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2017.3.18

Gamba Osaka 3-0 F.C. Tokyo

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Gamba Osaka bounced back from their abject 4-1 home defeat in the Asian Champions league to comfortably dispatch F.C. Tokyo, even though a penalty save from Masaaki Higashiguchi and two own goals by the visitors might make it seem closer than the 3-0 scoreline suggests!


Gamba took it to their opponents in style from the start, spraying passes around the field and patiently looking for an opening, which eventually came on a superb pass from Yasuhito Endo to find Ademilson up against Yuichi Maruyama. The diminutive Brazilian shrugged off the challenge off his defender and took the ball inside, side-footing his shot home off the far post, 1-0, 22 minutes, and a comfortable lead at the break.


Maruyama was to feature in Gamba's second goal, too, as the unfortunate defender got the last touch when Shu Kurata's snapshot came at him off the post in the 52nd minute. Gamba's lead doubled, Maruyama's pain increased.


Shoya Nakajima had come on for the visitors as early as the 35th minute, as F.C. Tokyo manager Yoshiyuki Shinoda tried to change the flow of the match, and, after going 2-0 down it was Nakajima who finally started to carve some openings for his team, but Higashiguchi was equal to anything that came his way.


Shun Nagasawa then came close to extending Gamba's lead in the 74th minute as he curled a 25-yard effort against a post, but then the away team finally started to make Higashiguchi earn his pay after receiving a possible lifeline in the shape of a questionable penalty decision. In fact it was so obviously - to the Gamba players themselves, especially - a good tackle by Yasuyuki Konno that the Assistant Referee appeared to be considering suggesting as much to his sempai, the referee, and it took some cajoling from the Gamba players, led - as it should be - by their captain, Endo, to get the referee to consult his linesman. But the man in the middle stuck to his guns and awarded the spot kick.


And so began the goalkeeper's man of the match display, saving the penalty first, then denying Yoshito Okubo on the follow-up, at the expense, though - as later discovered - of a broken cheekbone! That Higashiguchi carried on AND made some saves to keep the F.C. Tokyo scoresheet blank is amazing in hindsight. Another win, but at a high cost that will see the Gamba 'keeper miss upcoming games and the national team selection, just as many were calling for him to get the start over Shusaku Nishikawa.


Meanwhile, though, Gamba were not finished scoring and a superb counter-attack saw Ademilson cross for what looked as if it would be a simple tap-in for Nagasawa. As it turned out Kento Hashimoto slid in to try and intercept but only steered the ball into the roof of his own net. 3-0, game over, and Gamba moved into 2nd spot in J1.



Team - Higashiguchi, Miura, Fabio, Kim, Hatsuse (Oh, 83), Fujiharu, Endo, Konno, Ademilson (Takagi, 87), Kurata (Fujimoto, 90+6), Nagasawa


Goals:
22' ADEMILSON
52' Shu Kurata
85' Own Goal