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2021.5.16

Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Gamba Osaka

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Another game in which we saw Gamba Osaka matching their opponents on possession, shots and corners, but at least this time they came away with a point, even though three would not have been out of the question. Having played seven games now, Gamba are struggling for goals and, while they have lost just three games, they have won only one, as they have drawn another three. Injuries continue to hamper Tsuneyasu Miyamoto's team selection and it is plain to see that some player are still not 100% after the enforced Corona virus layoff. This was not something that could be planned for this season and fitting in an Asian Champions league campaign may now be seen as a hindrance if results do not improve.
An Osaka Derby is always a passionate affair, although, sadly no fans were allowed in the stadium for this one and both teams went for it from the start. it was Cerezo who had the best of the opening exchanges, as veteran Yoshito Okubo first volleyed home from an offside position, after possibly controlling the ball with his arm, also, and then the same player saw a point blank save from Masaaki Higashiguchi deny him as he came in the volley on the far post.
It was then Gamba's turn to have a goal disallowed for offside when Shinya Yajima headed home from close range at a corner. All this action came in the first quarter of an hour! In fact there was more as a blistering Hiroshi Kiyatake shot from 20 yards in the 16th minute saw Higashiguchi punching away.
In the 25th minute Yajima was denied again as his shot was saved on the line by the outstretched foot of Cerezo 'keeper Kim Jin-hyeon as Gamba's search for goals continued to be frustrated. Just after the half hour mark, Gamba's injury list increased as a dangerous two-footed tackle by Naoyuki Fujita forced Kosuke Onose to be stretchered off (expect him to miss close to two months). Amazingly the referee did not see fit to show a yellow card, let alone a red one and the offender stayed on the field - unlike his victim. Tiago Alves made an earlier-than-expected appearance to replace the injured player.
With minutes to go to half time the game saw the first of two VAR-aided penalty kick decisions, this one against Yuya Fukuda to give a PK to the home team, but Yuto Toyokawa put it against the post and Gamba breathed a collective sigh of relief. 0-0 at the break.
The 2nd half saw a game of cat and mouse with neither side troubling their opposing goalkeepers too much until a wicked deflection saw Cerezo take the lead, the original shot coming from Motohiko Nakajima, but the unfortunate Yosuke Ideguchi ensuring that the ball looped into the net in the 74th minute. Minutes later, though, Gamba were back in it when Mutsuki Kato was adjudged to have handled the ball blocking a shot and Patric's penalty kick was blasted home without hesitation, giving the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever, 1-1, shared points!

Team - Higashiguchi, Fukuda, Miura, Shoji, Kurokawa, Ideguchi, Yamamoto (Ju, 82), Onose (Tiago Alves, 34), Yajima (Kurata, 75), Usami (Kawasaki, 75), Leandro Pereira (Patric, 75)
Goal: PATRIC 82'