Gamba Osaka 1-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Pre-match Yasuhito Endo's 1000th competitive first class match was celebrated with flowers and family - August 10th also being "Yatto Day" in the Japanese calendar! Then, onto the game itself. Patric was not in the starting line-up due to being on loan from Sanfrecce, while the recent departure of Keito Nakamura added to the depletion up front. To compound this Ryotaro Meshino was reportedly in England, about to sign for Manchester City! To make up for the departure(s) Yosuke Ideguchi had returned to the club, and was on the bench wearing number 15.
Gamba belied their struggling position against a team on a winning run and took the game to their opponents. Takashi Usami saw a 9th-minute shot blocked, with Ademilson putting the second attempt wide, then Kosuke Onose was also just wide with a difficult volley in the 16th minute.
The home team continued to dictate the flow of the game and Usami had another attempt blocked desperately after being set up by Ademilson on the half hour mark and then Shinya Yajima shot from the edge of the box and had the 'keeper beaten - and some of the crowd screaming for the goal as the ball went inches wide then bounced back on the reverse of the net!
By half time Gamba has registered 65% of the ball possession and39% of the game had been played in the Sanfrecce defensive third of the field, but it was 0-0 at half time.
The 2nd half went much the same way but the away goal led a charmed life until the 89th minute when Kurata began a move on the left, fed Onose on the right, who then shot hard and low. The goalkeeper spilled the ball and Kurata was on hand to blast home from close range. 1-0, a minute to go!
Once again, though, as we have seen often this season, Gamba turned a win into a draw, allowing Leandro Pereira to score the equaliser against the run of play and frustrate the home team once again.
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Miura, Kim, Onose, Takae (Ideguchi, 80), Yajima, Kurata, Fukuda (Suzuki, 87), Ademilson (Watanabe, 76), Usami
Goal: Shu KURATA 89'