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2020.12.1

Urawa Reds 1-2 Gamba Osaka

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Gamba Osaka visited perennial rivals Urawa Reds as they looked for three points to keep a hold on 2nd place in J1, and anything but a win for the away team would also hand the title to Kawasaki Frontale. Sadly, for the champions-to-be Gamba did the business, with a well deserved 2-1 away win on goals from Takashi Usami and a first-ever J1 goal for Ryu Takao.

Gamba did not have this game all their own way, though, before emerging winners, with a strong call for a penalty kick waved away when Kim Young-gwon appeared to take out Shinzo Koroki early on, and then that same player forced a fine save from Gamba 'keeper Masaaki Higashiguchi to keep the scores level.

As half time approached Gamba almost took the lead when Gen Shoji flicked on a near post corner against the other post and the home defence were relieved to see the ball bounce away. Minutes later Takashi Usami curled in a shot that the 'keeper had to punch away as the away team piled on the pressure, but the score remained 0-0 at the break.

There was a scare for Gamba early in the 2nd half as a tackle turned into a pass from a Gamba defender to the home forwards and the ball was played back for Kazuki Nagasawa to hit the bar from distance. But Reds did get the opener just after the hour mark as a corner was played back instead of into the box, and then the Gamba defence were slow getting out, leaving Thomas Deng open and onside at the far post. He knocked it across for Tomoaki Makino to poke into an open goal and give his team a 1-0 lead.

The home team were not ahead for long, though as Gamba moved forward in numbers and Patric and Usami combined in the area for Yuya Fukuda to get in a blocked shot, but the Gamba number 33 was first to the rebound to shoot low and home for the equaliser.

The winner came from the unlikely source if Takao, often in on the attacking moves despite playing at the back, but this one was a simple header from an inswinging corner, which the youngster met with the meat of his head and gave the 'keeper no chance! A debut goal for Takao bringing his team three points!

Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Shoji, Kim, Onose (Fukuda, 24), Fujiharu (Kawasaki, 68), Yajima (Toyama, 79), Yamamoto, Kurata (Okuno, 79), Usami (Watanabe, 79), Patric

Scorers:
Takashi USAMI 66'
Ryu TAKAO 81'