Having conceded a very late equaliser to Kashima Antlers in their last game, and adding the loss to Reds, Gamba had been playing well, but the results were not going their way. Today was no exception and, with a goal disallowed, wrongly (a game-changer, without doubt) and a doubtful penalty given against them (just adding to the changing of the game!) this was not a day to celebrate for Gamba, or for the officials running the game!
The first debatable decision of the night came with FC Tokyo's first goal as Masaaki Higashiguchi cleared a backpass that was running short. The 'keeper slid to take the ball and was, in turn, clattered by Kensuke Nagai and left helpess on the floor as Diego Oliveira swept the ball into the empty net from 25 yards out. Gamba's appeals led to nothing as Higashiguchi picked himself up, disbelievingly. Gamba 1-0 down after good shots from Ademilson and Takashi Usami had already given the opposition goalkeeper cause to worry.
Ryu Takao almost had the equaliser in the 23rd minute after latching onto an incomplete clearance by the away 'keeper, but Akihiro Hayashi stuck out a leg to block the Gamba youngster's excellent volley. It was Usami, though, who did bring the teams level just before the break, after some excellent one touch passing from Ademilson and Yosuke Ideguchi gave him space. He still had plenty to do but touched the ball to the side, and shot with power from over 20 yards to make it 1-1!
Gamba then should have gone in at the break 2-1 up as good play from Usami and Takao on the right opened up space for Ideguchi to shoot from the edge of the area. His shot was deflected by a defender and poked in at the far post by an in-rushing Hiroki Fujiharu, but the flag was up for offside. it was the final play of a half that Gamba should really have been easily leading. 63% possession, twice as many goal attempts, but the officials deemed it a 1-1 half! The fact that there were no instant replays and no slow motion analysis and discussion on the TV coverage spoke volumes as to whether the offside decision was correct, and, when the replays did finally make it to the TV screens, it was shown that the decision was wrong.
Gamba did not let the decisions bother them and came out looking for goals as the 2nd half began, with Usami almost making it 2-1 in the 68th minute as he raced forward, slipped the ball aside as a defender challenged and blasted just over the bar, but it was the away team who took the lead in the 73rd minute after Leandro converted a harshly-given PK, as Kim Young-gwon was adjudged to have handled the ball. Higashiguchi got a hand to the ball but it went in and FC Tokyo went 2-1 ahead.
Gamba continued to dominate possession and look likely to score but a misplaced pass in midfield led to the defence being exposed on a quick break and suddenly, from nowhere it was 3-1 to the away team. The men in blue and black did what they are expected to do and continued to hold the ball and look for goals and Patric hit the bar with a header and then had a goal disallowed for a foul, but went down valiantly in the end.
Team - Higashiguchi, Miura, Shoji, Kim (Ono, 80), Takao (Watanabe, 68), Onose, Fujiharu (Fukuda, 83), Yajima (Patric, 80), Ideguchi, Ademilson (Watanabe, 68), Usami
Takashi USAMI 43'