This game was a comfortable ride all the way as the away team controlled the game with passing and movement, as we have come to expect from Tsuneyasu Miyamoto's team, and, of course, from Gamba Osaka throughout the years. Shu Kurata made the breakthrough just after a quarter of an hour, finishing off a move that had involved multiple players bringing the ball up the field before his - as the commentator called it - GOLAZO - the midfielder letting fly from outside the area to beat the surprised 'keeper with ease.
Minutes later Kurata turned provider, as he received a pass facing his own goal on the half way line. He controlled, turned and chipped the ball into the path of Patric who did the rest, then showing his class by refusing to celebrate in front of the fans who used to idolise him.
Sanfrecce were restricted to a couple of speculative 1st half efforts and a run from Yuya Asano that ended with a save low down from Masaaki Higashiguchi to keep his sheet clean. Into the 2nd half we saw a little more action for the home team but a Gamba defence that stood strong and Higashiguchi, when called upon, doing what was necessary.
Takashi Usami entered the field on the hour mark and was almost on the scoresheet within a minute after a superb passing move on the left completely split the home defence, Usami's shot being saved low at the near post, as Sho Sasaki lay watching, beaten on the turf. And then, suddenly, a stroke of good fortune favoured the home team as Douglas Pereirra's header bounced down and then in off a post to give Sanfrecce a lifeline. But that was all it was as Gamba hunkered down to protect their lead and ward off all comers to take the well-deserved win.
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Shoji, Kim, Onose (Kawasaki, 90+5), Fujihari, Yamamoto, Ideguchi, Kurata (Fukuda, 76), Ademilson (Usami, 60), Patric (Watanabe, 76)
Shu KURATA 16'