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2020.12.21

Yokohama FC 0-2 Gamba Osaka

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Gamba Osaka saw a dream start to this game that they were desperate to win to stay clear of the chasing pack in the hunt for 2nd place in J1, when Shu Kurata had the ball in the net within 30 seconds of kick off.

Manager, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto was again giving youngsters their head as he started Kohei Okuno in the middle of the park, alongside Yuki Yamamoto, while on the bench we saw five of Tsune's Starlets, including Jiro Nakamura! Such an important game, away from home, yet the manager was keeping faith in his young players. A delight to see.

Back to that early goal... the home team kicked off and made a few passes before Kurata picked off the ball close to the half way line. He laid it off to Yamamoto, who threaded the ball forward and thus came a quick exchange of passes to give Shinya Yajima the opening to shoot. His attempt was saved well but Patric got in the way of the second ball and chested it forward, where Kurata slid in and poked home the ball from close range. 1-0, 24 seconds!

Yokohama 'keeper Yuji Rokutan then kept his team in the game with a smart save from Kazuma Watanabe in the 10th minute and then denied a couple of other Gamba players glory and keeping Yokohama FC's hopes alive.

Towards half time the home team started to get more into the game but Masaaki Higashiguchi and his defence were more than a match for anything thrown their way and the score remained 1-0 to the away team at the break. In the 2nd half Gamba continued to run the game and create chances but even when the second goal finally came, Rokutan was almost the hero again, making two saves in quick succession before Patric managed to ram home the third attempt to give his team a 2-0 and see Gamba Osaka clinch 2nd place in J1, thereby qualifying for the Emperor's Cup semi-finals and the 2021 Asian Champions League with a game to spare!


Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Miura, Shoji, Fujiharu, Yamamoto, Okuno. Yajima, Kurata, Patric (Tsukamoto, 90'), Watanabe (Toyama, 86)

Scorers:
Shu KURATA 1'
PATRIC 81'