Gamba Osaka 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Manager Hiroshi Matsuda - fresh from ensuring Gamba Osaka's J1 place for 2023 - sent out a mainly-reserve side to open the game, with arguably just Gen Shoji as a solid starter, and Mitsuki Saito and Ryotaro Meshino as the other players who had seen the most time on the field in J1 recently. Despite this "experimental" approach to the game, Gamba came out winners over the German giants with two late goals for the come-from-behind victory.
It was a typical "international friendly" with both teams rotating line-ups, missing players and taking it somewhat easy at times but the visitors took the lead into half time on a 38th-minute goal from Tuta, who struck his right-foot shot from the edge of the area past Gamba 'keeper Jun Ichimori to give his team a 1-0 advantage at the break.
At the start of the 2nd half the Gamba team saw changes: Kei Ishikawa coming into keep goal, Yuya Fukuda in for Meshino, Hideki Ishige replacing Shu Kurata and Hiroto Yamami on up front in place of Musashi Suzuki. Yuki Yamamoto and Keisuke Kurokawa then replaced Kohei Okuno and Hiroki Fujiharu 10 minutes later, with Yamamoto almost making an immediate impact with a free kick across goal that evaded the touch needed.
Frankfurt then made seven changes, and another one a little later, when Japanese legend Makoto Hasebe made his appearance to an appreciative crowd. Substitutes Fukuda and Yamami were causing problems for the German defence by this time, Fukuda seeing a shot saved while Yamami was just wide with an attempt. But it was Yamami who brought Gamba level after a fine run in the left channel saw him brought down by the 'keeper, and he converted the subsequent penalty kick, 1-1!
After so many changes for both teams, the game was still seeing chances at both ends but Yamamoto won the game for Gamba with a snap shot from nowhere in the 87th minute, his surprise blast from the edge of the area beating the goalkeeper and giving Gamba a well-deserved 2-1 win.
Team - Ichimori (Ishikawa, 46), Yanagisawa, Shoji, Fukuoka, Fujiharu (Kurokawa, 56), Okuno (Y.Yamamoto, 56), Saito, Nakamura, Kurata (Ishige, 46), Meshino (Fukuda, 46), Suzuki (Yamami, 46)
Hiroto YAMAMI 81' (PK)
Yuki YAMAMOTO 87'