With Takashi Usami, Yosuke Ideguchi, Kosuke Onose and Kim Young-gwon all missing it was a changed team and a very young bench for the away team today, and those men did their job and came home with three points.
It was one of the breakthrough youngsters of 2020 who opened the scoring for Gamba today, having been involved in 32 games this season (and on his 20th start), Yuya Fukuda scored a peach of a goal in the 6th minute to give his side the lead. Gen Shoji had fizzed in a half volley from distance which the goalkeeper collected and shipped out to the left wing. Ryu Takao robbed his opposition player and advanced toward goal. His pass found Patric, who held the ball up then slipped it into the path of the Gamba youngster to blast home his first goal of the season from the edge of the area!
Kazuma Watanabe was next with a chance, after the Gamba short-counter again stripped the ball from the Bellmare defence in midfield. Watanabe's left foot shot was strong but went just over the bar with the grateful 'keeper looking on.
Gamba were in charge of the game but in the 34th minute came down to earth when the referee deemed that Gen Shoji had handled a shot, and gave a PK to the home team that was duly dispatched to bring them level.
Level at the break but into the 2nd half we saw the sign of a very confident player when Shu Kurata was ambitious in his approach just before the hour mark, coming close with a direct volley from a deep, long pass from Yuki Yamamoto, but it was not long later that the away team took a deserved lead. Yamamoto again starting a move in midfield that spread to the left where Hiroki Fujiharu and Watanabe exchanged passes before Fujiharu lifted a pinpoint cross to the centre where Patric was waiting to head home.
Patric almost doubled his personal tally for the day with 10 minutes left on the clock, but for a fine save from the 'keeper to deny the Brazilian a second goal. At the other end, as time ticked away it was Masaaki Higashiguchi's turn to be the hero as he made a point blank save to stop an equaliser and win his team the points! Final score, 2-1 to Gamba and a firm hold on 2nd place in j1 for another week!
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Shoji, Miura, Fujiharu, Yajima (Okuno, 84), Yamamoto, Fukuda (Tsukamoto, 90+2), Kurata (Kawasaki, 84), Patric, Watanabe
Yuya FUKUDA 6'