miura (C) (24)
CB 13 Shunya Suganuma (29)
RWB 8 Kosuke Onose (26)
LWB 34 Yuya Fukuda (20)
DM 7 Yasuhito Endo (39)
CM 15 Yosuke Ideguchi (23)
CM 10 Shu Kurata (30)
CF 33 Takashi Usami (27)
CF 9 Ademilson (25)

Subs: 23 Mizuki Hayashi (GK/23), 30 Naoaki Aoyama (CB/33), 4 Hiroki Fujiharu (LB/LWB/30), 21 Shinya Yajima (DM/CM/25), 14 Markel Susaeta (RW/LW/AM/31), 18 Patric (CF/31), 39 Kazuma Watanabe (CF/33)

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Site Introduction

Picture taken at Gamba vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima J1 game on 10 August 2019

I’m a Gamba Osaka supporter originally from Scotland. Due to work I only attend live games 3-5 times a year, but I enjoy following Gamba and JLeague in general via tv and social media. I’ll try to post as much as I can, but make no promises. All ideas and opinions on this site are my own unless otherwise stated.