Gamba Osaka 1-2 Avispa Fukuoka

With both Neta Lavi and Dawhan suspended for this game, Gamba Osaka manager Dani Poyatos brought in Hideki Ishige and Shu Kurata to fill the gaps, while giving Musashi Suzuki a rare start up front, in place of Takashi Usami and, in a familiar pattern we saw the home team with plenty of possession and movement, as well as 18 registered goal attempts, but, once again, at the final whistle, nothing to show for the effort.

Gamba went ahead early, in the 13th minute, when Kurata headed on a corner to the far post, where Kwon Kyung-won was on hand to head the ball home via a Daiki Miya deflection. Five minutes later Ryotaro Meshino almost doubled the lead with a far post left-foot volley from a deep Yuki Yamamoto cross, the Avispa goalkeeper helping keep his team in the game. It was Meshino's second blocked shot, while Kurata saw a blast from outside the box narrowly miss the goal as Gamba piled on the pressure.

Meshino continued to look dangerous and, in the 39th minute, he was once again foiled by Takumi Nagaishi in the away goal, as he took a pass from Ishige and let fly with a left-foot blast. Gamba were 1-0 up at the break, and it could well have been more. Unfortunately, within a minute of the restart the scores were level, Yuya Yamagishi finishing from close range after Kazuya Konno's outstretched leg had diverted the ball into the Avispa striker's path.

As the hour mark approached Kwon had the chance to score his second of the day as a half-cleared ball bounced invitingly for him in a promising position, but his left-foot volley was wayward. Still Gamba looked for the victory, and continued to look likely to grab the winner. Next up to be denied was Shota Fukuoka, who saw his shot hit the arm of Miya, first of all, then hit another defender on the line with the goalkeeper beaten. No PK was the decision, and the away goal continued with its charmed life.

Just to emphasise which way this game would eventually go, the referee then adjudged Keisuke Kurokawa had fouled Konno in the box, as the diminutive attacker backed into the Gamba defender. Kurokawa was genuinely shocked by the decision, but a PK it was. A little home justice was then dished out by Higashiguchi, making the save from Yamagishi to keep the scores level!

Then came the inevitable, as a right wing cross, looked set to be cleared by Kwon was deflected over his head by Kurata and into the path of Lukian, the fortunate striker diverting his header into the top corner to send Gamba to yet another defeat.

Scorer: KWON Kyung-won 13'

Attendance: 21,293

Team - Higashiguchi, Handa, Miura, Kwon, Fukuoka (Toyama 90+2'), Kurokawa, Yamamoto, Ishige (Usami 77'), Kurata, Meshino (Yamami 89'), Suzuki