GAMBA OSAKA
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2021.9.16

Gamba Osaka 2-1 Oita Trinita

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Once more, as has been the habit this season, there were plenty of changes to the starting line-up for this game, but there was also some good news for the team, seeing Ryu Takao on the bench upon returning from injury.

While Gamba had the lion's share of possession, and dictated the play, it wasn't until the 26th minute that the opposition goalkeeper had to show his worth, as he got in the way of a close range Patric effort to deny Gamba the opening goal. Minutes later Kazunari Ichimi beat his man on the right wing and slid the ball across to Wellington Silva in space, but the Brazilian took a touch too many and was denied the shot when it looked like the goal was at his mercy.

Masaaki Higashiguchi in the Gamba goal had an easy 1st half but at the other end the breakthrough did not come and the game was scoreless at half time.

Ryu Takao returned to the field to great applause from the limited crowd in the 50th minute and a moment later had the best chance of the game so far, but his chance for close-range header was not the work of a seasoned forward and it was straight at the grateful William Popp in the Oita Trinita goal, and his team lived to fight on.

And then, suddenly, so much against the run of play, Gamba were a goal behind! An out-swinging corner ricocheted off the head of Kosuke Onose as he blocked the initial attempt and a grateful Henrique Trevisan half-volleyed home from close range to give his side a surprise lead.

Changes were made and the big-guns of Takashi Usami and Leandro Pereira came on as Gamba sacrificed some defence to go for the goals - and their rewards came, but not before former Gamba crowd favourite Hiroto Goya had skied a chance over the bar as Gamba over-committed forward and left space at the back. The let-off was the turning point as Gamba looked more and more dangerous up front and the equaliser soon came.

Leandro Pereira made space for himself on the edge of the area in the 84th minute but then unselfishly slipped the ball aside to Shinya Yajima, who saw his shot blocked. The second ball fell to Pereira, though and he made no mistake with a first-time, low bullet from the edge of the area, 1-1, and well-deserved!

There were minutes to go now, but Gamba were not going to settle for a draw and went looking for the winner... minutes later Usami cut in from the left and his right-foot strike caused problems for the 'keeper but was eventually smothered, but he was not to be denied in the 94th minute, Patric getting to a cross and heading the ball to Usami to side-foot home convincingly to give the home team a well-deserved, but hard-earned win!

Team - Higashiguchi, Suganuma (Leandro Pereira, 79), Shoji, Kim, Onose, Yamamoto, Ju (Kurata, 69), Okuno (Takao, 50), Ichimi (Yajima, 69), Wellington Silva (Usami, 69), Patric

Scorers:
Leandro PEREIRA 84'
Takashi USAMU 90+4

Attendance: 4205