Kashima Antlers 4-0 Gamba Osaka

Gamba Osaka went down to a humbling away loss at Kashima Antlers last weekend, staying deep in trouble at the bottom of J1. Was this the shock that will see them bounce back for the Osaka Derby? Or was it another nail in the coffin of a team on the way down. It must be the former, but it's down to the players to prove that in the next game.

It wasn't ALL bad, as manager Dani Poyatos never gave up and made changes, going for the point(s) all the way, which, inevitably left gaps after the first goal, leading to such a big loss in the end.

The away defence was never under any real pressure in the opening stages and the first real chance of note fell to Gamba - in the shape of Dawhan, in the 38th minute - the Brazilian's right-footed shot hitting the side netting from the edge of the area. Minutes later it was Jebali's turn to be denied a goal, by the hands of the 'keeper down low to his right, as Gamba continued to look the better team in front of goal, but the team went into the half-time break at 0-0. And how different the 2nd half would be!

The descent began just a few minutes into the half, with Hayato Nakama completely mis-hitting an attempt from a deep corner, but his shot somehow bounced into the ground and out of the reach of Kosei Tani to give the home team a lead they would never let go of.

Yuma Suzuki doubled to lead in the 65th minute, leading with an arm to ensure Ryu Takao would get nowhere near the ball as he steamed in for a header. The goal was never in doubt as Takao did not make a meal of the challenge, and did not even appeal. If the shoe had been on the other foot...

And so, as Gamba poured players forward to look for goals the spaces at the back grew bigger and Antlers added two more goals in the latter stages, while at the other end Musashi Suzuki and Hiroto Yamami really could have done better in their attempts to level the game before the final collapse. An unjust scoreline and some rays of hope in the fact that Gamba never gave up, never stopped looking for goals, and were able to switch formations in trying to change their luck. Surely it is only a matter of time before this talented squad clicks and becomes a team of winners.

Team - Tani, Takao, Miura, Kwon (Fukuoka, 76'), Kurokawa, Lavi, Dawhan (R.Yamamoto, 56'), Usami, Alano (Yamami, 76'), Sugiyama (Suzuki, 64'), Jebali