Tsuneyasu Miyamoto picked his team for the opposition today and went with four backs, and some high pressing similar to that which won 3-2 at Yokohama F.Marinos on the opening day of the season. With Genta Miura still out injured, Gen Shoji and Kim Young-gwon were the centre backs, flanked by Ryu Takao and Yuya Fukuda, allowing the side half positions to be filled by Kosuke Onose and Shu Kurata, working hard up and down the field.
F.Marinos had some early possession and half chances but Marcos Junior was denied by Masaaki Higashiguchi, down low to his right and then Erik lined up for a shot that was blocked by Takao's slide, and that was as good as it got for the visitors, until they somehow opened the scoring! As the clock ticked over the 24th minute mark it Takashi Usami who had the best chance of the game, the shot hitting the knee of the away 'keeper to deny the Gamba forward the opening goal.
Then from nowhere, the away team were ahead. Most of the home crowd felt that Erik fouled Yuki Yamamoto in midfield as he slid in and came out with the ball, but not the man that mattered - the referee - and play went on and w then saw a most bizarre own goal as a shot was saved, bounced back to one player, then hit Kim in the face and went over the line! 1-0 to the way team - somehow!!
Patric almost equalised just before the break with a text book downward header from a corner, but F・Marinos goalkeeper Yuji Kajikawa had not read the script and scrambled it away low at his right hand post. But the 'hero 'keeper became the villain moments later as he was rounded by Usami, who had his sights on goal. The away goalkeeper took the Gamba forward down and was probably lucky to escape a card - of any kind - and Usami picked himself up and took his opportunity to send his team in level at the break.
Just before the hour mark Gamba were again creating space and chances and it took a desperate defensive clearance to deny Yamamoto the go-ahead goal after a great three-man passing movement opened up the defence with ease, and then a Yosuke Ideguchi volley from a half-cleared corner tested the busy goalkeeper again, but somehow the away goal was not breached for a second time.
With double the goal attempts, almost triple the corners and so much possession Gamba ended the game with that solitary point and a very relieved 2019 champion somehow left Osaka with their share of the spoils!
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Shoji, Kim, Onose, Fukuda, Yamamoto, Ideguchi, Kurata (Yajima, 85), Patric (Watanabe, 77), Usami (Ademilson, 85)
Goal: USAMI 45+1'