Gamba Osaka 0-1 Vissel Kobe

Gamba Osaka welcomed the 2023 J1 champions in their final game of the season and, probably mainly due to Vissel Kobe already having won the league the week before, managed to hold out until just after half time before conceding the only goal of the game, and going down to yet another defeat, 1-0, to end the season on a low.

Goalkeeper Masaki Higashiguchi was deemed unfit to play and so Kei Ishikawa got a very rare start, while the manager found it in his heart to give long-serving left-back / wing-back Hiroki Fujiharu a few minutes at the end of the game to give the fans a chance to say their goodbyes to a loyal servant.

There was little to crow about during the game, though, as a tepid Gamba went down to their 12th successive game without a win. Just two draws and 10 losses in all competitions since the August 19th win over Shonan Bellmare. With such a potentially-good squad of players and cover and alternatives in every position, this was probably a little hard to swallow for the home fans, who saw yet another loss in the final game of the 2024 J1 season.

Highlights for this match for either team - were few and far between, Takashi Usami headed tamely wide in the 20th minute, while Shu Kurata's effort just before half time, after a clever pull-back from Issam Jebali, was blocked for a corner kick. Meanwhile Vissel Kobe's central defensive pair of Matheus Thuler and Tetsushi Yamakawa had been allowed a free header each from set-pieces by a shaky home defence, but had seen them both go narrowly wide.

The 2nd half began dangerously for Gamba, also, with Jean Patric put through by Yoshinori Muto, but Kei Ishikawa sprinted out to snuff the danger, but the killer blow came a moment later, and it was down to some very bad luck in the end, as a Jean Patric cross was deflected in at the near post to give the away team a 1-0 lead that they kept until the final whistle. Shoji Toyama did bundle the ball home only to see the flag up for offside, and Gamba once again went down to defeat.

Team - Ishikawa, Handa, Miura, Kwon (Fukuoka, 44'), Kurokawa (Fujiharu, 85'), Yamamoto, Dawhan, Kurata (Tsukamoto, 85'), Meshino (Yamami, 77'), Jebali (Toyama, 77'), Usami

Attendance: 32,397