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2017.10.20

Gamba Osaka 0-1 Albirex Niigata

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Gamba Osaka went into this game with just a single league point since the news that manager Kenta Hasegawa would not be returning in 2018 had been announced. And they’d been knocked out of two cups, also. Today was not going to improve that record, as former Gamba manager Wagner Lopes brought his doomed Albirex Niigata to Suita Football Stadium and left with all three points.

Gamba did have the chances but it was not to be today, and the slump continued. In the 10th minute Jin Izumisawa had a left-footed shot cleared off the line after superb interplay between Yasuhito Endo and Hiroki Fujiharu on the left, while Masaaki Higashiguchi was called into action moments later at the other end, saving well at close range after a low cross evaded the defenders, and then again, saving low to his left from a Roni shot. 0-0 at the break.

The same two players dueled again just after the break when Roni again found space and, again, the Gamba ‘keeper was equal to the Brazilian striker.

Koki Yonekura - just on as a sub for Haruya Ide - then forced a near post save from the Albirex ‘keeper in the 67th minute as both teams were foiled by the respective custodians, but the away team finally broke the deadlock a moment later after Yoshizumi Ogawa latched onto a half-cleared low cross, that had taken two deflections on its way to him, and opened the scoring. An unlikely scoreline was in the offing.

Gamba went all out for the equalizer, of course, and Hwang Ui-jo had a shot cleared off the line, after rounding the ‘keeper, in the 77th minute and then substitute Shuhei Akasaki was denied by the brave goalkeeper eight minutes later.

In added time it was Akasaki again with a half chance but a desperate lunge from a defender stopped his shot, with Yonekura being shoved away from the follow-up - but no penalty appeal! And even then there was still time for an Izumisawa shot to sneak past the post with the goalkeeper beaten, but the ball just wouldn’t go in for Gamba.


Team - Higashiguchi, Oh (Akasaki, 72), Konno, Miura, Fujiharu, Endo, Ideguchi, Ide (Yonekura, 65), Izumisawa, Hwang, Nagasawa (Nakahara, 54)