Levain Cup - Gamba 0-1 Reysol
Levain Cup group stage matchday 1
Gamba may have begun a new season with a totally undeserved defeat, but there was plenty of optimism to be gleaned all over the field, with veterans and youngsters playing well. A goal against the run of play and a referee who allowed too much physical play, to help the away team snuff out promising attacks, added up to give J1 returnees Kashiwa Reysol a fortunate win in this Levain Cup opener.
With 13 goal attempts registered by Gamba, and nine corners, as well as plenty of possession, it was the away 'keeper - Kim Seung-gyu - who really ensured that his team took the points in this game. The only goal of the game came in the 24th minute when a deft chip over the defence saw Olunga latch onto the ball before Masaaki Higashiguchi in the Gamba goal and steer it into the net to silence the home crowd.
Ryo Shinzato had the ball in the net late in the game for what everyone thought was the equaliser, but was eventually chalked off for an offence which turned out to be Yasuhito Endo allowing the ball to go past him without a touch while in an offside position, but the desperate Reysol players swarmed the Assistant Referee and convinced him to overturn the Referee's decision.
For most of the game it was one way traffic at the Reysol goal, with Kim the hero of the day, keeping out shots from a plethora of Gamba players and even touching a Takashi Usami blast onto the bar from close range as the final whistle approached. By the end of the game, though, even the usually unflappable Endo was questioning the referee's decisions as more and more fouls were allowed and yellow card offences by opposition players were ignored.
Possession, passing, movement... it was all there to see, and the opposition goalkeeper will rarely have a game as good as this for the rest of the season. With Gen Shoji coming in to shore up the back line also, the future in 2020 looks bright.
Team - Higashiguchi, Shinzato (Yamamoto, 88), Miura, Kim, Fukuda (Watanabe, 69), Fujiharu, Ideguchi (Endo, 54), Yajima, Kurata, Usami