Gamba Osaka 3-0 FC Tokyo - Levain Cup group stage
Gamba Osaka put out a strong side against capital visitors FC Tokyo, and stomped all over them in a comfortable 3-0 victory... the clean sheet was a bonus, and three goals without reply will only help build confidence in the team, and the squad as a whole.
Masaaki Higashiguchi got the start in goal, while we also saw Kwon Kyung-won return to the defence - a welcome sight, and one that surely made a difference in this game, too. Three goals and that clean sheet later and Gamba had the points.
The opening goal came just before the half-time whistle as Naohiro Sugiyama sped into the box and then turned the defenders inside out before blasting high into the net from close range to give the home team a 1-0 lead at the break.
The 2nd half saw even more Gamba possession and chances, and Dawhan hit a post before the second goal finally came late in the game. Until then, a highlights package will show Higashiguchi comfortably collecting a free kick high in the box... and nothing else, as Gamba dominated the match.
That second goal was scored in the 87th minute, when substitute Yuya Fukuda ran onto a pass on the edge of the box from fellow sub Rihito Yamamoto, and slipped it past the goalkeeper with ease to make it 2-0. The icing on the cake, and a second goal for Sugiyama came in added time as the 2023 newcomer took the ball in his own half, advanced to the edge of the area and curled a left foot shot past the keeper to make the game a 3-0 home win for a Gamba Osaka team that were never in danger of conceding a goal.
Team - Higashiguchi, Handa (Takao, 81), Miura, Kwon (Fukuoka, 70'), Kurokawa, Lavi, Dawhan, Y.Yamamoto (R.Yamamoto, 61'), Sugiyama, Jebali (Yamami, 70'), Juan Alano (Fukuda, 61'),
Naohiro SUGIYAMA 43', 90'+1
Yuya FUKUDA 87'