Urawa Reds 3-0 Gamba Osaka - Levain Cup, quarter-final, 2nd leg
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Sato, Fukuoka, Kurokawa, Dawhan, Yamamoto, Ishige, Juan Alano, Jebali, Meshino
Gamba Osaka traveled to Saitama for this Levain Cup quarter-final 2nd leg, a goal down, but on the back of an excellent all-round performance in the 1st leg, marred only by that goal. Disappointment that they could have been coming into this game three goals up, or encouraged by a game that was dictated by them? Gamba's traveling fans were hoping for the latter!
And it seemed to be that way for the opening minutes of the game with Gamba looking good for the goal that they were chasing and then tragedy struck, although it was all of Gamba's own making, as they left Bryan Linssen free at a corner and his header squeezed through the crowd to beat Masaaki Higashiguchi and put Gamba two goals in the red(s).
Gamba pushed forward in numbers, looking for anythign that could get them back into the game, but the home defence knew that all they had to do was sit back and defend in numbers, and that they did effectively. It wasn't always pretty, but it was indeed effective. Takuya Iwanami took a yellow card just before the half-hour mark after a desperate lunge on Issam Jebali, but the Tunisian's 20-yard resulting free kick flew straight at the wall, and his second effort went wide. 1-0 on the night, 2-0 on aggregate at the break.
The 2nd half began in much the same way, with Gamba looking for openings and Reds holding them off. Ryotaro Meshino created some space for himself, but it was 25 yards out and his left foot shot was a screamer, but just over. And then, Gamba hopes were dashed as Linssen struck again - he mis-controlled the pass into area, but it bounced off his knee, he turned and hit a low shot past the unsighted Higashiguchi and Reds went 3-0 up in the tie. As against Consadole, things just continued to go wrong for Gamba and, just to rub salt into the wounds of a defeated team, Alex Schalk's cross/shot hit a defender and deflected in to end the game at 3-0, and the two-legged tie to 4-0 to Urawa Reds.