GAMBA OSAKA
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2020.12.22

Gamba Osaka 0-2 Shimizu S-Pulse

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Gamba Osaka went into the final J1 game of the season with the 2nd place already wrapped up and a place in the Emperor's Cup semi-finals and the Asian Champions League for the 2021 season and so there was less pressure on the team and even more chance for the youngsters coming through the system to get some playing time. The game started with Dai Tsukamoto getting his first J1 start, while Kohei Okuno kept his place in the middle of the park alongside fellow Under 23 alumni Yuki Yamamto.

Before the game Patric's 200th J1 game, and Kazuma Watanabe's 350th were celebrated, but that was where the festivities ended for the home team in a 2-0 defeat that saw Gamba control the game for large parts but unable to finish and being killed off by two sucker punches. There was little actual action for either goalkeeper in the 1st half, with Shu Kurata probably coming closest with a left foot shot that just skimmed past the corner of the goal minutes before half time.

The 2nd half saw Masaaki Higashiguchi in the Gamba goal a little busier but he comfortably made a couple of saves before the breakthrough was made by the away team after an aimless low ball found its way through a forest of players' legs to an opposition forward surprised at the space he had. A simple finish for Riyo Kawamoto, and Gamba were 1-0 down.

And then it was a 2-0 deficit as a defensive clearance didn't quite find its intended target and was returned back into the box where Shinya Yajima unluckily poked the ball into the path of Shota Kaneko giving him a free shot ion goal. His attempt went in off the post to seal the points. Watanabe and substitute Shoji Toyama had headed chances which came to nothing late in the game and the score remained 2-0 to the end.

Jiro Nakamura had come in the 81st minute and looked a very confident young player, even taking over free kick duties and not afraid to run at defenders, while Toyama and Shuhei Kawasaki also got time on the field as Gamba manager Tsuneyasu Miyamoto continued to give experience to his up-and-coming young players. The future is bright and 2021 will be a season to look forward to, but, for now, bring on the Emperor's Cup!


Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Miura, Kim, Fujiharu (Yajima, 53), Yamamoto (Nakamura, 81), Okuno (Watanabe, 53), Fukuda, Kurata (Toyama, 81), Patric, Tsukamoto (Kawasaki, 61)

Attendance: 15,252