Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 4-0 Gamba Osaka
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao (Nakano, 66), Fukuoka, Kwon, Kurokawa, Lavi (Sato, 66), Dawhan, Yamamoto, Juan Alano (Yamami, 73), Jebali (Suzuki, 73), Meshino (Kurata, 58)
It was a game to forget for Gamba Osaka and their faithful traveling fans as a fine J1 run ended in disastrous style with a 4-0 away defeat in Sapporo. Nothing went right for Gamba in this game - and everything went right for the home team - it was just one of those days. For the opening goal Tsuyoshi Ogashiwa stumbled as he ran into the area, but in doing so, unintentionally nudged the ball to Supachok, who took a seemingly unthreatening shot, but it somehow found its way into the corner past an unsighted Masaaki Higashiguchi in the Gamba Osaka goal. 1-0, somehow!
The away team did all the could to push and press, and create half chances, Ryotaro Meshino doing brilliantly to create space in the area in the 34th minute, but his shot was blocked and it remained a salvageable 1-0 scoreline at the break.
Early in the 2nd half, the pattern continued, with Gamba seeing plenty of possession, but to no avail. Five minutes in, Keisuke Kurokawa and Yuki Yamamoto combined on the left to find room to cross for Juan Alano, and then the ball fell into the path of Ryu Takao who sent a shot just over the corner of the goal from over 20 yards out. Within a minute Gamba were on the attack again, and this time Meshino - again with a superb first touch to create the space - saw his shot skim past the 'keeper but inches wide of the post.
Then, against the run of play, Consadole were 2-0 ahead, Higashiguchi making a fine save after the defence had switched off, thinking a foul was to be given. The referee, to his credit, played good advantage, and Consadole made the most of it, with Supachok first to react when the ball came off the 'keeper, grabbing his second of the game.
Gamba went looking for the goals that might bring them something from the game but could not finish things off and, as the clock ran out - gaps at the back proved costly and, with Higashiguchi spilling a tame effort from Kim Gun-hee back into the substitute striker's path for an easy second-time finish, the game was summed up, and it was indeed not Gamba's day.
Just to add insult to injury, with Gamba still pushing forward in numbers in added time, a counter-attack ensured and, with just two defenders back in position, Yuya Asano bore down on goal and took aim. His left-foot shot took a wicked deflection to put the rubber stamp on an unfortunate day for Gamba Osaka. The 4-0 scoreline was undeserved, and flattered Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo immensely, but goals count, and three points were lost in the end. It will be a long time before Gamba's fans see another game like this (hopefully!).