Gamba Osaka 2-0 Jubilo Iwata
Gamba Osaka came into their final home game of the season needing the win that would keep them clear of their visitors in the relegation fight - a six-pointer that would see Gamba gain some breathing space with a win. A win is what the home team got, as goals from Ryotaro Meshino and Patric - in a short seven-minute span midway through the 2nd half ensured the victory.
In the opposition midfield today the Gamba fans welcomed back Yasuhito Endo with warm applause and great respect, but there was little he could do to stop his team going down to a defeat that helped them along to a 2023 season back in J2.
There was a sign of things to come when Juan Alano had a shot that was inches wide of the post within the 1st minute of the game, though neither team showed any real sharpness in the opening stages. Jubilo's best chance of the half came when goalkeeper Masaaki Higashiguchi was obstructed trying to throw out the ball, but the referee did not seem to think so, and seeing the throw hit a defender and bounce back into danger, the defence scrambled back into place to protect their goal before Higashiguchi gathered the ball and calmed things down.
Gamba really should have taken a lead into the break after Takashi Usami got between three defenders to find space and shoot. The attempt was saved but fell to Kosuke Onose yards out from a gaping goal, but he scooped his shot over when it was easier to score, and the teams remained level at the break.
Just before the hour mark it was Endo's turn to find space yet waste an easy chance as his former fans breathed a sigh of relief!
The home team finally made the breakthrough when substitute Meshino placed a left-foot shot past the 'keeper from the edge of the area just five minutes after entering the field and moments later, in the 73rd minute Patric sealed the points with a deft volley, while facing away from the goal. The 'keeper was fooled by the unexpected attempt and Gamba took the game, 2-0! Higashiguchi was called into action twice in added time but was equal to the task and Gamba gained a very important win.
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Miura, Shoji, Kurokawa, Onose (Meshino, 59), Y.Yamamoto, Dawhan (Saito, 72), Alano (Kwon, 90+2), Usami, Leandro Pereira (Patric, 60)
Ryotaro MESHINO 66'