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2017.11.24

Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 Gamba Osaka

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Gamba Osaka went into this game knowing that a win for them would kill off the hopes of winning the J1 championship for their hosts, and a draw would have pretty much sealed the destination of the 2018 trophy. As it was, the home team came away with three points, with the main talking point being the final action in the Frontale penalty area, when there seemed to be the most obvious handball this season. Nothing given, and a late goal from Elsinho won the game for Kawasaki.

THe main protagianists of Frontale's attack seemed to be Akihiro Ienaga and Hiroyuki Abe - both former Gamba players, of course - but Masaaki Higashiguchi in the Gamba goal was not called upon until the 23rd minute, when Tatsuki Nara headed on an inswinging corner to force a fine save to keep the scores level into the half time break.

The game carried on the way in a similar vein after the 2nd half whistle and Higashiguchi made a fine save with his right foot in the 54th minute after Yu Kobayashi has taken the ball around him. The Gamba 'keeper was the hero again after he made a fine one-handed save from a header off an inswinging Kengo Nakamura free kick, frustrating the home team yet again.

Ironically, the winner came from a shot that was not cleanly hit and sneaked through the legs of the unfortunate 'keeper, but they all count and Frontale went ahead to keep their championship hopes alive!

Then came the handball incident that has the Gamba side up in arms, but the referee saw nothing and the points went to the home team.


Team - Higashiguchi, Hatsuse, Miura, Konno, Fujiharu, Endo, Ideguchi, Takagi (Nagasawa, 52), Yonekura (Oh, 82), Kurata, Goya (Akasaki, 56)