Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good-bye and Arigatou from FC Gifu!

By looking at the players list on the right you can see the number of players (marked in red) that won't be playing for Gifu next year. Unfortunately this is largely due to financial reasons...
Next season is looking very grim....

Friday, December 12, 2008

2008 Year Review

So here it is. Little old FC Gifu came into the J2 world and showed that they would be no pushover - well at least not during the start of the season!

J2 2008 Table (FC Gifu Result):

100 Sanfreece Hiroshima (1-1) (0-4) (1-7)
78 Montedio Yamagata (5-3) (2-1) (1-2)
70 Vegalta Sendai (0-1) (1-1) (0-1)
69 Cerezo Osaka (0-1) (0-5) (0-6)
65 Shonan Bellmare (2-4) (0-0) (0-3)
64 Sagan Tosu (0-1) (0-0) (1-0)
59 Ventforet Kofu (1-1) (0-0) (0-4)
58 Avispa Fukuoka (5-1) (0-1) (1-1)
53 Thespa Kusatsu (0-1) (1-1) (1-3)
50 Yokohama FC (2-3) (1-0) (0-1)
47 Mito Hollyhock (3-1) (0-1) (4-1)
43 Roasso Kumamoto (2-0) (0-0) (1-1)
42 FC Gifu
37 Ehime FC (0-3) (0-0) (0-1)
29 Tokushima Vortis (2-1) (1-0) (1-1)

So in the end FC Gifu finished their inaugural J2 season in 13th, above Tokushima and Ehime and just one agonising point away from rivals Roasso Kumamoto.

They ended with winning records over Tokushima, Mito, Kumamoto and Yamagata.

Closest rivals ended up being Kumamoto, Tosu and suprisingly Yamagata which was also probably the most entertaining as in three games Gifu scored 8 goals and Yamagata 6.

Teams yet to defeat FC Gifu:
Tokushima Vortis, Roasso Kumamoto (incl. JFL)

Teams FC Gifu has yet to defeat (J2):
Sanfreece Hiroshima, Vegalta Sendai, Cerezo Osaka, Shonan Bellmare, Ventforet Kofu, Thespa Kusatsu, Ehime FC

Teams FC Gifu has lost all games against:
Cerezo Osaka

Teams FC Gifu has yet to score against:
Cerezo Osaka, Ehime FC

Results Round 1-45:

Results overall: Won 10 Drew 12 Lost 20

Results - Home: Won 3 Drew 6 Lost 12 (Goals 12-32)

Results - Away: Won 7 Drew 6 Lost 8 (Goals 29-37)

In the end Gifu roughly won a quarter, drew a quarter and lost about half of their games. Considering they just came up from the JFL it's not too bad a result.
The problem being that they lost over half of their games at home. Most teams came to Nagara with the confidence that they would come out with some points and Yamagata, Tokushima and Sagan were the only teams to lose at Nagara Stadium.


For: 41 (13th) - average per game 0.98

Against 69 (12th) - average per game 1.64

FC Gifu started the 2008 season with some of the best attacking in the league. But they resorted to a more defensive style of play during a third of the way through the season and never recovered from then.
Defense, although on paper being one of the worst in the league, was generally pretty tight and only a few blowouts against Hiroshima, Osaka etc made their record look bad. Generally defense wasn't too much of a problem, but scoring goals was.

Top Goal Scorers 2008:

9 Katagiri Atsushi
8 Masato Katayama
5 Takashi Umeda
4 Kazunori Kan
3 Kazumasa Takagi
2 Hiromi Kojima
2 Satoshi Otomo
1 Koji Yoshimura
1 Yasuyuki Moriyama
1 Kan Kikuchi
1 Shinya Kawashima
1 Shinya Aikawa
1 Koichi Sato

So Katagiri pips Katayama for the title. Katayama faded badly towards the end of the year, whereas Katagiri looked useful throughout. In reality though, the loss of a super-striker, a "Takahashi" of Roasso, a "Arata" of Mito, really hurt Gifu. It will be interesting to see who, if anybody, steps up next year.

Player of the year:

Without a doubt, Takashi Umeda. The Gifu-born midfielder was on-loan from Oita Trinita for the 2008 season. He controlled the midfield well, troubled defense with his dribbling and scored a few goals too. He will be missed in 2009.
Other creditable mention goes to MF Kazunori Kan who played very well in his first year in the J2.

Best games:

Any game against Yamagata! All games were dramatic and there were some great goals scored.
FC Gifu 5 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka. Need I say more!
FC Gifu 1 - 1 Sanfreece Hiroshima. Gave the big boys a fright at home and really played to their potential almost snatching a win in the final minutes.
FC Gifu 1 - 0 Sagan Tosu. The last game of the season and Gifu farewelled over half of their players in style recording a impressive win over midtable Tosu.

Best goal:

Katayama "Gaccha"'s goal against Tosu. A great volley shoot and a match-winner.


78650 (21 games) avg. 3745 (13th)

FC Gifu lost plenty of games at home and accordingly general spectators began to stop going to the games. The biggest attendance recorded was over 8000 in the game vs Yokohama FC. (Thanks to Yokohama FC for being in the J2 just for that reason!!)
If Gifu start to show some results at home next season then I'm still optimistic of getting an average of at least 4000 at games next year.


At the end of the day, Gifu did pretty well to keep themselves of the bottom of the table and finish a respectable 13th. Although they finished behind Kumamoto they will at least be satisfied that they still have yet to lose to them.
Although players developed alot within the year, it's going to be tough next year with over half of the players gone. Next year will be a tough one. With the inclusion of three new teams Gifu is really going to have to fight hard to keep of the bottom of the table. And the resposibility will go on the fifteen or so new young players as well as the five or so remaining experienced players.

What will 2009 bring?? Nobody knows. But weak or strong - I love Gifu!!

2008 Otsukaresama deshita!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

R45 Guts and Glory!

FC Gifu 1 - 0 Sagan Tosu (Ht 1-0)

FC Gifu finished the season in spectacular style with a great 1-0 win over Sagan Tosu. Gifu, spurred on by the departure of many of their fellow players for the 2009 season, played like a team possessed and dominated Tosu for long periods of the game. Their sole goal came through Atsushi Katagiri, who in turn became the season's top-scorer for Gifu.

In the end FC Gifu finished 13th in their first season in the J2, a point behind rivals Roasso Kumamoto, but ahead of both Ehime FC and Tokushima Vortis.

Well done boys!

Season report to follow....

Monday, December 1, 2008

R44 Well Beaten

Shonan Bellmare 3 - 0 FC Gifu (Ht 1-0)

Shonan Bellmare, with a place in the promotion/relegation match to play for easily knocked over Gifu in the weekend.
Although the match was reasonably even until the last 15 minutes Gifu never looked like they were going to trouble Shonan and in the end got stung by two late goals.

Next weekends final game at home will be an important one for a number of reasons.
a) Confirmation of 13th place on the ladder. If they lose there's still a chance that Ehime FC can overtake them.
b) Last game. Many players will be leaving after this season and it will be their last game in the Gifu jersey.
c) 2. The number of times that Gifu has won at home this season. Enough said.
d) Sagan Tosu. Lost 1-0, drew 0-0, yet to defeat the men from down south.
e) Last game of the year. For the fans and players!

Final Game December 6th (home) vs Sagan Tosu

Sunday, November 9, 2008

R42 0-1... AGAIN!!!!

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Yokohama FC (ht 0-0)

Not for the first time this season Gifu slumped to a 1-0 loss at home. over 8000 fans turned up to watch the game (and Kazu!) and appropriately Gifu lost the game (as they inevitably do when a big crowd turns up!).

The game itself was pretty even, both teams creating chances, but the only difference between the two teams was the fact that Yokohama were able to convert one goal through DF Yamada in the 66th minute.

After Kumamoto beat Ehime yesterday, todays result sees Gifu slip down to 13th on the table.

Next week - Bye
Next game November 30th (away) vs Shonan Bellmare

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Emperor's Cup Round 4

Nagoya Grampus 1 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

Gifu lost this one, but at the same time they gave J1 Grampus a lesson in how to play football by dominating throughout the game, unfortunately just not on the scoreboard.
Nagoya came out firing and for the first 15 or so minutes and set up multiple chances but were let down by poor decision making in the end. After this point Gifu began to take control of the game through Umeda and Kitamura and by the second half were spending the majority of the play camped down in the Grampus half. They had their chances, and one Aikawa header hit the post, but it was grampus who five minutes into three minute injury time got the winner through Yoshida as GK Hino misjudged a cross kick allowing Grampus to advance and play Omiya next week.
Pixy, the Grampus coach summed it all up though when he effectively said afterwards "I'm sorry that we won. Gifu definitely played the better football today".
So I'm very proud of Gifu. Great effort but just fell short. Taught Grampus a lesson in football though, and that means alot to the people of Gifu.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

R41 Battle of the newly promoted

Roasso Kumamoto 1 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)

FC Gifu kept their unbeaten record against Roasso Kumamoto in tact as well as maintaining their place at 12th on the J2 table.

Gifu started off the match well, attacking from all corners, but a defensive lapse in the 34th minute led to Roasso FW Nakayama sneaking one past GK Hino.
In the second half Gifu DF was red-carded after grabbing Kumamoto ace Takahashi's arm in a sprint to the ball. Although he cost his team a player on the field, he probably also saved them from being two points down.
So the game continued at a fast pace but it was Gifu, through back-from-injury MF Kazunori Kan, that struck the killer-blow in the 89th minute. It was a beautiful goal that just pipped past the keeper and into the top corner of the net.
Gifu then held on for a frantic few minutes to seal a well-deserved draw, and bragging rights against rivals Roasso for another year.

Next game: November 2nd (away) vs Nagoya Grampus (Emperor's Cup)

Next J2 game: November 9th (home) vs Yokohama FC

With only three games remaining for Gifu can they maintain there place at 12th on the table?? If they beat Yokohama this week they could even move on up to 11th. With Kumamoto and Ehime hot on their heels though there's still a possibility of finishing 14th so there's no room for complacency!
But first comes Gifu's first win over Nagoya Grampus next week!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

R40 Down, but not without a fight!

FC Gifu 1 - 2 Montedio Yamagata (ht 0-1)

FC Gifu's terrible run at home continued when they lost to Yamagata to leave their record of just two home wins this season in tact. Yamagata on the other hand broke their duck against Gifu and at the same time consolidated second place on the table.
Today both teams came out to play and while Gifu started of with a hiss and a roar it was Yamagata who struck first in the 30th minute, against the run of play, when DF Ishikawa capitalised on a keeper-less goal after Gifu GK Hino had dashed out to meet the ball.
Yamagata then struck again in the 63rd minute when giant FW Toyoda headed a ball in from a corner kick.
It looked like the game was over but then Gifu replied through reserve FW Koichi Sato who beat one defender and shot nicely past the keeper to score in his debut for FC Gifu.
Gifu then kept the pressure on Yamagata but time ran out and Montedio left Gifu relieved to be taking three points with them.

FC Gifu now stand even on points with rivals Roasso Kumamoto on the table. Next weeks game in Kumamoto now has extra meaning to it. Gifu are unbeaten against Kumamoto in the JFL and J2 so far and will be looking to keep their record in tact. A loss against in-form Roasso will mean a drop in places on the on the ladder.
The road is long and hard. Ganbare FC Gifu!

Next game October 26th (away) vs Roasso Kumamoto

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Emperor's Cup Round 3

Zweigen Kanazawa 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

FC Gifu played Zweigen Kanazawa in the third round of the Emperor's Cup and managed to scrape out a 1-0 win after Kanazawa's tough defense finally gave in in the 83rd minute. The game was played in Toyama which is about three hours drive from Gifu City and only one hours drive from Kanazawa City. About 1500 spectators turned up to the game but they enjoyed a tough fast moving game.
In the first half both teams had only two or three shots at goal each, and while the teams looked pretty even, Kanazawa looked more dangerous in front of the goal.
When the second half came around though, Gifu started to up the pace and looked especially dangerous with the injection of FW Katagiri midway through the half. In the end they were rewarded with a goal to FW Aikawa who knocked in a chip from MF Kitamura in the 83rd minute. That was enough to seal a hard fought win for Gifu. The pressure was on them for this game and they produced the goods.
All this means that in round 4 Gifu will take a trip to Toyota Stadium to play neighbors Nagoya Grampus. With the pressure off Gifu and onto Nagoya this should make for an interesting match!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

R39 At Last....

Mito Hollyhock 1 - 4 FC Gifu (ht 1-1)

Gifu stopped their winless streak at 13 with a hard fought win over Mito today. It's been a long time coming and was against the odds as Mito were in red-hot form coming into this game. However the Mito that beat Sendai last week failed to turn up to the game and were met by a Gifu team determined to get themselves out of their rut.
The game though, particularly the first half was pretty even. In the 7th minute Mito struck through MF Hori. Gifu replied in the 36th minute when a deceptive kick by DF Kawashima somehow found it past Mito Keeper Homma and into the back of the net. Mito had another couple of great chances but were only denied by some fine keeping from Hino.
In the second half a great goal in the 52nd minute by MF Umeda put Gifu on the front foot which they maintained until the end adding much needed consolation goals to FW Katagiri and MF Otomo in the 79th and 89th minutes repectively.
Mito didn't play as bad as the scoreline suggests, whereas Gifu also didn't play as good as the scoreline suggests, but for the first time in a while the ball seemed to roll the way of Gifu and in the end they earned a much needed three points.
The three points was especially important as it keeps Gifu in 12th place after Ehime also had a win and Kumamoto drew.

Next game October 12th (Toyama) vs Zweigen Kanazawa (Emperor's Cup)
Next J2 game October 19th (home) vs Montedio Yamagata

Sunday, September 28, 2008

R38 A Well Fought Draw

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka (ht 1-1)

FC Gifu finally found a bit of form and showed shades of the form which saw them regularly terrorize teams in the earlier stages of the competition.

Gifu though should not be content with just a draw here. The game was theirs after FW Aikawa knocked in a nice ball after 26 minutes. But a bogus referee penalty virtually handed a point back to Fukuoka in the 43rd minute when Hafner-Mike headed in.

In the second half both teams played on a similar level but with time slowly slipping away the referee continued to make bogus decisions against Gifu that resulted in minimal attacking chances for Gifu and thus a lack of any more goals.

For Gifu their defense was the tightest it's been in a while, while attack showed potential with Aikawa and Kojima the starting Forwards. Still though, this was three points that got away from Gifu... but I guess it's nice to even be able to say that after the last month especially!

Next game October 5th (away) vs Mito Hollyhock

These guys are on form, Gifu better watch out!

Winless Streak: 13 games

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Emperor's Cup New English Site

For lack of a English site I decided to make up a new site on my favorite competition - The Emperor's Cup. For all interested please follow this link.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

R37 ...and back up to four!

Ventforet Kofu 4 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Try as they could, Gifu were once again outmuscled by a ressurgent Kofu and once again were left on the recieving end of a big scoreline.

There worst fears were realised when Kumamoto beat Yokohama leaving Roasso just one point behing Gifu in the table.

Next game September 27th (home) vs Avispa Fukuoka

Winless Streak: 12 games
Losing Streak: 5 games

Time for a win boys!

R36 Back to one...

Vegalta Sendai 1 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

One point loss that is. FC Gifu played much better in this game and although they had Sendai on the back foot for alot of the game it was a fourth minute goal by Vegalta Captain Ryan Yon Gi that seperated the two teams at the end.

Next game September 23rd (away) vs Ventforet Kofu

Winless Streak: 11 games
Losing Streak: 5 games

Monday, September 15, 2008

R35 Oh wait... it does get worse!

FC Gifu 0 - 6 Cereso Osaka (ht 0-2)

For ten minutes Gifu played the best football I've seen them play in a couple of months. Unfortunately after two defensive lapses they were down 2-0 after just fifteen minutes.
They held on for the rest of the half and the fans were still quietly confident that Gifu could fight their way back.How wrong we all were.Osaka hit two more goals in regular time and to rub salt into the wound then pounded in two more in injury time.

It really is crisis time for Gifu now. The defense is in a shambles, the midfield lack the confidence to pass the ball forward, the forwards when they get the ball can't make the most of the opportunities that they get. To top things off Manager Matsunaga seems to be making some poor player selection and substitution choices.

The last time Gifu played Osaka they lost 5-0, but unlike that game when the ref handed the win to Osaka, this time it was all Gifu's fault. Osaka, didn't play anything special. They just scored when the chances came and played with confidence. Sendai and Kofu, who Gifu play next won't be shaking in their boots thats for sure. Might as well make it a competition, who can score the most against Gifu?

Winless Streak: 10 games
Losing Streak: 4 games

Next slaughter September 20th (away) vs Vegalta Sendai

Monday, September 8, 2008

R34 It don't come much worse than this!

Sanfreece Hiroshima 7 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 2-0)

Hiroshima gave Gifu a sacrificial slaughtering in Hiroshima last night, one that has left Gifu winless in their last nine games, and one that has finally seen Gifu drop down to twelth on the table below Mito.
The fact that Gifu rested their best forward Katagiri, arguably best defender Fukatsu, and their keeper Hino for this game showed that they probably went into the game thinking that a loss was inevitable.
But a 7-1 hiding was probably not in their predictions....
Like the last game in Hiroshima between the two Gifu started pretty strongly and defended stoutly only to see all their hard work undone by an own-goal to DF Komine in the 31st minute. Then just when it looked like they would hold on to a one goal deficit going into the second half, Hiroshima MF Morisaki scored a beautiful goal to with one minute to go beforte half time. This was effectively the killer blow for Gifu.
In the second half any slight splinters of hope were dashed when Hiroshima MF Takahagi scored after the first minute after a lucky deflection. This was followed by yet another own goal by Gifu DF Kikuchi Kan and a goal to Hiroshima MF Ri.
Gifu had a brief moment of glory when FW "Gacha" Katayama headed in a nice goal from a Kojima cross kick, but immediately they were put under the hammer again conceding two further goals to MF Takahagi and MF Aoyama.
It's funny, Gifu played alot more positive than in their 4-0 loss to Hiroshima in round 26, and in general their play was better, but the luck was definitely not on their side with two own goals and a cruel deflection... still, they were never going to win anyway!

In the end the best team in the league were playing the worst team in the league (in terms of recent performances) and I guess the result was a fare indication of how good Hiroshima are and how far Gifu have fallen....

Next Game September 15th (home) vs Cerezo Osaka

Should be a good crowd but Gifu are really going to have to pull something out of the bag if they want to end this run of poor form...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

R33 Out-Oranged Again....

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Ehime FC (ht 0-0)

Out-classed again, Gifu slumped to yet another loss at home and are now eight games without a win.
Play once again just didn't look positive in general and although the game could have easily ended in a draw it was Ehime who looked the more dangerous team especially through their counter attacks.
The first half once again belonged to the opposing team with Gifu not playing well at all, and although they picked up the pace in the second half the goal to Ehime's MF Syuichi Akai in the 74th minute was ultimately too much for Gifu to peg back.
Is there an end in sight for their misery??
Seemingly not, as their next four games are against Hiroshima, Osaka, Sendai and Kofu...

Next game September 7th (away) vs Sanfreece Hiroshima

Sunday, August 24, 2008

R32 Hammered

Thespa Kusatsu 3 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 3-0)

Once again a lacklustre display by Gifu saw them crash to a heavy defeat in Gunma today. Goals to Shimada (25th), Kumabayashi (28th) and Goto (37th) effectively ended the game before half time.

In a wet slippery stadium Gifu's defense was torn apart by the attacking proess of Kusatsu in the first half. Kustsu were going forward whereas Gifu just looked awful.
In the second half a lax Kusatsu took their foot off the pedal and allowed Gifu alot more control. With the injection of Otomo again with half an hour to go the attack started to look dangerous and Gifu were rewarded with a goal to Katagiri. But that's all there was. Gifu looked very average today.

Next game August 30th (home) vs Ehime FC

Monday, August 18, 2008

R31 Another Draw

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Tokushima Vortis (ht 0-1)

Another home game, another two points down the drain. Gifu once again failed to impress the crowd of 3500 spectators and now remain winless in their last six games.
After only watching the highlights of this game, and hearing other fans comments it seems that Tokushima played the better of the two teams and were unlucky not to win.
Tokushima got the scoring underway with a goal to FW Souza in the 42nd minute but Gifu struck back in the 80th minute through MF Otomo.
So the last third of the comp starts the same way as the 2nd third ended. Another draw.
Joy. Rapture. Excitement.

Join us next week as Gifu takes on another draw-hunter Kusatsu. Can Gifu break their drought?

Next game August 24th (home) vs Kusatsu Thespa

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FC Gifu - J2 Season 2/3 preview

FC Gifu have now battled for two-thirds of their inaugural J2 season. Below are some thoughts on the second-third of the season and season thus far.

R30 J2 Table (FC Gifu Result)

65 Sanfreece Hiroshima (1-1) (0-4)
50 Montedio Yamagata (5-3) (2-1)
46 Sagan Tosu (0-1) (0-0)
45 Shonan Bellmare (2-4) (0-0)
45 Vegalta Sendai (0-1) (1-1)
42 Cereso Osaka (0-1) (0-5)
42 Thespa Kusatsu (0-1) (1-1)
39 Avispa Fukuoka (5-1) (0-1)
36 Ventforet Kofu (1-1) (0-0)
34 Yokohama FC (2-3) (1-0)
33 FC Gifu
32 Mito Hollyhock (3-1) (0-1)
27 Ehime FC (0-3) (0-0)
25 Roasso Kumamoto (2-0) (0-0)
15 Tokushima Vortis (2-1) (1-0)

Results show that Gifu have not been good enough to beat most teams at the top of the table and have also stumbled against teams that are or were below them. This has led to a slip from 8th in the competition in Round 15, to 11th in the competition in Round 30.

Results Round 1-30:

Results - Overall
Won 8 Draw 9 Loss 11 (R1-15 W5 D2 L7) (R16-30 W3 D7 L4)

Results - Home
Won 2 Draw 4 Loss 8 (R1-15 W1 D1 L5) (R16-30 W1 D3 L3)

Results - Away
Won 6 Draw 5 Loss 3 (R1-15 W4 D1 L2) (R16-30 W2 D4 L1)

Overall results show that although Gifu haven't won as much in the second-third of the season, they haven't lost as many games either. This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. More draws means that they either drew more games that they could have lost or oppositely drew more games that they could have won.
Away form has again been the saviour for Gifu. With six wins away the are second only to Hiroshima in away form. On the other side of the coin is the fact that there home form is still terrible. 2 wins and 15th (last) in the league...

Overall Gifu can show a bit of pride that they haven't had as many teams beat them in the second part of the competition. However most teams don't settle for draws and in this aspect Gifu will be disappointed. The loss of an extra two points from these draws in winnable games are a telling sign as to why Gifu has slipped down on the table.


Goals - For 30 goals (=12th)

Goals - Against 37 goals (8th)

In the first third of the J2 Gifu played an attacking style of football and were ranked 2nd in goal scoring ability. On the other hand they were ranked 11th in goals against. In the second third of the J2 though, Manager Matsunaga changed the team formation to a defensive one relying on mainly counter-attack to provide goals, in order to stop the flow of goals they were conceding. While Gifu's defense in the second third is amongst the best, their attack in turn, has become one of the worst.
What kind of formation Matsunaga is going to resort to in the last third of the j2 is still a mystery. Gifu have showed that they have the ability to have some of the best attack and defense in the competition, but the question is whether they can find the balance between the two.

Best Players:

1. Atsushi Katagiri
Finally started to show his potential in the second third of the competition. Is up there with the best in goal assists and has managed a few goals for himself too. His free kick winner against Yamagata was a pearler. He is THE key forward for Gifu.

2. Kota Fukatsu
One of the key reasons Gifu's defense has been so strong lately. Aggresive tackler.

3. Takashi Umeda
Goals have been hard to come by lately for Umeda, but his general play is superb and he is glue that holds this team together. Top contender for Gifu player of the year.

Best Games:

1. FC Gifu 2 - 1 Yamagata Montedio
Gifu finally showed that they could score off a set play and that they could win at home (on the odd occasion). Yamagata came back to tie the game up at 1-1 but then Katagiri magically guided the ball over wall from a free kick to seal the winner with only a minute remaining on the clock.

2. Vegalta Sendai 1 - 1 FC Gifu
The first time Gifu play in the best J2 stadium in front of 13000 odd screaming Vegalta fans. Game could of gone either way. Also saw the return of Otomo to his old stamping ground and a great performance by him to boot.

3. Yokohama FC 0 - 1 FC Gifu
As a game from a spectators point of view, this wasn't the best. But Gifu showed plenty of gritty determination to pull out a one goal victory and get revenge for the demoralising come-from-behind defeat to Yokohama FC at Nagara Stadium in the early rounds.

Best Goal:

Atsushi Katagiri's goal vs Vegalta Sendai in round 28. Great right-field dribble from Takashi Umeda and a nicely weighted pass from Hiromi Kojima to Katagiri to net the goal. All after just five minutes of play at Yuatech Stadium, Sendai.


49842 (14 games)
Average Attendace: 3560 (J2 - 14th)

As expected Gifu's poor home form has ultimately led to a dip in the number of people attending the games. Another factor is the fact that they didn't play any of the crowd-pulling pleasers like Hiroshima or Yokohama at home this round either.
One other point is that while most of the other teams have a rival team to play which boosts attendance numbers, such as Ehime vs Tokushima, Gifu does not have that rival team in the J2. The pre-season game vs Nagoya Grampus is a great example of this kind of rivalry boosting numbers, as over 10,000 turned up to Nagaragawa to watch that game.
Still though, the faithful always show up at Nagaragawa. Again though, more losses at home, especially to the likes of Tokushima, will unfortunately almost definitely see crowds numbers drop again...


The results have been average for Gifu this third of the competition. There were no big wins for Gifu this time but instead two big losses against Hiroshima and Osaka respectively. Defense, although improving dramatically, has not been able to save Gifu when the goals aren't coming at the other end of the field. There have been good games but there is a growing dissatisfaction among the fans in the way that Gifu are playing the game. There was a stark contrast in the attacking brand of football being played in the first 15 rounds compared with the defensive play shown in the second 15 rounds. For fans this is quite a hard transition to watch, but if the results begin to come through then the fans should warm up to the change.
What will the last 15 rounds bring? A good performance could see Gifu finish mid-table or even slightly above. A continue in their current form could see them fall again though and finishing 15th out of 15 is still a possibility.
How will the 2008 FC Gifu team finish? The last 15 rounds will define the season for Gifu. If they fade, the season will become a disappointing first year. Start winning again though, the season will be a very satisfying one.

Go the Greens! Do it for Gifu!

Monday, August 11, 2008

R30 Defense vs Defense

Sagan Tosu 0 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

FC Gifu finished two-thirds of the competition with nil-all draw away to Sagan Tosu. With both teams being some of the most defensive in the competition there were never going to be many goals shared although both teams did come close.

FC Gifu did wake up from their lacklustre performance against Mito last week and in the first half had the best of the attacking chances. In the second half though Tosu attacked wave-after-wave and only solid defense kept the scoreboard from changing. With a few minutes left remaining Gifu had a few close opportunities, but as in almost all their games this year, bar the game vs Yamagata, they weren't able to find the net to score a dramatic victory.

Next week is a very big game for Gifu. Tokushima, although being at the bottom of the table, have looked good in parts in their last few games and against Gifu away will fancy their chances for an upset there. If Gifu do lose this game a drop to 12th or 13th in the table is almost inevitable as teams like Mito are playing alot better at the moment.

Next game August 17th (home) vs Tokushima Vortis

Friday, August 1, 2008

R29 Welcome to Mr Hyde Stadium

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Mito Hollyhock (ht 0-0)

Why FC Gifu are a completely different team when playing at home is a mystery. In a consistant Jekyll and Hyde like way, Gifu, usually after performing reasonably away, save their worst games for the poor fans who trudge to Nagaragawa Stadium every other week. And for the almost 3000 odd fans who turned up last night, it was no different, as they watched Gifu crumble to be defeated by a spirited Mito Hollyhock, in perhaps Gifu's worst performance of the year thus far.

Taking no credit from Mito, they dominated in every aspect of play. Defence - rock solid, Interplay and passing between players - awesome, they just did the basics right and had obviously done their homework on Gifu too. The first half in particular, they didn't even give Gifu a chance, and were perhaps unlucky to finish the half without a point to their tally. This changed though in the second half when superstar FW Tomoyuki Arata headed in a beautiful ball in the 63rd minute. From then all they had to do was defend...

At this point though Gifu finally woke up and started to attack the opposition goal. One or two close chances were missed, one chance was very close. The game could have easily been tied up, but this would have been undeserved for Gifu. This was Mito's game. In the last moments Mito beautifully wound down the clock and starved Gifu of possession and any chance for a comeback. GK Koji Homma was lucky not to gain a yellow card for his actions in slowing the play down in the last 10 minutes or so, but in the end of the day I'm sure he would have gladly sacrificed a yellow for the team and three points.

The fulltime whistle blew and FC Gifu were greeted with booing for the first time this year. The combination of a very flat, unspirited performance, being beaten by a team under Gifu in the table, plus their horrible run of performances at home, was all a bit too much for some of the fans. Other fans just stood silently....

...the Mito fans and players on the other hand were understandably happy. Congratulations to them on a well deserved win.

The next game for Gifu is against Sagan Tosu away. While their may not be too much pressure on Gifu for that game, their next home game vs Tokushima Vortis will be a different story. If Gifu are unable to win that game I fear what might happen.

Tough times for Gifu. Welcome to the J2!

Next game August 10th (away) vs Sagan Tosu

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

R28 Otomo Returns

Vegalta Sendai 1 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)

FC Gifu scored their fastest goal in the J2 after just five minutes but couldn't hold on, eventually being pegged back by a stubborn Sendai to return home with just a solitary point for their efforts.

It was a great goal by FW Atsushi Katagiri after a nice break by MF Takashi Umeda up the right of the field, who passed to Katagiri, who in turn passed to FW Hiromi Kojima who then slotted a nice pass past four defenders and onto the boot of a flying Katagiri.
From then though it was Sendai who attacked wave after wave until eventually in the 63rd minute when Sendai FW Tomoyuki Hirase scored the goal for an exciting finish.
FC Gifu brought in FW Otomo for a bit more movement in the forwards and immediately he made an impact as Gifu finally awoke from their slumber to produce some good chances but alas it was to no avail and the game ended in a draw.

A reasonably good performance by Gifu, away, in a cool Sendai. Another draw to add to the tally, but the players won't be happy that they let three points escape their grasp. This fridays game against Mito will be a big game for the club. Although Mito lost to Fukuoka last night, they did come from two goals down to tie the game up before losing. Their form of late has also been pretty impressive. This will be a stern test for Gifu, as well as Mito, and it will be a good gauge to see how both teams have developed this year. Looking forward to it!

Next game August 1st (home) vs Mito Hollyhock

Monday, July 21, 2008

R27 Stalemate

FC Gifu 0 - 0 Shonan Bellmare (ht 0-0)

Another nil-all halftime, another nil-all draw. Half-time nil-all scores seem to be becoming a bit of a regular occurance lately, these games are ultimately decided in the second half.

Gifu and Shonan both battled hard, both created chances but both went home probably feeling not too happy about the result. For Shonan the loss of Aziel was huge as he definitely adds alot of spark to their attack. In saying that Shonan probably attacked better, particularly in the first half, whereas Gifu made sure that their defense wasn't opened up again like last week against Hiroshima. Nil-all, the game could have gone either way but in the end a draw was a fair result.

This result though saw Gifu drop down another place on the table, and now face a daunting trip up to Sendai next week for their first visit to one of the best footy stadiums in Japan, Yurtec Stadium.

Next game July 26th (away) vs Vegalta Sendai

Monday, July 14, 2008

R26 After The High, Comes The Low

Sanfreece Hiroshima 4 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 2-0)
Hiroshima showed everyone on saturday night why they are the form team of the J2 and why they will almost certainly be seeing themselves back in the J1 in 2009. Sure the team has been a little out of form of late, but following a wednesday game away (Gifu had a bye), and with injury to key players, the team showed that they are an obvious class above the rest of the J2. Of course they haven't won all games and have been pushed hard by teams in the lower end of the table, but in football a top team rarely goes through a season unbeaten now do they?
FC Gifu, did not play too bad, but Hiroshima proved that the main difference was the difference in class between the forwards, with Sanfreece having the ability to strike when other forwards would usually miss.
Gifu actually held on well for the first 42 minutes, but just when it seemed that Gifu would go into the half at 0-0 Sanfreece struck through MF Kohei Morita in the 42nd and then MF Yosuke Kashiwagi in the 44th. If Gifu was to have a chance to win the game they needed to do it right after the break but it was instead Hiroshima who added more to the tally with a goal in the 48th minute to FW Hisato Sato and then to rub salt into the wounds a PK to Koji Morisaki in the 62nd.
So for Gifu, this game finally introduced the harsh reality that they are a club recently promoted from the JFL. Surely they were thrashed by Cereso Osaka 5-0 in Round 16, but that result was more to do with the referee than the ability of Osaka or Gifu. In contrast, in this game Hiroshima showed Gifu what kind of play needs to be produced if the teams wants to be eventually promoted to the J1. This was a powerful showing by Hiroshima, and it would have surely awoken many of the Gifu players and supporters into the reality of their situation this year.
Anyway, it will be very interesting to see how they react when they play Shonan at home this weekend. A win will no doubt add some confidence back to the team, but a loss followed by a tough away trip to Sendai could see them slip right back down in the table.
Next game July 19th (home) vs Shonan Bellmare

Monday, July 7, 2008

R24 Finally... Katagiri Comes To The Party

FC Gifu 2 - 1 Montedio Yamagata (ht 0-0)

Well, it only took 10 home games, but Gifu finally got another home win under their belts when they defeated second placed Yamagata in a thriller at Nagara last night.
The home team played pretty well tonight. In the first half they played with a great amount of possession but were unable to connect for the killer blow. Yamagata on the other hand, whilst being starved off the ball had a few good chances particularly during the end of the first half. The half ended though with a hint of a momentum change in favour of Yamagata.
So both teams again came out fighting in the second half but it was Gifu who struck first in the 75th minute when FW Atsushi Katagiri headed in a pearler after some great tenocity from FW Takagi Kazumasa. But just when the 3000 odd Gifu fans were beginning to think of that long awaited second home victory Yamagata struck back almost immediately in the 78th minute when MF Masaru Akiba back-headed the ball into the goal following a free kick almost on halfway.
Both teams traded blows but in the 87th Gifu were awarded a free kick about a metre in front of the box slighty to the left. Katagiri stepped up and beautifully knocked the ball over the wall and into the back of the net while the keeper stood watching. This turned out to be the killer blow.

This was a very good game for Gifu, not just because they won, but because they played positively and scored their first goal from a free kick. The crowd, myself included, finally got to go home to a good night of sleep with smiles on their faces.

Round 25 is a bye for Gifu.
Next game July 12th (away) vs Sanfreece Hiroshima.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

R23 Home Away From Home

Tokushima Vortis 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)
FC Gifu again showed that they loved playing away from home by grinding out a tough 1-0 victory at Naruto. Both teams had a few chances with Tokushima looking slighty better after a scoreless first 45 minutes. FC Gifu found it hard to get any momentum going with plenty of passes going astray, but in the 70th minute MF Hiromi Kojima put up his hand for a starting spot by belting in a nice goal from just outside the box. Tokushima then threw everything at Gifu in the final 10 minutes or so but Gifu's defense held sturdy.
Again defensively the team played well but again on attack and in the midfield things weren't quite so peachy. I'm predicting that maybe "ace" Katayama will be off the starting 11 next week and replaced by perhaps Kojima. Whatever happens, there needs to be a change up front.
Next game July 5th (home) vs Montedio Yamagata
This will be a tough one. 2nd placed Yamagata are on a high at the moment and Gifu will need to play their best to beat them. The question is, do they know how to do this at home???

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

R22 Lack Of Strike-Power

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka (ht 0-0)
I've come to a realisation about FC Gifu over the last few weeks. We are seriously in need of a good Forward who knows where to be at the right time.
This was once again shown tonight as Gifu created plenty of scoring chances, defended like demons, but yet again came out on the wrong side of a game that seemed destined to end either a 0-1 loss or a 0-0 draw.
The home stats show it all. 11 games - 1 win, 3 draws, 7 losses. 6 goals scored in those 11 games by Gifu, 18 against. 7 scoreless games for Gifu.
Going to Nagara Stadium almost means going to watch Gifu lose....
Anyway, in the end of the day Gifu were beaten by MF Tatsunori Hisanaga's nice heading goal in the 62nd minute. Yusuke Tanaka was red-carded in the 70th minute for elbowing Atsushi Katagiri in the head, but Gifu couldn't take advantage of it. Although I definitely wouldn't say that Fukuoka were the best team on the day, they got the goal, and ultimately that was enough to put them a place ahead on the table, knocking Gifu back down to 10th.
Next game June 28th (away) vs Tokushima Vortis

Saturday, June 21, 2008

R21 Hot Water Battle - Part 2

Kusatsu Thespa 1 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)
FC Gifu let three points slip as they were pegged back by Kusatsu after obtaining an early goal. Kusatsu came out firing, looking for a new club record of five wins on the trot, but were shocked when Gifu FW Masato Katayama got a goal in the 23rd minute. A bit of a lucky goal, being fired like a bullet by Atsushi Katagiri into the legs of Katayama and then deflected into the goal.
In the second half Kusatsu once again came out firing and were finally rewarded with a goal to Yasunori Takada in the 70th minute. Both teams then fought to the death for the winning goal but it was not to be and the games ended in a draw.
It was a pretty impressive first half for Gifu and once again their defense throughout was good. They will be disappointed at losing after gaining an early lead but to stop Kusatsu's four game winning streak was in itself a good effort.
Next game June 25th (home) vs Avispa Fukuoka
Can Gifu break the curse of Nagara Stadium??

Sunday, June 15, 2008

R20 Back On Track

Yokohama FC 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)
FC Gifu finally got back on track in Yokohama today holding onto a gritty 1-0, their first win since May 11th in round 13.
The game's solitary goal came in the 68th minute when a loose corner kick ball was kicked into the net by Kan Kazunori.
The first half wasn't overly exciting with both sides playing well defensively but only having one shot at goal. In the second half the pace picked up a bit and Yokohama squandered at least two golden chances at goal. But in the end of the day Gifu's defense held strong, producing its third clean sheet in as many weeks. Yokohama may be a bit unlucky to have not even managed a draw in this game but at the same time Gifu will be happy that they won, especially considering the referee blowed the whistle on them too many times when it looked like there were good counter-attacking chances ahead.
Next week Gifu visit Kusatsu Thespa and will be determined to break Kusatsu's impressive four game winning streak and at the same time gain revenge for the loss inflicted on them in round 14.
Next game June 21st (away) vs Kusatsu Thespa

Thursday, June 12, 2008

R19 Same Result - Different Game

FC Gifu 0 - 0 Roasso Kumamoto (ht 0-0)

For the second successive week Gifu could only manage a nil-all draw but this week the performance on the field was far from pretty. Roasso came to Gifu with determination to win the game but it seems that Gifu are still being bogged down by the pressure of playing at home, even if it was only in front of a pultry 2000 odd spectators.
Last week Gifu were unlucky not to win but this week it was the opposite. Their passes were intercepted left, right, and centre and although they almost pulled off a last minute winner they didn`t offer much for the opposition GK all night.
The one positive point was again their defense and the performance of GK Suguru Hino.

In other results Mito and Tokushima gained impressive wins to be within reach of Gifu on the table whereas Kusatsu won their third game in a row (the first time ever) to jump even further ahead.
This sunday Gifu play Yokohama away. Both teams are struggling at the moment so it should be an interesting match. A Gifu loss would see them most likely slip down to 13th or so on the table....

Next game June 14th (away) vs Yokohama FC

Sunday, June 8, 2008

R18 Ganbattakedo...

Ehime FC 0 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

On Sunday out-of-form Gifu took on Ehime in Matsuyama. It was a pretty good game by both teams, evenly contested, and in the end neither team could take advantage of some close opportunities and finished with a solitary point each.
For Gifu, the team played pretty well, had opportunites, but couldn't convert. On the other hand, in defense they played well and kept Ehime's attack at bay and as a result managed to hold a clean-sheet for only the second time this season.

This wednesdays game against Roasso Kumamoto at home is turning out to be a must-win game for Gifu now. The three main reasons for this are:
1. RIVALRY! Kumamoto are enemy number one for Gifu!
2. Gifu have only won once at home this season and that was in Round 4!
3. Teams like Thespa Kusatsu, Avispa Fukuoka and Mito Hollyhock are on form and have either overtaken Gifu in the table or are about to!

Next game June 11th (home) vs Roasso Kumamoto

Monday, June 2, 2008

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Ventforet Kofu (ht 0-0)

FC Gifu finally stopped their run of losses and goal drought but could still only manage a 1-all draw against Kofu.
Super goal saving by Suguru Hino kept Gifu in the game throughout as Kofu poured in wave after wave of attack.
Gifu struck first though in the 56th minute when DF Kan Kikuchi made Kofu pay for some sloppy defensive work in the goal area but Kofu then struck back in the 72nd minute when FW Toshiaki Haji headed in a goal to set up a tense finish.
In the end Kofu had 13 shots to Gifu's four and were visiably upset to not get three points from this game. Their supporters even made them sit around on the field after the game as they voiced their opinions on the days happenings.... no wonder Gifu DF Shinya Nasu wanted to change teams at the end of last season!

Next game June 8th (away) vs Ehime FC

Sunday, May 25, 2008

R16 Gifu Raped in Nagara

FC Gifu 0 - 5 Cerezo Osaka (ht 0-1)

Looking at this score you'd think that Gifu were totally outplayed. It's not that Gifu played bad, it's not that Osaka played exceedingly good, but the sad fact is that the referee for this game came wearing pink and purple shaded spectacles. Two PKs, one red card, one disallowed goal, numerous foul appeals turned down and a lack of consistancy in calling had Gifu on the backfoot and never gave them a chance.

It's a shame because both teams came out playing good attacking football. In the 31st minute though the referee decided to take control of the game by awarding Cerezo a dubious PK which was slotted by Germano. The half ended at 0-1 with both teams still looking like they could pull off a win. But as Cerezo picked up a gear so did the referee and with this the momentum lead to Gifu conceding goals to Careca, Tatsuya Furuhashi (2), and another PK to Germano.

Full credit to Cerezo, they played a good game and got the three points. As for Gifu, well, someday the luck may be with you. These games happen. It's a pity when a referee decides the outcome of a game but their's not much that can be done now is there??

Next game May 31st (home) vs Venteforet Kofu

Sunday, May 18, 2008

FC Gifu - J2 season 1/3 Review

FC Gifu have bravely fought their way through one third of their debut J2 season. Below are some thoughts on their performance thus far.

Round 15 J2 Table (FC Gifu Result)

32 Sanfreece Hiroshima (1-1)
28 Cereso Osaka (0-1)
26 Vegalta Sendai (0-1)
25 Shonan Bellmare (2-4)
24 Sagan Tosu (0-1)
23 Yokohama FC (2-3)
22 Montedio Yamagata (5-3)
17 FC Gifu
17 Ventforet Kofu (1-1)
17 Thespa Kusatsu (0-1)
14 Tokushima Vortis (2-1)
12 Ehime FC (0-3)
12 Roasso Kumamoto (2-0)
12 Avispa Fukuoka (5-1)
10 Mito Hollyhock (3-1)

Results indicate that FC Gifu has beaten most of the teams lower then them in the table whereas they have generally lost to teams higher in the table. This is probably a good indication of where FC Gifu are at the moment, good enough to beat most of the "lower" teams but as yet not good enough to beat the "stronger" teams.

Results Round 1 to 15:

Results - Overall
Won 5 Draw 2 Loss 7

Results - Home
Won 1 Draw 1 Loss 5

Results - Away
Won 4 Draw 1 Loss 2

A look at the overall results shows that Gifu have played well an have some rather impressive results considering it's their first season in the J2. The main concern though is the wins at home. Just one solitary win from seven games. Not only is this a concern for the team but by failing to win at home the attendance figures also declines. Also, while they have probably played better than their oppostion in the games that they've won there have been several games which they should have at least won or drawn, but instead lost (eg Kusatsu, Yokohama etc).

All in all you'd have to say a pass but honestly the team will be disappointed not to have gained more points then they have now.


Goals - For 23 Goals (J2 - =2nd)

Goals - Againgst 22 Goals (J2 - 11th)

This says it all. Some of the best attacking play in the league, followed by some of the worst defense in the league. The goals against is perhaps expected but the goals for is probably a shock for most people. In that aspect it's a definite thumbs up. But will it continue??

Best Players:

1. Takashi Umeda
Great general all-round skill. Dribble and pass, aggressiveness and four goals.
Took over as captain in place of the injured Komine.

2. Masato Katayama
First season in the J2 and already six goals. Knows how to sniff a chance

3. Takayuki Komine
Captain Courageous. Has a big body and defies gravity with his defensive dashes and body checks.

Best Games:

1. Ventforet Kofu 1 - 1 FC Gifu
The long awaited J2 debut. Gifu travelled to Yamanashi to face freshly relegated Kofu and came out with a brave draw thanks to MF Hiromi Kojima.

2. Montedio Yamagata 3 - 5 FC Gifu
Away to Yamagata Gifu pulled off shock number one of the season when they scored five goals and took their first win of the season in just the third round.

3. Avispa Fukuoka 1 - 5 FC Gifu
FC Gifu came from behind to dismantle Fukuoka 5-1 in what has to be the shock result of the season so far.

Best Goal:

Masato Katayama's volley-shoot against Tokushima Vortis


29697 (7 games)
Average Attendance: 4242 (J2 - 11th)

Considering the amount of sunday games and the timing of some of the games, the attendance figures are not too bad. The worrying thing is though that if Gifu continue this poor run at home it's hard to see the figures rising much.

R14 Gifu get boiled.

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Kusatsu Thespa (ht 0-0)

In the battle of the hot springs it was Kusatsu who came out with the three points thanks to the head of FW Yasunori Takada in the 75th minute. FC Gifu had the opportunity early in the second half to post first points when FW Atsushi Katagiri was fouled in the box, but the ensuing PK from Masato Katayama was easily gathered by GK Seiji Honda and Gifu had missed a golden chance.

The game was fairly even although Kusatsu controlled the ball well in the midfield therefore restricting Gifu's play to near their own goal for large portions of the game. The game had ill-tempered moments from both teams but it was Kusatsu who came through to remain unbeaten against Gifu. (The last game between the two teams was in the Emperor's Cup last year when Kusatsu won 3-0).

Gifu now have a BYE on wednesday. Next game is May 24th (home) vs Cerezo Osaka

Sunday, May 11, 2008

R13 Roasso See Red

Roasso Kumamoto 0 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)
FC Gifu took the spoils in the game between the two newly promoted clubs in Kumamoto today. FC Gifu were helped largely by a red-card given to Takeshi Yamaguchi in just the 41st minute for repeated yellow-cards.
Until then though, the momentum had all been with Gifu but the relentless attack on the Kumamoto goal all came to nothing and at half-time the scores were locked at 0-0.
In the second half Gifu picked up the pace a bit and it resulted in goals to Takeshi Umeda in the 56th minute and Atsushi Katagiri in the 64th minute. They then held on for the closing of the game to come out 2-0 winners.
For Gifu this win was huge for three reasons:
1. And most important, they beat bitter rivals Roasso Kumamoto to claim bragging rights for the time being and remain unbeaten against them in the J2 and JFL.
2. They stopped their losing streak at two games.
3. They held a clean-sheet in defense for the first time this season.
Although Roasso were unlucky to have Yamaguchi red-carded, Gifu deserved the win.
The next game will be another very important one against Thespa Kusatsu and if Gifu don't watch out they could be on the receiving end of yet another home loss. It will interesting to see how they react. But for today, a job well done!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

R12 Home Blues

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Sagan Tosu (ht 0-0)
FC Gifu again slipped up at home, although at least this time they managed to provide some competition for visitors Sagan Tosu.
This game was controlled by tight defense from both teams. Tosu were playing on the front foot but could not find a way through the Gifu defense and this continued until the 81st minute when Gifu DF Kota Fukatsu fouled Tosu DF Takuma Hidaka in the penalty box. FW Yoshihito Fujita then calmly slotted the PK and gave Tosu the victory and three points to move them up to third on the table.
For Gifu it was a gut-wrenching result. They looked like they were heading for their first clean-sheet defensive scoreline in the J2 but were punished nine minutes from full-time.
Their home record now stands at an abysmal 1 win 1 draw 4 losses and they are slowly slipping down to the bottom of the table.
Next weeks away game to Roasso Kumamoto on May 10th will be the most important game of the year so far. Lose this game and Roasso will be equal on points with Gifu. Gifu will also find themselves in the position of three losses in a row for the first time this season. A win though will see them gain some much needed confidence and keep their pride intact.

R11 Attack Of The Oranges

FC Gifu 0 - 3 Ehime FC (ht 0-3)

Fortunately I wasn't here to watch the humiliation as a stagnant FC Gifu were disposed of by the Orange Army from Shikoku.

Ehime scored goals in the 7th minute (MF Shuichi Akai), 23rd minute (MF Yuji Miyahara) and the 25th minute (MF Kenichi Ego) to effectively seal the match an hour before full-time. FC Gifu came out in the second half and started to play positively but it was far too late by then. Gifu had 12 shots at goal, Ehime 9. Welcome to the J2 Gifu, your first official pummeling....

Monday, April 28, 2008

R10 Relief

Mito Hollyhock 1 - 3 FC Gifu (ht 1-1)
Once again they took a 2-1 lead in the second but this time FC Gifu managed to hold on for 3-1 win under sunny skies in Mito.
It was a game in which both teams never really got out of second gear. I guess after both playing in goal-fests on saturday there was bound to be a bit of tiredness in both camps.
FC Gifu got the game going in the 26th minute when local legend Yasuyuki Moriyama collected a beautiful pass from Katagiri Atsushi. In the 40th minute though, Mito struck back when FW Tomoyuki Arata danced around his defender to level the scores 1-1 at half-time.
In the second half the game was there for the taking for boths teams but neither team really looked like scoring until in the 76th minute when Masato Katayama found himself unmarked to head in the goal for a 2-1 lead. From then it was all defense for Gifu as they withheld the Mito attack but in the 89th minute Katayama was again on hand to knock in yet another goal after a counter-attacking out-break from Atsushi Katagiri for the 3-1 win.
Had Mito woken from their slumber and played like they did against Sendai there is the feeling that they could have well won, or at least drawn this game but it was Gifu in the end that proved to be on the ball a bit more and therefore they came away with the three points.
Next game May 3rd vs Ehime FC (home)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

R9 Outplayed

Shonan Bellmare 4 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 1-2)
For the second time in two weeks FC Gifu gave up a 2-1 lead in the second half and managed to lose. In contrast to last weeks game though, this week, Gifu did not play well.
Conditions were apalling and the short grass at Hiretsuka made for a slippery surface. Shonan, from the outset came out with all guns blazing and managed to keep their feet steady on the wet pitch.
In just the 3rd minute Shonan FW Naoki Ishihara headed a nice ball past keeper Suguru Hino to give Shonan their first goal of the day. Shonan were creating good chances but were shocked in the 38th and 40th minutes when they conceded two own goals. These own goals were not from Shonan errors though, the first was created by a header of Gifu DF Shinya Kawashima and the second through the boot of FW Masato Katayama. So the momentum that Shonan had created had turned into a 1-2 scoreline that flattered FC Gifu as they entered half-time.
In the second half FC Gifu came out firing for the first ten minutes but couldn't convert and it was Shonan instead who created the equaliser, albeit a lucky one, through FW Ryuta Hara in the 57th minute. The injection of FW Lincoln for Shonan was a great move for the home team as he played with the defence and in the 36th minute, his cool play led to a goal for MF Adiel. The heads for FC Gifu started to dip and in the 44th minute Takayuki Komine was red-carded for a debatable defensive tackle leaving Shonan MF Nozomu Kato to beatifully curl in the free kick for a 4-2 lead and the win.
For Shonan a well deserved win. They handled the conditions better, had 22 shots at goal, and looked the best team.
For Gifu, the team tried hard but their are some serious problems in the defensive line, now seven goals have been conceded in the last two games alone. They did great to come back from an early blow and produce two goals, but they couldn't provide the defensive effort to save the game. With only four shots at goal they once again showed their ability to convert from limited chances but they have a lot of hard work to do for their next game on tuesday against Mito, who will definitely provide a stern challenge for the boys in green.
Next game April 29th vs Mito Hollyhock (away)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

FC Gifu vs Yokohama FC Review

Click here to read Jsgoal review on the Yokohama FC match in English.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

R8 Leaking Tent

FC Gifu 2 - 3 Yokohama FC (ht 1-1)

FC Gifu were given a lesson in playing for the full 90 minutes as Yokohama FC Forward Anderson converted a counter-attack movement that gave his team an injury time win in a thriller at Nagara Stadium.
Traditional slow-starters FC Gifu played with the wind in the first half and after 20 minutes had a goal to FW Masato Katayama to show for their efforts. There was nothing pretty about the goal, just a bit of magic, as surrounded by two Yokohama defenders and the keeper, Katayama managed to squeeze the ball through from a metre out.
Gifu looked to be heading into the half with a one point lead but an unlucky moment resulted in Kazunori Kan knocking in an own-goal leaving the skills level at the half. Although Gifu had controlled the first 20 minutes Yokohama were looking strong after a slow start and one goal each was probably a fair indication of the first half.
In the second half Gifu once again started stronger and were rewarded with a second goal to DF Koji Yoshimura after 60minutes. The tide slowly began to turn though and Gifu's usually strong defense began to crack down the middle of the field. Yokohama struck back in the 81st minute when DF Kosuke Yatsuda scrambled in a goal from a corner kick. Yokohama continued to exploit the tired Gifu defense and in injury time broke Gifu fan's hearts when FW Anderson kicked in a nice goal from 20 metres out.
FC Gifu could have won this one, and definitely were not out-played by Yokohama FC. But in the end, their defense began to leak like a 100 yen shop tent, and Yokohama used all their experience to exploit it. Hats off to Yokohama FC, they played the full 90 minutes and got the result they deserved. FC Gifu will have to rest well this week, as one can only feel that the players are starting to feel the effects of the long season and the high level of play in the J2.

Next game April 26th vs Shonan Bellmare at Hiratsuka.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Game highlights

Highlights of the 5-1 thrashing of Avispa can again be found on the official FC Gifu website or by clicking this link. Enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

R7 Five Magic Minutes

Avispa Fukuoka 1 - 5 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Unbelievable! In the space of five minutes FC Gifu who were trailing Fukuoka 0-1 put on four goals to race out to a 4-1 lead that ultimately led to their third win of the season. The game was played under sunny skies in front of 7ooo spectators at Level5 Stadium, Fukuoka.
Fukuoka scored first in the 18th minute when some clever interplay between the forwardswas finished off by MF Hokuto Nakamura who slotted the ball nicely past the keeper. FC Gifu were playing more positively with the ball that they had but Fukuoka looked the more dangerous team near the goal. The half ended at 1-0.

In the second half though things changed dramatically as Gifu FW Atsushi Katagiri bagged a double in the 56th and 57th minute to give the lead to the visitors. As if they were not content with this, FW Kazumasa Takagi also snuck in a goal in the 59th, followed by a goal to Takashi Umeda in the 61st. Amazingly Gifu had turned a one point deficit into a three point lead within five minutes. These goals were produced by good attacking play by Gifu, but at the same time they were also helped by defensive misses by Fukuoka. With 30 minutes remaining both teams created chances but it was Gifu again who added another point to their tally with a well taken goal by Takashi Umeda, who also bagged a double. The game ended with FC Gifu 5-1 winners.

For Gifu the confidence received in beating Fukuoka away by four goals will be enormous. They played well defensively and scored their five goals from just ten shots at goal. On the one negative note, they allowed in a goal again, meaning that they have yet to keep a clean sheet come full-time this season.
For Fukuoka, well what can we say? They lost last week away 1-3 to Tokushima and then at home 1-5 today to Gifu. Obviously they're going through a bad patch and will have lost confidence particularly in the last two games. Defense is their main problem at the moment and they will be looking to fix that ASAP.

A great day for Gifu. Katagiri got his first goals of the 2008 season, FC Gifu their third win of the 2008 season. Looking good boys. Otsukaresamadeshita!

Next game April 19th vs Yokohama FC

Sunday, April 6, 2008

R6 Fightback

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Sanfreece Hiroshima (ht 0-1)

FC Gifu provided a great second half comeback against J2 pace-setters Sanfreece Hiroshima in front of 5400 people at Nagara Stadium, Gifu, today.

Gifu tried to produce positive attacking play in the first half but were easily dominated by Hiroshima who showed the kind of patience that had gotten them through their first four matches unbeaten this season. In the 22nd minute their patience paid off when Tomoaki Makino chipped in from a corner to open the account for Hiroshima. For the rest of the second half Gifu kept defending bravely and the half ended with Makino's goal being the difference between the two teams.
Stern words must have been said in the half time talk for Gifu though as they came out on fire in the second half. In the 60th minute MF Kazunori Kan put Gifu level with Hiroshima when he kicked a great ball diagonally across the keeper and in between the posts. The rest of the half belonged to Gifu, but as ruthless as their attack was they were unable to pip in the winning goal and the game ended a 1-all stalemate.
Had Hiroshima (11 shots at goal) been able to convert more of their first half pressure they could have come home with three points, but in the end, Gifu (9 shots) looked the most likely to score the winner.

Next game April 12th vs Avispa Fukuoka

Thursday, April 3, 2008

R5 Guts in kansai

Cerezo Osaka 1 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)
FC Gifu showed plenty of guts in Osaka against Cerezo but a lapse in concentration in the 12th minute allowed Cerezo MF Noriyuki Sakamoto an easy goal which would ultimately prove to be the difference between the two teams come 90 minutes. FC Gifu made a strong showing at Nagai Stadium and were unlucky to go home with no points from a game in which they dominated.
Next game is &th March vs Sanfreece Hiroshima.
Highlights of FC Gifu games can be seen on this link and are changed weekly.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gifu vs Egypt??

Unfortunately (or fortunately!) I will not be able to watch FC Gifu play away to Cerezo Osaka in Round 5 of the J2 as I will be away in Egypt and UAE. Promises to be a good game though. Will Gifu be able to continue their good form of late?? Or will Osaka arise and show their desire to get back into the J1 this year??
I will be watching the result with sandy eyes....

Monday, March 24, 2008

Match highlights

By clicking this link or by going onto the FC Gifu Official Homepage and clicking the grey box written 試合の映像を観る under the scoreboard on the right hand side you can watch great quality highlights of the Gifu vs Tokushima game. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

R4 Magic

FC Gifu 2 - 1 Tokushima Vortis (ht 1-0)

A moment of magic from Forward Katayama gave FC Gifu their first ever home victory against Tokushima Vortis today. A small crowd of just over 2000 people witnessed the event on a cool cloudy night. FC Gifu started off the match well and took a 1-0 lead to the break after ex-Oita Midfeilder Takashi Umeda knocked in a goal after 34 minutes. In the second half after a succession of corner kicks, Tokushima struck back after Forward Doumbia kicked in a goal to give Vortis their first goal of 2008. Tokushima were looking like they could produce a come from behind win but one minute later, in the 76th minute, in a moment that defined the match, Gifu Striker Katayama vollyed in a cross pass from Atsushi past the keeper to put Gifu right back in front. After all their trying, this moment ultimately knocked the stuffing out of Tokushima, and Gifu were able to hold onto a famous victory.

Both teams provided plenty on attack, Tokushima looked especially invigorated after their embarrassing loss to Ehime FC last week. Both teams provided nine shots at goal each, but while Gifu had only three corner kicks, Tokushima had an amazing 12!

Two wins a row for Gifu, a first home win, and third on the table after round 4. Not a bad night out for the boys! But in the next two weeks they will have their first big tests of the year when they take on the might of Osaka and Hiroshima.

Get out there and support your troops!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

R3 Euphoria

Montedio Yamagata 3 - 5 FC Gifu (ht 2-3)

Who would have guessed it? FC Gifu piled on five goals to record their first ever win in the J2 in Yamagata today! Takagi and Katayama added to goals each with Kan adding the cherry on the cake in the 38th minute to seal the win. In the first half it was Takagi who got the goal rush started, with a lucky deflection of Yamagata legs in the 11th minute. But Yamagata hit straight back in the 15th minute through Toyota and the 18th minute through Watanabe. In the 26th minute Katayama headed in a goal and then just before full time in the 44th minute struck in a goal for a vital 3-2 lead at half time. Gifu then came out of the sheds fastest in the second half as Takagi knocked in his second of the day. Kan popped in a final goal for Gifu in the 38th minute to seal the game. Yamagata then popped in a consolation goal in the 44th minute as Leonardo headed in from a corner kick.
The amazing thing for Gifu is that they scored their five goals of just 11 scoring chances. Yamagata on the other hand did pretty well themselves by scoring their three goals of just eight shots at goal.
Congratulations to the boys from middle earth, Japan!

Next game vs Tokushima Vortis at home this sunday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

R2 Unlucky

FC Gifu 0 - 1 Vegalta Sendai (ht 0-1)

On a beautiful summers day in Gifu (a disappointing) 5000 odd people turned out to watch Gifu battle J2 big-guns Sendai in an entertaining match. Both teams played positive soccer, with Vegalta looking the more settled team as perhaps nerves once again led to a slow for Gifu. The solitary point of the match came after 23 minutes when Vegalta's Ryan Yon Gi on the counter attack took a shot from ten metres out, only for it to be headed into the goal by Gifu's Masamichi Yamada whilst trying to clear the ball.
On the whole, the defence from both teams was impressive, as the end result showed. Vegalta had 14 shots at goal but amazingly no corner kicks, whereas FC Gifu had only a mere five shots at goal and one paltry corner kick. So in a way, it was very similar to last weeks game with Kofu, although this time the standard of play was alot better in general than last week. There were chances to draw the game, one shot by Katayama hit the posts, and Moriyama also came close to putting in a last minute goal. In the end the score was probably a fair reflection of the game, but Gifu were unlucky to concede the own goal, and it's debatable as to whether Vegalta would have been able to win if they hadn't been gifted that goal.

Looking onto this thursdays game away to Yamagata, I think that after Yamagata's dismantling of Cerezo Osaka on saturday, and after the long journey up north, Gifu will probably be hoping to come out of that game with pride in tact but not expecting too much. The fact of the matter is that they will be probably concentrating most of their efforts on the home game against Tokushima Vortis on sunday 23rd. But it will be very interesting to see what happens next. We are all waiting for them to follow Roasso's footsteps and get their first three points of 2008.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

FC Gifu vs Ventforet Kofu review

Click here to read the review written about the round one clash by Jsgoal. The reporter told us in the preview that unfortunately for Gifu, we would lose this game...