Gamba Osaka 0-2 Shimizu S-Pulse

Gamba Osaka came into this game against fellow relegation strugglers Shimizu S-Pulse knowing that it was a real six-pointer, with the winner having the chance to climb clear of the bottom, but it was not to be for the home team today.

Wearing their EXPO 2022 shirts, Isa Sakamoto got the start up front, backed up by Ryotaro Meshino and Hideki Ishige as Gamba went looking for the goals that would help them avoid relegation.

The two teams traded chances in the early part of the game, but it was Gamba, in the shape of Meshino in particular, that looked the most dangerous. After a couple of saves forced by the young Gamba returnee, as the half hour mark ticked over, Sakamoto broke down the right and sent in a wicked low cross which was turned off the foot of Meshino to deny the home team again.

At the other end a relived Gamba goalkeeper saw Yoshinori Suzuki's header strike the crossbar about 10 minutes before half time, as both teams continued to create their own chances but it remained scoreless at the break.

Gamba's biggest chance came 20 minutes into the 2nd half when Gen Shoji's far post header fell to Musashi Suzuki yards from goal with just the 'keeper to beat, but his flicked volley was not sweet and it just diverted the ball straight at the grateful Shuichi Gonda in the S-Pulse goal.

The breakthrough came in the 73rd minute as substitute Benjamin Kololli broke down the right wing, moved in towards goal and then blasted hopefully at the 'keeper. The ball was mis-kicked enough for it to hit the ground on the way in and fool the unfortunate Masaaki Higashiguchi to give the away team a 1-0 lead.

Gamba then threw players forward looking for an equaliser, but this left gaps and a mis-placed pass on the half-way line gave the ball away to Thiago Santana, who raced forward and slipped a ball across goal for Carlinhos Junior to finish off the home team.

Team - Higashiguchi, Shoji, Miura, Fujiharu, Onose, Okuno (Kurata, 83), Dawhan, Kurokawa (Wellington Silva, 83), Ishige (Juan Alano, 60), Meshino (Yamamoto, 74), Sakamoto (Suzuki, 60)

Attendance: 27,662