with a well-deserved three points to pull away from the bottom of the
division. Both goals came from close range at corners, but they all
count and were both with the run of play as Gamba took the game to
their high-flying visitors.
Manager Tsuneyasu Miyamoto was fortunate to have the experience of
Yasuyuki Konno to call upon after the Japan international finally got
over an injury that has kept him out for most of the season. After
starting in J3's U-23 team last weekend the battling midfielder was
deemed fit enough to start in J1. He began the game alongside Yasuhito
Endo in central midfield, in front of a three-back line, with Oh
Jae-suk and Hiroki Fujiharu called upon for wing back duties.
Watanabe's opener, in his home debut was blasted home on the bounce
from a few feet out after Shunya Suganuma out-jumped his marker to
head down against the post. Watanabe was quickest to react and Gamba
were ahead within seven minutes of kick-off. A moment later it was Shu
Kurata's turn to find space on the edge of the area but his low shot
was smothered by the grateful goalkeeper. The game was mostly played
at Gamba's pace, with plenty of passing and movement, especially
through the wing backs while the away team was restricted to a couple
of shorts from Akihiro Ienaga and Yu Kobayashi, giving no trouble to
Masaaki Higashiguchi in the home goal.
Shortly after teh restart another slick Gamba passing move created the
chance for Kurata who saw his half volley saved at the near post to
give Gamba their second corner of the match. From that second corner
came their second goal as a deep Endo ball evaded everyone except a
totally unmarked Fabio sneaking in at the far post. He bundled the
ball in off his right knee as it bounced wickedly back up at him, but
he won't care how it went in. It went in!
Gamba continued to show class and confidence - the experience of Konno
obviously helping the team as they held on to a lead - and limiting
the opposition to a couple of long range shots in the final 20 minutes
or so, Gamba took the much-needed points!
Team - Higashiguchi, Miura, Fabio, Suganuma, Oh (Yonekura, 71), Fujiharu,
Konno, Endo, Onose (Ko, 86), Kurata (Ichimi, 89), Watanabe
Kazuma WATANABE 7'
Attendance - 19,683