Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Year Review

2009, a year of hope, but not expectation. Gifu showed promise on the field, while faultering off it.

J2 2009 Table (FC Gifu Result):

106 Vegalta Sendai (0-2) (0-2) (1-2)
104 Cereso Osaka (0-1) (2-1) (1-2)
98 Shonan Bellmare (2-2) (2-2) (1-1)
97 Ventforet Kofu (0-1) (2-2) (1-2)
88 Sagan Tosu (0-1) (1-1) (0-1)
79 Consadole Sapporo (0-3) (0-2) (2-4)
74 Tokyo Verdy (0-0) (0-3) (1-1)
73 Mito Hollyhock (3-3) (1-1) (3-1)
72 Tokushima Vortis (1-3) (3-0) (2-1)
65 Thespa Kusatsu (1-0) (1-0) (0-1)
65 Avispa Fukuoka (0-2) (1-0) (0-1)
62 FC Gifu
59 Kataller Toyama (0-3) (0-0) (2-0)
58 Roasso Kumamoto (1-0) (2-5) (5-2)
47 Ehime FC (0-3) (2-1) (3-3)
44 Yokohama FC (1-1) (2-0) (3-2)
37 Tochigi SC (1-0) (1-1) (1-2)
36 Fagiano Okayama (4-0) (0-0) (2-0)

So Gifu improved on last year, finishing 12th out of 18 teams and just one win away from a top ten finish. Not a bad result really. Last year they finished 13th out of 15 teams.

As with last year Gifu showed the ability to beat most of the teams around the mid table or below but still struggled with the higher positioned teams. Towards the end of the season Gifu came close to securing wins over the likes of Shonan, Kofu, Tokyo etc, only to be beaten in the dying minutes. Still, it's a pretty good indication of how they played this year, reasonably solid, but still lacking ideas and the killer punch against bigger, more experienced oponents.

They ended the year with winning records over Tokushima, Kusatsu, Kumamoto, Yokohama and Okayama.

Shonan, Mito, Toyama and Tochigi all proved to be good rivals.

Teams yet to defeat FC Gifu:
Fagiano Okayama

Teams FC Gifu has yet to defeat (2010 - J2):
Consadole Sapporo, Tokyo Verdy, Ventforet Kofu, Gilabantz KitaKyuushuu

The Emperor's Cup

vs Tochigi 1-0
vs Matsumoto Yamaga FC 3-1
vs JEF CHiba 1-0
vs Nagoya Grampus 0-3

It was a great effort for a young team like Gifu to progress to the Best 8 of the Emperor's Cup for the first time. A gutsy win over J2 rivals Tochigi SC was followed by a spanking of Urawa giant killing Matsumoto in Akita. What was followed was maybe the most impressive though, a 1-0 victory over Chiba in Saitama and hence Gifu's first ever victory over a J1 team.

Unfortunately though it ended there, as a powerful Grampus side destroyed Gifu with the help of that man Kennedy, thus leaving Gifu without a goal against Nagoya yet, and without the much needed prize money that would have come with winning that game.


Results overall: Won 16 Drew 14 Lost 21

Results Home: Won 10 Drew 8 Lost 6

Results Away: Won 6 Drew 6 Lost 14

If Gifu did one thing right this year, it's that they started to win at home. Last year they only managed 3 wins at home and 6 draws. This year though they won 10 at home and drew 8. This included an 11 game unbeaten streak during the middle of the season and for the first time in their history a four game winning streak.

The time when Gifu struck most was in summer, when the other teams withered in the summer heat. Gifu with it's young players found another gear and usually scored the all-important goals in the last quarter of the game when the opposition ran out of breath.


Goals for 62 (12th) - average per game 1.22

Goals against 72 (12th) - average per game 1.41

Last year Gifu averaged only 0.98 per game on attack and 1.64 per game goals against. So when comparing those two results we can see that Gifu has improved in both facets of the game.
While last year they played mostly defensively, this year, while keeping to a basic defensive format, they attacked more particularly in counter and using quick on the ground passes rather than the aerial balls of last year.
Last year when the team lost games they usually didn't score a goal either but this year they scored in most games.
Defensive lapses were frequent early on in the season and during the dying stages of the game. Whereas the majority of goals scored were in the second half.

Top Goal Scorers 2009:

16 Koichi Satou (2)
11 Yudai Nishikawa (1)
7 Kazumasa Takagi (1)
5 Shougo Shimada
4 Kazuki Someya
4 Kazunori Kan
3 Shinji Tominari
2 Park Joon Kyung
2 Atsushi Katagiri
2 Kazunori Yoshimoto (2)
2 Hideyoshi Akita
1 Yuki Oshitani
1 Shuuto Tanaka
1 Suguru Hashimoto

( ) = Emperor's Cup

And Satou Koichi is the king of Gifu for 2009 with 16 goals in the J2, and two in the Emperor's Cup. He was ranked 9th in the J2 for goals this year. Nishikawa also put in a very solid debut effort of 11, but could have doubled that if he'd been a bit better.

Koichi particularly will be invaluable for Gifu next year. What he needs is a good solid partner, even more of a goal getter than himself. Nishikawa was often found wanting, as was Otomo and Jeun Kuan.

Player of the year:

This year the award goes to Suguru Hashimoto. Results speak for themselves, and in the first third of the competition when he was out due to injury the team hardly won. After his injection though, his attacking defense and great counter ability gave Gifu a potent attacking force. I would go as far as to say that if he is not there in 2010, Gifu will finish near bottom.

Following hot on the footsteps of Hashimoto was Hideyoshi Akita who at over 35, came up from the JFL and proved invaluable at organising the defense at the back as well as linking to the midfield.

Other notable mentions for 2009 were rookie defender Shuuto Tanaka, Kazuki Someya, and on-loan Oshitani and Yoshimoto.

Best games:

There were a number and games against Shonan, Kofu and Mito were always dramatic but my picks for 2009 are:

FC Gifu 1 - 0 Tochigi SC. All important first win of the season. Probably kept Gifu off the bottom of the table.
FC Gifu 2 - 1 Cereso Osaka. First win against Cereso. Four game winning streak. Good crowd. Gifu were on fire!
FC Gifu 1 - o JEF Chiba. All-important first ever J1 scalp.

Best Goal:

Koichi Satou's bicycle against Cereso Osaka was the icing on the cake for a great night. Forget Miyamoto's bicycle for Kobe (he juggled the ball first before kicking), this was a great volley bicycle kick direct of the pass. Great to see.


107593 (avg. 4304) (J2 - 13th)

1: 24882 (avg 3110)
2: 47177 (avg 4718)
3: 35534 (avg 5076)

Gifu started off the season with poor attendance. I remember standing in the rain against Sagan Tosu in Round 10 when only 1400 spectators bothered to turn up, and I feared for the worse for the rest of the season. As the team grew though, so did the fans. It created a great atmosphere for everyone and no doubt helped the team post some impressive results at home. During summer especially, Nagaragawa was "the place to be".
Unfortunately though next year will see Gifu move to Gifu Meadow which only has a capacity of 3600, and also Ichinomiya (in Aichi) for bigger games, but that too only has a capacity of about 7000. While great for watching soccer, this will no doubt be disadvantageous for the club financially.


A pretty pleasing results from the boys in snot green considering everything. 12th and a win away from a top ten finish is nothing to be ashamed off. Neither is a best 8 finish in the Emperor's Cup.
The young team gained alot of valuable experience and if the core team remains for next year then a top 10 finish is a good possibility.

So 2010, one new team, a new (old) stadium, new rookies, and the same old financial problems....
Ahhh.... I'm looking forward to it already!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Emperor's Cup Quarter Final

Nagoya Grampus 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Unfortunately for Gifu they couldn't reap the financial rewards by toppling rivals Nagoya Grampus over the weekend, but the loss brought to the end a proud season by the boys in mouldy green.
About 2000 Gifu supporters came to watch the game on a cold Nagoya afternoon, but they were soon humbled when Nagoya utterly dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game. Gifu gradually began to find their feet and the game evened up over the following 20 minutes with both teams having their chances. Gifu came close but it was Grampus who struck first when Kennedy headed into the goal just a minute before half time.
That goal was crucial for the outcome of the game. The general feeling around was that if Gifu could sneak in the first goal, then they could probably hold out for a tight victory. If it was Nagoya who struck first though, the floodgates would probably open.
And sure enough they did, with Kennedy knocking in another two to take a hat-trick out of the game.
Gifu had a few chances, and one disallowed goal, but this one was Nagoya's. They deserved this victory. There passing interplay, ball retention, and defense was superior.
So Gifu have to wait til next years Kisogawa Derby for their chance for revenge, and if nothing else, a goal would be nice!

Gifu can hold their heads high though. A Best 8 finish in the Emperor's Cup, with victorys over Tochigi SC, Matsumoto Yamaga FC and JEF Chiba, is a proud accomplishment for the club, especially considering the experience of the players and the financial problems of the club.

End of season review to come in 2010!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

R51 vs Tokushima Vortis

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

Gifu ended their J2 season on a high coming from behind to beat Tokushima 2-1 at a soggy Nagaragawa today. Tokushima have improved dramatically this year from being at the bottom of the table at the conclusion of 2008, to being 9th going into this game. In this game they had the best of the first half and were rewarded when they pounced on a Noda fumble to take a 1-0 lead into the half. It looked like Gifu were heading for another defeat but at half time something must of happens. Whether it was for the departing players, the departing manager, the 5000 fans that turned up in the round or just for themselves, the players came out in the second half and started to play with a bit of desire. Early in the second half Gifu equalised with Satou's 16th goal of the season. Then with about 15 minutes left Gifu took the lead when Akita pounced on a loose ball and knocked the ball past the keeper. Gifu then held on to keep themselves in 12th place at the end of the season.
Although it was the last regular league game of the season, Gifu can't afford to relax and reflect on the season just yet as they have a HUGE match against Nagoya at Mizuho next sunday. A win in this game, and the financial rewards, could be the key to keeping the club alive after next year as the club is still in financial debt that it doesn't really look like getting out of.
Sunday 13th vs Nagoya Grampus... be there!!!

2009 Table - Final

106 Vegalta Sendai
104 Cereso Osaka
98 Shonan Bellmare
97 Ventforet Kofu
88 Sagan Tosu
79 Consadole Sapporo
74 Tokyo Verdy
73 Mito Hollyhock
72 Tokushima Vortis
65 Thespa Kusatsu
65 Avispa Fukuoka
62 FC Gifu
59 Kataller Toyama
58 Roasso Kumamoto
47 Ehime FC
44 Yokohama FC
37 Tochigi SC
36 Fagiano Okayama

Sunday, November 29, 2009

R50 vs Cerezo Osaka

Cerezo Osaka 2 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 2-1)

Gifu put up a brave fight but lacked the killer punch to knock out J2 giants Cerezo. Again they left Nagai with no points and a one point loss.
Lanky Nishikawa knocked in a ball from close range in just the 8th minutes to give Gifu a shock lead, but this woke up the beast that is Cerezo and they grabbed the lead after 20 minutes, the second goal a blinder. They then went back into hibernation for the rest of the game.
Again it was a game that Gifu could have won, but again, without inspirational skipper Kazunori they looked a bit flat on attack.
With Fukuoka winning against Mito today, a top 10 finish to the season is now impossible. Kumamoto's win put them just a point behind Gifu, along with Toyama. So depending on next weeks results Gifu could finish anywhere between 11th and 14th.
Confirmed players that won't be playing for Gifu next year are:

Kan (Kikuchi)
Seo Kwan Soo

Hopefully Gifu can put on a good performance against Tokushima with a healthy crowd behind them and give these players a good send off.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

R49 vs Consadole Sapporo

FC Gifu 2 - 4 Consadole Sapporo (ht 1-3)

After a great defensive display against Chiba last week, Gifu were knocked back down to earth conceding 3 goals to be down 3-0 after just 21 minutes. The first goal was the result of bad defense, the second a horrible miss by keeper Noda, and the third was the result of a sublime strike by Danielson. Gifu scored one goal to Satou to place the score at 3-1 going into the second half, and give Gifu a faint chance at catching up to Sapporo, but Sapporo struck back early in the second half, and although Satou struck again for his second, it was not enough. Sapporo never looked like losing and played the better football, whereas Gifu looked disinterested, maybe still hungover from their victory celebrations of last week.
There were some positives to come out of the match though. First was that Gifu scored their first goals against Sapporo. Second was that Satou scored the 100th J2 goal for FC Gifu and in the process moved his total up to 15 for the season - 9th overall in the J2. The last point was that Gifu attracted their 100.000th spectator of the season, with 7,800 spectators turning up in the cold rain.

Next week is a trip to Osaka to play Cerezo. Gifu's past results at Nagai are two hard-fought 1-0 losses, and they are going to have to pull something special out of the bag if they are going to win this one. A loss will see them most likely plummet down the rankings to 13th or 14th...

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Emperor's Cup Round 4

FC Gifu 1 - 0 JEF United Chiba (ht 1-0)

FC Gifu claimed their first ever J1 scalp on sunday, at the same time progressing to the best 8 for the first time in their short history.
In the first half, bar the occassional outbreak by JEF, Gifu looked strong, creating plenty of space and chances. They didn't hit the scoreboard until the 44th minute though, when Yoshimoto kicked a loose ball in from a corner-kick.
JEF came out firing in the second half, dominating on the field and setting up chances of their own. They couldn't get on the board though as Gifu's defense stayed strong and in the end suffered another painful loss to add to their season of woes.

Gifu will now face Nagoya Grampus (again! - Yawn...) on December 12th to decide who will get to the best 4 to face either Albirix Niigata or Shimizu S-Pulse.

Monday, November 9, 2009

R48 vs Fagiano Okayama

Fagiano Okayama 0 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

I didn't see this game because I was at Mito watching Vegalta getting promoted but from what I saw of the highlights it was a pretty close game. Okayama have lacked the killer punch all year and it showed again in this game. Gifu left it till late in the second half, with Kazumasa bagging a PK after Shimada was pulled down in the box, and then Satou knocking in another with just minutes left on the clock.
The win was Gifu's first in eight games and was vital as the Fukuoka and Toyama both grabbed points and had lept above Gifu in the table before the game. The win though sees Gifu remain in 11th, just two points behind a top ten finish with three games to go.
For a top ten finish Gifu will have to win probably at least three out of their last three games. This won't be easy though as those opponents are Sapporo (Gifu has never beaten them), Osaka (Earned promotion to the J1 - Still fighting for the championship) and Tokushima (The most improved team in the J2 this year).
Still, there is hope and it will make an exciting finish to the year for the team. The can still finish anywhere between 10th and 14th.

Next weekend is the big game vs J2 new-comers JEF United Chiba at Kumagaya. Should be a good one. Gifu after making the best 16 for the first time will now be looking to make the best 8, as well as claim their first ever J1 scalp.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Emperor's Cup Round 3

FC Gifu 4 - 1 Matsumoto Yamaga FC (ht 1-0)

FC Gifu claimed their second scalp of the cup this year beating Matsumoto 4-1 in Akita. I wasn't able to make the game unfortunately, being in Tokyo at the time, but reports say that Gifu beat Matsumto through slick passing, superior body size, and a good game plan.
Gifu struck first midway through the firsthalf through a Yoshimoto header from a corner kick. In the second half they scored again through a Satou goal, only to be pegged back a goal a few minutes later when Matsumoto scored. This set up a tense few minutes just after the goal, but when Kazumasa slotted a PK not long after, the game was effectively over. In the dying minutes Nishikawa slotted himself a goal and that was that.
Apparently only 560 people turned up for the game in Akita. About 100 from Gifu, 50 odd from Matsumoto and the other 400 or so people probably from around the surrounding area.
Quite funny that. If the game had been played in Matsumoto there would have been probably over 5000 at the game but....

Anyway, all this means that Gifu will now be playing JEF Chiba in Saitama-Ken on November 15th. Considering Gifu has never beaten a J1 team in an official match, this will be a great chance for them. Chiba though will be slightly confident after disposing of Trinita 3-2 in Oita, and will also be playing basically in front of a home crowd. Still, it should be a good match!

For more Emperor's Cup results/draw etc in English go here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

R47 vs Ehime FC

FC Gifu 3 - 3 Ehime FC (ht 1-1)

I don't know what it is about the team at the moment. We were up 3-2 in extra-time, and AGAIN conceded a goal to lose 2 points...
Seems to be happening every game.
Usually if you score three points you're almost assured of a victory. But with Gifu....

Ehime knocked in the first goal early in the first half only for Gifu to hit back on the stroke of half time through a Nishikawa header from a corner kick.
In the second half Ehime again grabbed the lead but Gifu hit back 2 minutes later through a Satou PK. Then with 15 minutes remaining Gifu grabbed the lead through Hashimoto, only for Ehime to grab a goal in extra time.
For Gifu having DF Yoshimoto and Tanaka out for the game wouldn't have helped the team, but still...

Anyway, with the draw Gifu squeeked up to 11th on the table ahead of Toyama and Fukuoka by a whisker. With four games remaining and a five point gap between them and 10th placed Kusatsu, they're going to have to win at least three of the last four games to get the top 10 finish that they were aiming for at the end of the season. Lose though and they could fall as far as 14th by the end of the season.

Next week is a break for the Emperors Cup. Gifu will travel to Akita to play Matsumoto Yamaga FC who will be on a high after beating Urawa in the last round, and also winning the Shakaijin Tournament, which will put them into the regional finals and a chance at making the JFL for next year. Win and there will be a trip to Saitama-Ken to play either Oita Trinita or JEF Chiba.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

R46 vs Avispa Fukuoka

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

It keeps getting worse... Gifu dominated the first half by a mile but failed to hit the net. Fukuoka looked contempt with a draw at that stage. In the second half Avispa picked up the pace and both teams created a few chances.
It was in overtime when the drama began though. 2 minutes into the 3 minutes of overtime. Gifu's Satou was taken out by Suzuki who was red-carded. Gifu took the free-kick which just floated over the goal. That's where time should have ended but the ref kept playing. 4 minutes into overtime and Fukuoka got a goal which bounced around a few players before going into the net. On that one play DF Akita got pushed over and the ball hit a Fukuoka players arm....

But what can you do?? I can't say that Gifu deserved to win, while they dominated the first half, a goal still looked far away. But Fukuoka also didn't deserve to win... probably a 0-0 draw is a fair reflection of what this game should have been but...

Anyway, the loss puts Gifu and Fukuoka equal on the table with 55 points each, although the momentum is definitely with Fukuoka at the moment. Gifu will have to play extremely well if they are going to stay ahead of Fukuoka in the 5 games time!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

R45 vs Thespa Kusatsu

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

One magic moment by J2 points machine Tokura was enough to give Kusatsu their first win over Gifu this year. Both teams had their chances but both teams also played pretty average. The game was probably deserving of a nil-all draw but Kusatsu came out with the points and Gifu are left without a win after 5 J2 games.
Next Gifu have to travel to Fukuoka on wednesday. Quite a bit of travel in such a short turn around. Any chance of a top ten finish will disappear if Gifu lose this one.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Emperor's Cup - Round 2

FC Gifu 1 - 0 Tochigi SC (ht 0-0)

Gifu managed to come out with a hard-fought 1-0 win over rivals Tochigi SC and set up a date with not Urawa Reds, but Matsumoto Yamaga FC, in Akita on October 31st.
I did not see the game itself, but from what I hear it wasn't the best game to watch. Gifu's game came from Koichi Satou in the 55th minute. Tochigi's Leonardo got sent off in the 61st minute, and Tochigi came pretty close to equalising in the dying stages but Gifu held on.
The crowd was about 2300, which isn't too bad for The Emperor's Cup (Tokushima had about 900 at home!), but it will be interesting to see if over 1000 will turn up for the 3rd Round in Akita.
With Matsumoto knocking out Urawa 2-0 at home, this means that Gifu will have a good chance at advancing to the 4th Round, as Matsumoto are by no means as strong as Urawa. Still, any team who can beat Urawa by 2 goals has to be shown alot of respect, and if Gifu aren't careful, they could follow a similar fate as the Reds.
Win that game, and the next game will either be Oita Trinita or JEF Chiba in Saitama. Which would both be very winnable games. Still, shouldn't get ahead of myself, it's not as if Gifu are playing on fire at the moment. Better concentrate on this weekends J2 vs Thespa Kusatsu, which will be a very tough game as Kusatsu are in pretty good form at the moment.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

R44 vs Tokyo Verdy

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Tokyo Verdy (ht 1-0)

Seems to be a familiar pattern of late, conceding a goal in the last quarter of the game, and losing or drawing (might as well be losing!) the game. The weather was a shocker and as a result of this and the fear of the killer Influenza plague thats running wil in Gifu, only 1700 managed to turn up to watch the final battle of the greens.
To put it frankly, Tokyo were unlucky not to be up by a goal or two at halftime. They played better in the conditions, but missed a couple of sitters. Gifu managed to sneak in a goal just before halftime when Yoshimoto slowly floated a header into the back of the net. Tokyo came out though and threw everything at Gifu, but Gifu held on tight, and it looked like only a matter of time before they got their second. Chances though, were again squandered, and it was Tokyo, through that man we all love to hate, Leandro, who headed in a goal after a good counter attack to send the 34 visiting Tokyo fans into wild celebration. Gifu had a great chance to seal the game in extra time but the ball after bouncing of both sides of the posts skittled safely into the Verdy keepers hands and that was it.
Another one that got away. I guess it's all a learning curve for the team, and on the plus side Gifu's financial situation will be the better for it, because they won't have to fork out a winning bonus for that game...
The next round against Kusatsu will be a BIG game. If we can win this game then it will be a big step towards a top ten finish for the year.

Next game though is The Emperors Cup vs Tochigi SC.
The winner facing a trip to Akita to face J1 giants Urawa!

Monday, October 5, 2009

R43 vs Sagan Tosu

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

It doesn't get much worse for Gifu then today.
First, we lost.
Second, we only had five more minutes to hold out.
Third, DF Akita was red-carded and will miss the big game this wednesday against Verdy.
Fourth, we lost 3 in a row for the first time this year.
Fifth, Kusatsu beat Yokohama.
Sixth, We dropped to 12th on the table.

Thanks Hafner-Mike....

Can Gifu fight back and get their first victory over Tokyo this wednesday???

Monday, September 28, 2009

R42 vs Ventforet Kofu

FC Gifu 1 - 2 Ventforet Kofu (ht 0-0)

The motivation for promotion to the J1 proved to be too much for mid-table FC Gifu as Kofu came back from a goal down in the second half to nail home an impressive 2-1 victory at Nagaragawa. While the first half was pretty even but leaning slightly towards Kofu, the second half was almost totally Kofu. Even after Gifu DF Yoshimoto (on-loan from FC Tokyo) knocked in a fortuitous goal part way through the second half, it was always a question of when Kofu would equal the score, and then one they had done that, the knockout blow was almost inevitable.
Gifu were done by two set-plays (corners) which shows how this is still a defensive weak point for them, while their own set-plays are virtually non-existant.
It was a bitter loss. Gifu lost two in a row for the first time in a while, got beaten after leading, and lost the chance to beat Kofu for the first time in their history. They also got knocked down to 11th on the table and now have Kusatsu and Fukuoka snapping at their heels.
Next they face an on-fire Sagan Tosu. Gifu haven't lost three in a row yet this year but they're going to have to dig deep to get out of this one...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

R41 vs Tochigi SC

Tochigi SC 2-1 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Last saturday Gifu played pretty average but still managed a 3-1 win over Mito. Today's game they played even worse and were rewarded with a 2-1 loss to bottom placed Tochigi. Passes were missed, shots went astray and in general timing was a shambles. After Gifu went 2-0 down, they did manage to peg one back through Shimada, and it looked like they might be in for an unlikely victory, but Tochigi held the ball well, and Gifu as a result suffered their first loss to Tochigi in the J2. One major thing that has been plaguing FC Gifu this year is Manager Matsunaga's timing for replacements. Almost always way to late. In games like today when the team wasn't playing well he should have made changes earlier to change the tempo of things. While he did make the changes after 70 minutes today and the team did climb back and score a goal, it was ultimately too late. If it had been 5 or 10 minutes earlier it could have changed the game.
But it's not only when we're losing that his substitution is slow. When we are winning games comfortably and there are players who could do with some good game time and experience, whilst also resting some of the starting players, his substitution is slow and most players only come off the bench for a matter of minutes....
Anyway, would be nice if this could change at some stage...

Next game, back at home vs Ventforet Kofu who Gifu has never beaten.
Gambare boys! Only 10 games left!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

R40 vs Mito Hollyhock

FC Gifu 3 - 1 Mito Hollyhock (ht 0-0)

This was one of those games that took a while before things started happening. In fact the first half might as well not have happened. Considering the game was played at 1pm, in the 30degree heat, it's not too much of a surprise that players and fans alike took a while to get into the game.
Gifu opened the scoring through Satou and Nishikawa before Mito hit back to move the score to 2-1 and set up a tense finish. Gifu though prevailed, and managed to get another goal through Nishikawa, giving Gifu the win and bragging rights over Mito for the year.
The win puts Gifu into the top 10 in the table, and virtually ends Mito's chances of promotion this year.
Although they scored three goals, it was good, aggressive tackling and defense that won this one for Gifu.
This wednesday, is the trip to Tochigi and a chance of a three game winning streak.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

R39 vs Kataller Toyama

Kataller Toyama 0 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)

Finally the day came when Gifu was able to claim the scalp of their Toyama opponents. Throughout the JFL and J2, Gifu had managed three draws and one loss to Toyama teams. Today though came revenge. The weather cleared up for the game and Gifu dominated from the start. Things looked a bit patchy in defense but Gifu was able to keep the sheet clean for the first time in a while.
Goals came through Shimada in the first half and Nishikawa in the second half. A great performance and perfect revenge for the 3-0 loss earlier in the year.
The win keeps Gifu in 11th place but now they are just one point behind Toyama and a top ten placing on the table.

Next game vs the mighty Mito Hollyhock!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

R38 vs Shonan Bellmare

FC Gifu 1 - 1 Shonan Bellmare (ht 1-0)

There's an old cliche, "a game of two halves", and this was shown perfectly today when Gifu outplayed Shonan in the first half, grabbing a one point lead through captain Kazunori, but then were outplayed in the second half, letting in a goal, and letting the game slip into a draw.
It was a draw in which both teams left the field hurting. Gifu, having taken the lead, failed to capitalise and go on to the win. Shonan, although catching up to Gifu, failed to get that extra goal that will be vital for them in the race to promotion.

Next game: The Tokai-Hokuriku Derby in Toyama.
Gifu have never beaten Toyama and this is their chance...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

R37 vs Roasso Kumamoto

Roasso Kumamoto 2 - 5 FC Gifu (ht 1-3)

Gifu took avenge for their 5-2 loss to Roasso the last time the two teams met, by scoring 5 themselves in a ramsacking in Kumamoto. Roasso opened the scoring after just three minutes, but Gifu struck back through Shimada, Tominari and Nishikawa, to take a 3-1 lead into the break. After the break 2 quick goals by Satou took the score to 5-1, before a goal in additional time to Roasso saw the game end at 5-2. Kumamoto's defense was pretty weak, and players like Hashimoto and Shimada exploited it to great effect. All in all a great win for the team, especially considering they had only two days and a length of the country journey to recover from.

Next game... Shonan. The big boys are in town. Should be a classic. Go the Gif!!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

R36 vs Vegalta Sendai

Vegalta Sendai 2 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 1-1)

Deep down in enemy(?) territory, Gifu played a great game but were eventually overtaken by a piece of Nakahara magic that gave Gifu 0 points from a relatively well played match. I didn't see the game myself, only highlights, but from what I heard Gifu played pretty good. Nishikawa got the first goal of the game when Shimada attacked a Vegalta defender, stealing the ball and then passing to Nishikawa who did brilliantly to get the ball past a defender and the goalie into the net. Just before halftime though Vegalta struck back through a set play move, and then, with just a minute left in the game were undone by a Nakahara header.

Next game is in Kumamoto where I witnessed us lose 5-2 earlier in the season. Hopefully this time Gifu will get their revenge!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

R35 vs Yokohama FC

FC Gifu 3-2 Yokohama FC (ht 1-0)

FC Gifu showed guts and determination as they came back from 2-1 down to record an exciting victory in front of 9000 fans at Nagaragawa last night. Both teams traded dodgy PK's and then Yokohama hit the lead shortly after. Momentum then began to swing the way of Gifu and they scored two goals through Shimada and Kazunori.
It was a great game, lots of passion from both teams, good crowd, good weather, and all the goodness of Nagaragawa.

Next week is a toughy away to Vegalta Sendai, who Gifu has never beaten. If Gifu wants to get into the top 10 though, a victory here is vital. (Then again, as a Vegalta Sendai supporter also, a loss for them would be disasterous for their return to J1!) Once again I will be sitting on the fence for the Richy derby!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

R34 vs Consadole Sapporo

FC Gifu 0 - 2 Consadole Sapporo (ht 0-1)

In a word, uninspiring. The Gifu fireworks display was supposed to be a celebration for Gifu's first ever victory over Sapporo but instead Sapporo took the three points and left Gifu to taste defeat for the first time at home in 12 games. Gifu consequently were over taken by Kusatsu in the table and are now sitting in 12th.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

R33 vs Ventforet Kofu

Ventforet Kofu 2 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

Gifu let three points slip as Kofu came back from 2-0 down to even the scores in Kofu. Two goals by Koichi Satou early in the second half put Gifu ahead but they couldn't hold the lead. Gifu can be proud that they dominated Kofu for about the first 60 minutes, and were only pegged down towards the end.
Still, they should have been able to hold on and claim their first win over Kofu, but it was never going to be an easy task with 3rd placed Kofu in the form they've been in of late.

R32 vs Tochigi SC

FC Gifu 1-1 Tochigi SC (ht 0-0)

Gifu managed a disappointing draw here. Tochigi played alot better in the first half. Tochigi struck first but Gifu were allowed back into the match through a very fortunate PK decision.
Gifu played the better football in the second half but it wasn't enough. Fans of both teams were pretty disappointed with the result.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

R31 vs Tokyo Verdy

Tokyo Verdy 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 2-0)

Tokyo showed Gifu what the difference a few players of high quality can be in the battle of the greens. Both teams played a good running game, but Tokyo's Oguro, showed why he is so important to the teams chances of promotion this year. His header after just six minutes put Tokyo into the lead and his constant assault on the Gifu goal always keep GK Noda on his feet.
Gifu played a pretty solid game up front but failed to fire whereas Tokyo had the likes of Oguro and Leandro, who converted their chances.
It was at the back though where Gifu lost this battle. With Akita out, Sazuki joined the fray, but this inexperienced backline was exploited by the free-running Verdy. Tokyo on the other hand kept their defense tight, which was to be expected after the surprise heavy loss to Yokohama FC last week.
So Gifu's winning streak ends at four. Still, we have a 10 game unbeaten streak to extend this week vs Tochigi SC. It will be important for the players to get their minds back on the job for this one, especially with just two days to relax, recuperate and prepare.

Monday, July 27, 2009

R30 vs Cereso Osaka

FC Gifu 2-1 Cereso Osaka (ht 1-1)

4 wins on the trot.
10 games unbeaten at home.
First goals against Cereso.
First win over Cereso.
First J goal for Shougo Shimada.
Move to 11th on the table.

Need I say more??

(Actually I did, but the site crashed and it didn't save it so I can't be bothered writing it all out again!)

Anyway, big game against Verdy away this weekend. I'm taking the trip up!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

R29 vs Thespa Kusatsu

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

Gifu recorded their first 3-game winning streak in J2 last night when they defeated Kusatsu in Maebashi. The result saw them maintain 12th place in the competition but a win against Cereso Osaka at home this sunday could see them jump up as high as 9th in the table, if Kusatsu, Sapporo and Toyama all lose.
The game wasn't pretty but Gifu's defense held well and they put on a gutsy display. There sole goal came in the 69th minute when Someya kicked in a ball from the left side, which rebounded off a Kusatsu defender and into the goal. It was a lucky goal, but well deserved.
This weekends game will be huge. Gifu has never beaten Cereso, yet alone scored a goal against them, but they're on a three game winning streak, and haven't lost at home in 10 games, so it will be interesting to see what unfolds in Nagaragawa on sunday.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

R28 vs Yokohama FC

FC Gifu 2 - 0 Yokohama FC (ht 0-0)

On the face of it a 2-0 win over Yokohama seems like it was a natural result.. but what happened on the field was quite different.
As the rain poured down on Nagaragawa this evened out the teams and it was Yokohama who almost scored in the first minute of play. This carried on throughout the first half as the rain came down, even into the second half. It looked like only a matter of time before Gifu would be down a point. But towards the end of the half Gifu were awarded a penalty when FW Satou was pulled down in the box. A very harsh penalty for Yokohama, and they were unlucky not to stop the PK after Satou's PK attempt slowly bobbled its way into the net. Five minutes later FW Oshitani struck a great ball into the back of the net and the game was sealed. (Oshitani and DF
Suzaki are both playing in Gifu on-loan from Jubilo Iwata). Yokohama outshot Gifu 15-10 and will be gutted that they came home empty handed. The problem epitimises their season though... no real gamebreaker, no goalscorer.
So Gifu, unbeaten after 9 games at home and up to 12th on the table. This wednesday's home game is against Thespa Kusatsu (away) who are only four points ahead on the table. Then it's back to Nagaragawa for the big game against Cerezo Osaka. Gifu's record against them is abismal: 0-1 (a), 0-5(h), 0-6(h), 0-1(a). They going to have to try hard to maintain their home unbeaten streak for this one...

For this game I met up with Cesare (aka Nanbanjingumi) and his mate Dominik, who came for the Kyoto-Nagoya game the night before. Was great to meet up with fellow fans from around the country... and great that we could show them a Gifu win! Even if the weather was horrible.
Cheers guys, hopefully see ya in Kyoto/Osaka!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

R27 vs Ehime FC

FC Gifu 2 - 1 Ehime FC (ht 0-0)

Finally, that strange orange monkey is off our back! Gifu came from behind to score their first ever win over Ehime, as well as scoring their first ever points against Ehime, and at the same time improving their unbeaten streak at home to 8 games. The only downside of the night was the meagre attendance of only 2500 that turned up on a humid Gifu night.
Both teams came out attacking but to no avail as the score was locked nil-all at the break. In the second half though Ehime FC struck in the 61st minute through Uchimura. At that stage it looked like the Ehime bogey wouldn't be lifted tonight, but 12 minutes later Gifu struck the equaliser when Takagi Kazumasa latched onto a loose ball. After that a bit of Ehime madness saw Aono (75th min) and Furukawa (89th min) both collect red cards for over-aggressive defending. With an advantage of two men, Gifu cut it fine but pulled out a great come from behind victory when Someya fired in a ball which the Ehime goalkeeper had deflected.
Gutsy play all round. Things haven't felt this good for a long time. May it all continue for the weeks to come!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

R26 vs Sagan Tosu

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

FC Gifu put on a brave effort to come back from being a goal down after just five minutes to come back and draw the game with ten minutes remaining. Gifu were hopelessly outclassed in the first half, being overrun by a rampant Tosu who were on a five game winning streak, thanks mainly to their acquisition of super forward Mike Hafner. But in the second half Gifu started to dominate and when Takagi Kazumasa popped in his goal in the 79th minute it was all on for a desperate last ten minutes for both teams although neither could put in the deciding goal.
In the first half Gifu only put in 2 shots to Tosu's 7, but by the end of the game shots at goal were level at 11 each.
This sunday Gifu plays Ehime FC, who they have never beaten. Hopefully this time the POM Juice will be ours!

Monday, July 6, 2009

R25 vs Kataller Toyama

FC Gifu 0 - 0 Kataller Toyama (ht 0-0)

Gifu are now unbeaten at home for seven games in a row after their nil-all draw with Toyama in the weekend. A decent crowd of 4600 turned up to create a good atmosphere for the teams but while the game the game failed to be the spectacle it promised and yet again Gifu came out with only one point for their efforts. This draw means that Gifu has still yet to beat Toyama.
Gifu's defense seems to have patched itself up after last weeks 5-2 defeat to Kumamoto, and while the midfield created chances for the forwards, it was a case of not being able to find the back of the net again.
This wednesday Gifu take on a rejuvenated Tosu in Saga. I'd like to think that we could win this but the way they're playing at the moment, a draw would probably be a more reachable result.

Monday, June 29, 2009

R24 vs Roasso Kumamoto

Roasso Kumamoto 5 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 2-1)

Well, Gifu finally got roasted by Kumamoto. In seven games this was their first win over Gifu. Quite an entertaining game it was, and Gifu didn't even play that bad... but still, to have 5 goals knocked in against them by 5 defensive misses was pretty average. Gifu came from behind twice, once through FW Nishikawa, and then in the second half through DF Tanaka but that wasn't enough to claim the win, or even a draw, as Kumamoto rode a wave of energy to score a record win against Gifu.
Gifu's defense hasn't looked that leaky since the early stages this season.
They'll be hoping to patch it up soon and will be trying to post their first win over Toyama this weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

R23 vs Tokushima Vortis

FC Gifu 3 - 0 Tokushima Vortis (ht 2-0)

Despite the score, Tokushima played an awesome first half and could easily have been up by three goals or so if a bit of luck had been on their side. They controlled play awesomely and even at 2-0 down at the break, a come from behind victory was still on the cards.
In the second half though they slowed down as they maybe realised that lady luck wasn't on their side tonight.
Gifu, defended well, but were lucky to be up at the break. Attacking wise they only put in 10 shots to Tokushima's 21 but still came out 3-0, so credit must be paid to their forwards.
Goals came to Kazunori, Satou and Tominari.
This gave Gifu four home victorys this year, more than the whole season last year!
Next is the trip to visit those dirty horse-eaters in Kumamoto...

R22 vs Fagiano Okayama

Fagiano Okayama 0 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 0-0)

Nice stadium, nice food but a bit of a dull game. Gifu controlled all but five minutes of the first half but just couldn't quite get the goal they wanted. In the second half Okayama woke up and put in a good fight but both teams came out with not much in this one.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

R21 vs Shonan Bellmare

FC Gifu 2 - 2 Shonan Bellmare (ht 1-1)

What a cracker of a game! 6600 odd people came out on a warm sunny Gifu day to witness a great match between league leaders Shonan and 14th placed Gifu. Without captain Kan Kazunori and DF Shuuto Tanaka this was always going to be a tough game.
When I arrived at the game I was shocked to find out that Gifu super star FW Atsushi Katagiri had just settled a deal with Ventforet Kofu for the rest of the season and this would be his last game in Gifu colors. He, along with Moriyama, were two of the most influential players to bring Gifu out of the regional leagues and into the J2. Those two players are also probably the most famous players to come from Gifu Prefecture.
So a bit more spice was added to the game, and it didn't disappoint!
Gifu hit the lead first in the 42nd minute through DF Tominari, but the lead only lasted a minute as Shonan belted in a goal one minute later to equal the score at half time.
In the second half Gifu again hit the lead in the 25th minute with a beautiful driving shoot to DF Akita. Again though, 10 minutes later Shonan struck back for the equaliser. The final few minutes were frantic but again the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Gifu shot 14 to Shonan's 7 and were the dominant side but once again lacked the composure to hold their leads or to get the winning goal.
Gifu once again missed out on their chance to defeat Shonan for the first time but still it was a very positive result for the team. The next game will be a big one though. Away to bottom placed Okayama. On form that they should win this game, but unfortunately, like todays result, form often doesn't mean much on the day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

R20 vs Vegalta Sendai

Vegalta Sendai 2 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 2-0)

Didn't see the fifth installment in what my friends have coined the "Richy Derby". Well, only the highlights anyway. It's always hard for me to pick a side in this game but this time I think I was secretly hoping that Vegalta would get this one becasue it will help them on the way to promotion.
So in five games against each other Gifu has never beaten Sendai. Two 1-0 losses, a 1-1 draw, and two 2-0 losses. Always a close game but this game especially Sendai were always going to be hard to beat as they are playing some of the best football in the J2 at the moment.
Gifu apparently didn't play too bad but the extra class from Sendai got them through.
Hopefully Gifu can beat Sendai when promotion is already secured in the third installment!
But before that, for Sendai's sake, and for the sake of never having beaten Shonan, hopefully Sendai can pick up three magic points against the Beach Bums from Bellmare this weekend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

R19 v Mito Hollyhock

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

Yet again this year the Mito - Gifu clash proved to be a tense one, unlike the last clash between the two teams though, this time it was Gifu who was unlucky to come out with the win.
Gifu looked more comfortable throughout the game but couldn't quite get the winning goal which would have given them their first ever three match winning streak. It was Mito who struck first when they pounced on a clear miss by Gifu after just six minutes. Gifu held their nerve though and struck back later in the half through a rare set-play heading goal to Koichi Sato.
The second half was pretty slow for the first part but towards the end Gifu started getting the ball down the Mito end and looked like they might score an historic winner. It was Mito though who almost pulled off an unlikely victory when they produced a great chance with just minutes to go... fortunately for Gifu, GK Noda stuck his hands in the right place and saved what looked like it would be a certain winner for Mito. In the last couple of minutes Gifu almost found the winner themselves but the Mito defense held out and both teams were left with only one point for their efforts.
For Gifu it was a good indicator at where they're at this season. They played pretty good in all facets of the game, but are still lacking the x-factor to get that winning goal. They're also still making simple mistakes defensively in front of the posts that lead to goals.
All credit to Mito though. After coming off a few hidings their defense held tight through most of the game. You'd have to think that if Arata had been playing this game they would have had the firepower upfront to probably come out with three points.

The goal wasn't a bad result but Gifu can't relax. Their next two games are against Sendai and Shonan. While people can still dream of victory against these two teams, a draw against each team would realsitically be a satisfying result at the moment. Still, we all like to dream!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

R18 vs Avispa Fukuoka

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

FC Gifu started off the second part of the season with a well fought victory over Avispa in Fukuoka. Fukuoka created plenty of chances, but couldn't finish them off. Gifu played pretty well throughout the game too but unlike Avispa managed to squeek a in a goal to claim the three points and move up to 13th in the table. The goal was produced by great dribble and passing by Shimada and Takagi and finished off by Satou who calmly passed around the keeper to score the match winner.
Afterwards the Fukuoka fans, angry at not being able to win in 10 games held a protest and wouldn't budge from their seats until the Fukuoka managers etc came out and said a few words... ahhh.. it's good to win away!
As for Level 5 Stadium, it's a pretty impressive stadium. They even sell Blue Whale Kebabs... which were pretty good... err I had to try for scientific purposes...
Anyway the win gave Gifu it's first 2-game winning streak this year, and a win against the struggling Mito on wednesday could give the team its first 3-game winning streak and 3-game home winning streak in the J2. But unfortunately, Mito can never be trusted to give in easily...
Should be a good game.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 J2 Season 1/3 Review

Table (Round 17)

41 Cerezo Osaka (+20)
39 Shonan Bellmare (+21)
35 Vegalta Sendai (+35)
34 Ventforet Kofu (+9)
28 Mito Hollyhock (0)
27 Consadole Sapporo (+4)
25 Tokyo Verdy (+1)
24 Ehime FC (+4)
24 Tokushima Vortis (+3)
23 Kataller Toyama (-1)
20 Thespa Kusatsu (-4)
20 Sagan Tosu (-6)
17 Avispa Fukuoka (-8)
16 Roasso Kumamoto (-8)
16 FC Gifu (-11)
14 Tochigi SC (-10)
12 Fagiano Okayama (-17)
7 Yokohama FC (-13)

So Gifu's ends the first third of the 2009 J2 with a 4 win, 4 loss, 9 loss record.
All-in-all, not too bad considering the changes that happened within the team since the 2008 season.
Importantly for the fans, three of those wins were at home.
The problem for Gifu has been trying to find the right mix of attack and defense. Their goals for record is 14 (15th= with Tochigi SC), whereas their goals against record is 25 (14th= with Yokohama FC). So with those stats in mind it's easy to see why Gifu are 15th on the table.
Their attack is in the close - but no cigar territory. Plenty of chances, just no one's putting their hands up to fire in that winning goal. The formula is quite simple for Gifu, if they score at least one goal then they usually manage a win or a draw. Only once when they scored a goal they lost (Tokushima 3-1). On the other hand when they scored no goals they lost eight times and drew only one. This team thrives on confidence and momentum.
Defense on the other hand has been a big problem, with the core of the DF squad playing their first games in the J-league. This of course will probably get better over time, as these new players get the necessary experience needed, but unfortunately for the time being there are like to be a few hefty scores against Gifu by teams like Shonan and Cerezo.

R17 vs Roasso Kumamoto

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

Gifu kept it's unbeaten record against Kumamoto in tact with a Katagiri PK being enough to knock out the visitors and leave Gifu in 15th place one third of the way through the competition.
The game itself was a spectacle. Good attacking football from both sides. This si a fierce rivalry and it showed. Both teams had plenty of chances and the game could have easily gone to the visitors if it hadn't been for some great last-minute desperate defense by Gifu.
So job well done, and three home wins this season already for Gifu. Also they managed to win two in a row at home for the first time in the J-league.
Goodness all round!
Next, the big trip down to Fukuoka!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

R16 vs Yokohama FC

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

After a dour first half where I almost fell asleep (and Yokohama scored there goal), the second half opened up to provide a bit of entertainment, especially after Someya's equaliser in the 55th minute. Both teams pushed hard for that elusive bottom of the table win but had to be content with a draw.
So Gifu avoided an embarrassing loss to Yokohama who haven't won at home for about 18 games. In avoiding the loss Gifu kept off the bottom of the table and but were later overtaken by rival scum Tochigi SC.
Next though, they face their most bitter rivals, Roasso Kumamoto, who they have yet to lose to. The question is, for how long??

Sunday, May 17, 2009

R15 vs Consadole Sapporo

Consadole Sapporo 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Ahh the trip to Sapporo.. was it worth it? Hell yeah! Apart from the game itself it was a great trip and seeing Gifu play in the dome was awesome.
But the signs were there from the start when Gifu walked out in their home uniforms. Gifu rarely play well in that uniform, and under the lights of the dome it shows that the uniform is probably the worst in the J league....
The game itself was as the score indicates dominated by Sapporo. Gifu defense wasn't too bad but Consadole just had the right players for the job. The injury to Kawashima in the second half (broken collarbone??) is going to hurt. Gifu was finally getting their defense sorted lately.
This wednesdays game is against Yokohama FC. A must win for Gifu to keep off the bottom of the table. Unfortunately with Kawashima and Kikuchi Kan out due to injury theyre probably going to have to win by scoring goals.. (paste striker here.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

R14 vs Fagiano Okayama

FC Gifu 4 - 0 Fagiano Okayama (ht 2-0)

Your eyes are not betraying you. Yes, Gifu managed to score four goals. Yes, Gifu managed to win at home again. Gifu, winless in ten games, was hungry for a win against no-loss-in-four-games Okayama. A combination of a tired Okayama team and an inspired Gifu team (plus a Okayama red-card in the second half) led to this goal fest at Nagaragawa. Actually, it's the first time that Gifu has ever scored four goals in the J2 at home.
Defense was tight, passwork was brilliant, and the forwards made plenty of chances. Okayama was lucky not to come out another couple of goals down.
Nishikawa bagged his first J2 goal, followed by a hat-trick. Kan also scored his first goal of the season. It was goodness all round.
I almost forgot what it felt like to win...
Next is the big trip to Sapporo!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

R13 vs Cerezo Osaka

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

Some brave defense by Gifu almost got the boys a point from their visit to Osaka but the head of that pesky Kaio was the difference as Osaka came out with a hard fought three points, whereas Gifu was yet again left to think what could have been...
Gifu played some pretty good footy but against Osaka they need better than that. Now, after this game, Gifu has played Cerezo four times, lost four, and has yet to score a goal against the mighty pink and purples...
They have also failed to score in their last four games and are winless in their last nine games...
can this change against Okayama this weekend?? I would hope so... but then again, we're playing at home!!

R12 vs Tokyo Verdy

FC Gifu 0 - 0 Tokyo Verdy (ht 0-0)

...and the spoils were shared in the inaugural "Green Derby". A solid crowd was at Nagaragawa on a sunny day to watch a good battle unfold between past-J1 Tokyo Verdy and past-JFL FC Gifu. Both teams had chances to put this game away. For Verdy Oguro played a good game and was close on a few occasions but Gifu also had a few chances of their own.
Positives were the first blank sheet in defense for a while but once again a lack of strike power up front cost Gifu from claiming a famous (in Gifu!) victory for the boys.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

R11 vs Kataller Toyama

Kataller Toyama 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Toyama. A beautiful town surrounded by mountains and sea. Also has a team that can give us a good ass-whipping even though they were only promoted to the J2 this year.
It was the first time that the two teams had faced each other, and this was when Gifu was supposed to show that they were their seniors in the J2.
Shots at goal were pretty evenly split but where Gifu lacked ideas in front of the box and a finishing touch, Toyama didn't.
So Gifu has the worst defense in the J2. Youth and inexperience is costing the team dearly. The same can also be said about up front.
Next game is the "Green Derby" in Nagaragawa. Can Gifu give their fans something to smile about??

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

R10 vs Sagan Tosu

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

Another game at Nagaragawa, another loss. With a sea full of water on the field this made for an interesting game for the 1500 spectators to appreciate, laugh at, and cringe at.
Sagan played the better wet weather game, whereas Gifu defended like demons for the whole game bar the one-goal scene when GK Noda went to puch away a goal shot but it deflected into the goal. A pity really.
In saying that Gifu deserved to lose. 4 shots at goal ain't gonna get you a win.. unless youre Sapporo at Yokohama...
Of to Toyama tomorrow... predicting a draw...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

R9 vs Shonan Bellmare

Shonan Bellmare 2 - 2 FC Gifu (ht 1-1)

After wednesday nights lacklustre display against Sendai, Gifu bounced back and fought out a tough draw at Shonan. Gifu struck first when Katagiri floated a beautiful goal in after 19 minutes. But the writing was on the wall when first Shonan struck back before halftime when Gifu failed to clear a free kick miss, and then in the 55th minute when a Sakamoto strike unluckily rebounded of a Gifu players leg and into the goal.
10 minutes later though, Gifu levelled the score when FW Sato latched on to a beautiful through pass from Nagayoshi.
This set the scene for a tense final 25 minutes but both teams failed to capitalise on some great chances to win the game.
A great game all-in-all. For Gifu to come out with a point from enemy territory and play level with 2nd place Shonan was a great effort. Still, this was probably their best chance to beat Shonan and unfortunately they just fell short.

R8 vs Vegalta Sendai

FC Gifu 0 - 2 Vegalta Sendai (0-1)

Being a supporter of both teams I'm always wondering who I should support when it comes to this game. So instead of sitting on the fence I decided to get out there and support FC Gifu for this one. I was rewarded with a uninspirational, at times boring, loss for the boys in green.
The paltry crowd of under 2000 would have gone home why they even bothered to turn up.
Vegalta certainly didn't play too well, but well enough to take advantage of another Gifu defensive miss, and a PK situation... Zzzz
Wake me up on sunday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

R7 vs Mito Hollyhock

Mito Hollyhock 3 - 3 FC Gifu (ht 3-1)

The bogey men came back to visit their beloved Mito today.
The first half started off well when after 3 minutes a Mito defensive miss allowed FW Park to score his first goal for FC Gifu. The lead was short-lived though as this time a Gifu defensive miss allowed Mito into the game. 20 odd minutes later, loose marking on Mito star FW Arata meant Gifu found themselves 2-1 behind, and then a futher defensive error and some slick Mito counter saw Gifu go 3-1 down at the half.
In the first half Gifu put in 8 shots to Mito's 6 but had a fierce wind and some contentious refereeing decisions to deal with. There was still hope for the second half though.
In the second half, despite a few close shots at goal Mito seemed to be sit back and protect their lead whereas Gifu came out attacking. Just when it looked like the game would end 1-3 despite all of gifu's pressure, Park was awarded a PK which he converted in the 85th minute. The foul definitely didn't look deliberate but a foul nonetheless. The referee then stepped in again, yellow-carding Gifu DF Akita for ??? and thus taking him off the field. But despite this, Gifu stayed strong and in the fourth minute of injury-time Someya headed in the game-drawing goal after a Mito defensive lapse.
So Gifu, still undefeated at Kasamatsu. To come out after being down 3-1 after half an hour and draw the game was a great result, though given another five minutes, Gifu would probably have come out with 3 points from this game.
Still, good improvement from the last couple of weeks and a much needed confidence booster ahead of wednesdays game with Sendai.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

R6 vs Avispa Fukuoka

FC Gifu 0 - 2 Avispa Fukuoka (ht 0-0)

Wasn't here for this one either, but it looked like Gifu and Fukuoka played a pretty even game. Gifu created quite a few chances in the middle of the field but couldn't convert whereas Fukuoka found the net early in the first half and then late in the half when Kikuchi Kan gifted Fukuoka with an own goal.
It looks like a bit of spirit was shown here by Gifu but they're still struggling.
This weekend they face the high-flying Mito Hollyhock. Mito are looking really dangerous and if Gifu don't watch out they could easily concede a few in this one.

R5 vs Tokushima Vortis

Tokushima Vortis 3 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 2-0)

Wasn't here for this but from what I hear it was a comedy of errors by the goalkeepers that gave away this one. First Noda gave away a PK by tripping up a Tokushima player and then a few minutes later was given another yellow, and subsequently a red for handling the ball outside the box. Mizutani pops in as replacement for Noda, fumbles an easy high ball, and Tokushima are 2-0 up in the first half thanks to the two Gifu GKs.
Kazumasa did knock one in in the dying minutes, but it wasn't enough to keep Gifu's unbeaten record against Tokushima in the J2.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R4 vs Thespa Kusatsu

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

I don't know what happened in the couple of days since the big 3-0 loss to Ehime, but today Gifu came out firing and in the end picked up a much deserved win against the unbeaten in 2009 Kusatsu. The win was big for two reasons; 1. It was there first win against Kusatsu and 2. It was there first home win of the 2009 season.
The team had three changes from last weeks loss with Katagiri, Hashimoto and Tominari all joining the starting line-up and these players all played a big role in helping Gifu dominate on the field and the final scoreboard.
The cold temperature kept the play on the field quiet throughout periods of the game but the crowd of 2300 that braved the cold temperatures were on fire as they could sense an upset. They had to wait for it though and it came in the 88th minute when Someya scored his first goal for Gifu.

Next week is vs Tokushima who are looking pretty decent this year after a few seasons in the doldrums. Gifu will have to be on their game again if they want to come out with any points from this one. Still, a good win today. That's the shizzle.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

R3 vs Ehime FC

Ehime FC 3 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Before the 2009 season there was a dream among Gifu supporters that this team of young university graduates would shock the J2 world presenting youth, energy and an attacking spirit that would set Gifu up for a decent mid table finish come december.
Today though, reality set in. Todays team had five starting members from 2008s Tsukuba University team. Three of the other starting members had been struggling for game time last season and so far this season also look like they would be struggling to fit in the 2008 team. But due to a lack of players putting their hands up in the larger squad, and because of their J experience, these players are finding starting spots this year.
Defensively they aren't playing too bad, but communication problems and a lack of ability to clear the ball has lead to a few goals already.
The midfield is not controlling the ball well enough and most ball that gets to the forwards is pretty slow, with the exception of a few counter-attacks.
The forwards look similar to that of last year. With the ball that they do get they are indecisive and once they decide what to do the defense is already set. And those close chances just never seem to go in...
Today Gifu showed all this and subsequently allowed three goals in against an on form Ehime. The last goal was a consolation but Gifu never looked like winning this one.

So reality has set in. This is a young team. There are going to be plenty of losses this year. And probably a few high scoring ones.
With Ehime, Tokushima, Mito etc all looking to have matured alot more this year Gifu will indeed be doing well to avoid bottom of the table. To tell the truth though, they look like the worst team out there so far this year from what I've seen...

Their next task on wednesday isn't going to be easy. Facing Kusatsu at home. A Kusatsu that have one three in a row and are on fire up front.

Come on Gifu, show your spirit!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

R2 vs Ventforet Kofu

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

The 2009 home season began with a reunion with the Nagaragawa blues, as Gifu again failed to take any points away from Nagaragawa Stadium. 6800 odd fans came to see the game, about 1000 odd from Kofu. They were treated to a tight game with both teams never reaching great heights although Kofu were able to snatch a goal in the 17th minute through Morita after a Gifu defensive lapse. Kofu were particularly strong midfield, but up front they lacked spark. Gifu on the other hand put in a good defensive display, but were dominated in the midfield thus only having a few chances up front.
For Kofu a relieving win, but for Gifu disappointment after a good start in round one.

Monday, March 9, 2009

R1 vs Tochigi SC

Tochigi SC 0 - 1 FC Gifu (ht 0-1)

A nicely placed goal by Kazumasa Takagi in the 30th odd minute was enough to silence the crowd of 5500 in Tochigi Green Stadium on sunday. Me, along with the hundred or so Gifu supporters breathed a collective sigh of relief as Gifu, used their extra years experience in the J2 to make sure Gifu kicked off 2009 with an all important three points.
Not that Gifu played much better than Tochigi. Both teams struggled with new combinations and perhaps a few nerves. There were a few close shaves for both teams but in the end Gifus defense held well and never looked in too much trouble.
All in all a good first off win, but the team won't be able to relax, as next weekend they face Kofu at home. Kofu will be fuming after yet again failing to win their opening round match, while Gifu will be looking to exercise the home demons of the 2008 season where they only won three games at home.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2009 prediction and goal for FC Gifu

FC Gifu have stated that the team is aiming to end 10th or above in their second season in the J2. While I don't think this is impossible, this will definitely be a tough ask, especially with such a young team. But while remaining quietly optimistic, realistically, a finish above 17th will be seen as a good one for the team considering the amount of player changes and experience lost.

No doubt about it, this is a rebuilding year for Gifu. The biggest goal will this year be to develop the young team, avoiding injury, and providing a platform for these young stars to get out and perform in the years to come.

Their buildup to 2009 has been pretty good, recording training match wins over Kyoto and Kawasaki to name a few, although the question will come when these young players have to play in front of big crowds and raudy fans, as we saw against Nagoya Grampus last week. It's a different ball-game, and they'll have to get used to the added pressure.

Immediate team goals for 2009:
Beat the three new teams, Okayama, Tochigi, and Kataller. Especially Toyama, as Gifu has never beaten them.
Score goals against Cerezo Osaka and Ehime FC. They have yet to do so.
Beat Sapporo, Tokyo, Sendai, Osaka, Shonan, Kofu, Kusatsu and Ehime. They have yet to do so.
Keep their unbeaten record against Tokushima, Kumamoto, Toyama and Okayama.
Win more then three games at home!!!

As far as FC Gifu as a company is concerned, gaining financial sponsorship is top on the list. Gifu is the only team in the J1 and 2 without a main shirt sponsor. Beg beg beg! Do what you have to do! This team deserves a sponsor too!!
Also avoiding more debt whilst paying off debt is well... if Gifu want to be around next year... of the utmost importance!
I don't expect crowd figures to rise and if anything probably drop a bit. A lack of star players and a LONG LONG season should see numbers drop a bit, but the main thing is that management realise this and take the appropriate financial measures to keep the team afloat! As mentioned before, I few more home wins might also give the attendance figures a bit of a boost too!

Anyway here's my prediction for the 2009 end of season table. Gotta be realsitic here (as far as Gifu is concerned!)

1. Sendai 2. Osaka 3. Kofu 4. Shonan 5. Tokyo 6. Sapporo 7. Fukuoka 8. Tosu 9. Kusatsu 10. Mito 11. Yokohama 12. Kumamoto 13. Tokushima 14. Ehime 15. Toyama 16. Tochigi 17. Gifu 18. Okayama

Should be a good season anyway! To my friends and foes, see you at the stadiums throughout Japan!! ...and Ganbare FC Gifu!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pre Season Match 2009

Nagoya Grampus 2 - 0 FC Gifu (ht 1-0)

Different year, same result. Once again Nagoya came out trumps in the Kisogawa Derby but this time it was them who controlled the match. While the first half was reasonably even Grampus showed their power in the second half.
All things considered though, Gifu, with half of the team having never played a J game before, played a pretty good match against a team containing Japan international Tamada, and J-super star Davi. Defense was in general pretty good but too often balls weren't cleared well enough and second ball wasn't regathered.
Still the 2009 season looks like it will be an interesting one, with a very young team playing over 50 games... roll on March 8th and Tochigi!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pre-season Practice matches 2009

Feb 2
FC Gifu 2 - 0 Kyoto Sanga FC (Hashimoto, Akita)
Feb 14
FC Gifu 1 - 2 Kusatsu Thespa (Kawashima)
Feb 15
FC Gifu 1 - 3 Seongnam Ilhwa (Korea) (Hashiuchi)
Feb 17
FC Gifu 1 - 0 Kawasaki Frontale (Nagayoshi)
FC Gifu 2 - 1 HOYO AthleticoEran (Joon Kyung, Kwan Soo)
Feb 18
FC Gifu 1 - 1 Tokyo Verdy (Kan)
Feb 19
FC Gifu 3 - 1 Miyazaki Zangyou-Keizai University (Otomo, Kwan Soo, Katayama)
Feb 22
FC Gifu 0 - 2 Nagoya Grampus
Feb 28
FC Gifu 2 - 0 Fagiano Okayama (Takagi, own-goal)
Mar 1
FC Gifu 2 - 1 Sagawa Kyubin (Park Joon Kyung, own-goal)