Gamba Osaka Pride

  • MATCH PREVIEW – 26/04/2014 – J1: Match Day 9 – Kawasaki Frontale v Gamba Osaka: wp.me/p2ZpGh-I1 | #川崎フロンターレ #ガンバ大阪 #Jリーグ 12 hours ago
  • Takashi Usami will be on the bench this weekend as I have been saying. He rejoined full training this week. Would expect to see him come on. 13 hours ago
  • Takashi Usami is back in full training and could make the bench for the game against Kawasaki Frontale on the weekend. 2 days ago
  • MATCH REPORT – 19/04/2014 – J1: Match Day 8 – Gamba Osaka 2-1 Omiya Ardija: wp.me/p2ZpGh-HQ | #ガンバ大阪 #大宮アルディージャ #Jリーグ 3 days ago
  • KANSAI STEP-UP LEAGUE: Vissel Kobe 0-3 Gamba Osaka Kim (21), Futagawa (28) & Seno (83) 4 days ago

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Match Report – 29/03/2014 – J1: Match Day 5 – Sagan Tosu 2-0 Gamba Osaka

Tosu was a wet and horrible place on Saturday night as Gamba slumped to our second defeat of the season, going down 2-0 to hosts Sagan Tosu. It was probably a result that we did not fully deserve but defensive lapses and a bit of impotence up front cut us short of taking at least a point back to Osaka. The majority of the 12,115 rain-drenched fans went home happy.

Kenta Hasegawa made two changes to the side that started against Sanfrecce Hiroshima last weekend. In came Oh Jae-Suk For Akira Kaji at right-back, with him not even on the bench whilst just before kick-off we discovered that Koki Yonekura will be out injured for around 8 weeks with right knee ligament damage – Oh’s first appearance in J1. Going forward, Sato came into the starting eleven in place of Shu Kurata who has seemed a little off this season. This sent Lins out to the left and Endo behind Sato, although the former sometimes made it a 3-man midfield. Places on the bench came for Kim Jung-Ya against the team he was loaned to last season.

First Half
AWAY v Sagan TosuGamba started beautifully and continued to do so as we dominated the first half. Niwa had the first chance but headed into the side-netting from a corner whilst Sato almost got through on goal a minute later but his heavy touch let him down. 5 minutes later, Lins barrelled an effort on goal with his left foot following a corner which Hayashi had to push over. Shortly after, the joke performance of the referee Junpei Iida started as he was giving Sagan free kicks for nothing and not awarding us free kicks in spite of similar fouls.

Sagan’s first chance came from a free kick that should never have been which they duly moved 10 yards back to get good distance from goal but the effort was still sent wide of the post. The next 10 minutes were fairly uneventful and we held onto possession well before Endo turned on the style to split the defence open for Fujiharu but his cross was blocked. Lins was looking bubbly throughout the half but we were unable to break the deadlock before half time.

It was a great half with just rewards for our play. Sagan did not seem like much of a threat but the referee did. Yet would our impotence from the other league games thus far come back and haunt us was the question?

Second Half
Niwa started the half wobbly as he got himself caught on the ball as the last man and managed to sneak it away to the opposition who worked the ball left and just missed the far post with a shot across goal. Iwashita was then booked for handball and the following free kick hit the wall but a stunning double save from Masaaki Higashiguchi five minutes later kept us level. Niwa got caught out by a simple ball from the middle of the park and his marker headed across goal with the goal begging but his low header was well saved by our keeper, pushed onto another Sagan attacker who dived in for the first cross and he saved it again on the line. Terrific goalkeeper!

FutagawaEx-Gamba man Yasuda then forced Higashiguchi into a low save at his near post whilst Myojin was withdrawn for Uchida as Gamba looked lost in the second half – a complete transformation. Higashiguchi got booked for something and then had to pick the ball out of his net as a long ball from the right wing near the half-way line managed to find Toyoda completely unmarked although surrounded by 4 players – Iwashita looked the guilty party as he flailed to get back at him.

Niwa was pulled out for Futagawa as Konno dropped back to defence and Endo to partner Uchida in the middle. We were almost level minutes later as the sub slid a ball through for Lins who drilled across goal but also centimetres past the far post with Sato not quite quick enough to get there. Futagawa gave the ball away, Sagan attacked down their right and cross for Kim to poke in ahead of the covering Oh with Konno nowhere to be seen.

The game was not done though as Konno had a clear header in the 90th minute pushed away superbly by Hayashi in goal – the defender should have done better – whilst Lins went solo and crashed a beautiful efort off the cross bar in what would have been a deserved goal for him and the team.

Gamba Man of the Match
I think Lins was our best player today. He was bubbly and sharp and was always looking for go forward even if that meant going by himself. He had a handful of superb efforts on goal that on another day would have given him a goal or two but right until the end, he was positive. He is starting to grow into this team and the sooner he starts scoring the goals regularly the better. I was really pleased with his performance and never give up attitude in such tough conditions and with another crap referee. I am expecting big things from this man and he will come good soon I am sure.

Table Standing
Gamba slip to 14th in the table after the first month of the league season. But what do people expect, for us to be in the top 4? Yes actually people do which is baffling and annoying, but 14th is probably not where we deserve to be going on performances (I would say at least 3 points more would be about right) but when you cannot score, you must not concede and today we did not do that. It looks like it will be another tough year at this point but the season is on

Photo taken from Gamba Osaka’s Official Site. No copyright infringement intended. Original here.

Match Preview – 29/03/2014 – J1: Match Day 5 – Sagan Tosu v Gamba Osaka

The first and only trip of the season to Kyushu in the league sees Gamba take on Sagan Tosu in the late game, the kick-off time being 19:00 JST at the Best Amenity Stadium. Both sides sit in mid-table in this game following the opening 4 fixtures in the league and this, on paper at least, looks like a really balanced game.

Sagan have a balanced set of results after their opening fixtures, winning their first two and then losing the next two. Their home record is split for a win and a loss, first battering new boys Tokushima Vortis 5-0 but then getting schooled by early leaders Kashima Antlers by a scoreline of 3-0.

Gamba have lost the two meetings between the two sides in the league to date, somehow turning a 2-0 lead after an hour into a 3-2 defeat in the home game at Banpaku, followed by a 4-1 drubbing at the Best Amenity Stadium later on in the season. That home defeat could have been the difference between survival and the actual relegation we got.

There seems to be no new updates on any of the injured guys but at least Usami is getting his fitness back slowly and surely. Okazaki will be getting back later than Usami. There have been no new injuries to report, so all is good on that front.

AWAY v Sagan TosuKenta Hasegawa has been quoted in saying that he would like to use Sato as his main striker with Lins and Endo behind him, as well as Shu Kurata or Hiroyuki Abe. I like the fact that the manager wants to be positive and give the team an attacking boost that we have been missing thus far. My starting eleven would see Shu Kurata drop out for Akihiro Sato to give us a bit more of a constant threat going forward – Shu has also not been at his best yet and Abe has been excellent in the last two games. It is a shame for Kurata but if the manager will go with Sato up front, then I can only see Abe being the third player in-behind the forward. The rest of the team should stay the same.

I will expect us to take at least a point away from Tosu and I would be fairly happy with that. Yet it would do us a world of good to get the balance of the team right sooner rather than later, meaning more goals and more of the same at the back. I think we are more than capable of taking Tosu down with recent signs suggesting that we are slowly but surely getting it right. Lins and Abe will need to shoot a lot more on target than they have been but the use of Sato and Lins, coupled with the energy of Abe and skill of Endo should see us get our fair share of chances. Keeping it tight at the back against Yohei Toyoda and stopping crosses getting into the box will be vital. Iwashita will need to lead as superbly as he has been in recent times.

Match Report – 23/03/2014 – J1: Match Day 4 – Gamba Osaka 1-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

In front of a strong crowd of 18,301, Gamba did not disappoint and were rather marvellous as we attained a draw against current J1 champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Banpaku. To say we will feel disappointed by some diving and poor refereeing that cost us a deserved win is an understatement as we were superb. But we will get onto that later.

There were a few changes from the last league game following some impressive performances in the Nabisco Cup as well as a few returns from injury. In defence, Kaji and Fujiharu returned to the starting eleven after being rested in midweek meaning Yonekura dropped to the bench whilst Oh Jae-Suk dropped from the team. Iwashita returned from a small injury to re-partner Niwa at centre-half, pushing Nishino to the bench. In midfield, Myojin retained his place in centre-midfield meaning Uchida stayed on the bench whilst Kurata took the place of Futagawa. Abe kept his spot on the opposite wing following a good showing against Vissel. This meant that the front two was a never-before-seen pairing of Endo and Lins, the latter taking over from Sato and getting his first league start for Gamba. Kawata and Omori took the final two spots on the bench.

HOME v Sanfrecce HiroshimaFirst Half
The first 20 minutes or so of the game was fairly even although we shaded it on chances created. Sanfrecce were allowed to have the ball in defence but as soon as they got into midfield, we pressed them hard and they did not seem to have much of a threat – like the whole game really. The first decent chance came for Abe after Endo pinged a pass into his path but under pressure, he fired high and wide via a deflection. The resulting corner allowed Sanfrecce to break away following a poor pass Iwashita but we got back in numbers well and Takahagi fired comfortably over the bar.

25 minutes into the game and Endo made it 1-0 to us. Kaji spotted Abe losing his marker (superbly I will add) and he played a ball over the top for the winger to get onto the end of and in the box he squared to the captain who wonderfully curled home at the near post – which seemed near impossible to do. Smart would describe that goal but all three players involved and it was nothing more than we deserved.

The next 15 minutes was a continuation of the sparing match before the goal and we looked comfortable, no doubt thanks to Iwashita getting his head on every cross that came into the box – he was rock solid. Our hard work was shining through and it was very pleasing considering the Sendai performance the weekend before. We could have made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute through Lins following a cross from Konno that hit the defender and came out to the Brazilian but his effort from 6 yards took a decisive deflection that unfortunately took it away from goal. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant first half – 2-0 would not have flattered us at all.

Second Half
After the interval, the game continued at its first half pace with Gamba creating the best opportunities although nothing really threatened the goal of Takuto Hayashi. As I was starting to think that a second goal was going to be crucial, the referee gave a penalty to Sanfrecce and it was a terrible call. The ball came out the air and Ishihara took the ball past Niwa who had raised a foot but not at Ishihara, who opportunistically went past that leg and decided to run into Niwa’s back leg – if at all touching it – and then fallingg over. He convinced the referee and nobody else. Hisato Sato put the resulting terribleness just beyond Higashiguchi’s left hand to unjustly make it 1-1. So angry!

Then the side that people do not see of Sanfrecce came out. Ishihara threw an elbow at Kurata but got Shu booked whilst Notsuda took a dive in the penalty area but this time the referee got it right and booked him. Kaji, Kurata and Myojin were all exchanged for Yonekura, Futagawa and Sato with 15-20 minutes remaining and it was Futagawa who was looking to get the match back in our favour once more. First he sent a teasing cross towards Sato who was just beaten to the cross by his marker denying a certain goal whilst Abe crossed for our number 10 a few minutes later who lost his marker but from 6 yards out was quickly charged down by Hayashi who stopped an inevitable goal. Fujiharu then whipped in a cross which was somehow put over the bar from a couple of yards by a defender whilst Sato picked up his first booking for pulling.

Hiroyuki AbeThe game ended that way and it was a really disappointing result in the end, and not because we had shot ourselves in the foot. We were excellent and I was really proud with the way we played – we defended astutely and were an attacking threat and Sanfrecce will count themselves fortunate to leave with a point. I am very displeased with the manner in which they got that point. Our effort and all-round brilliant performance was ruined by someone who wanted to fool the referee, and he succeeded. However, I would have loved a point before the game so I cannot to be too upset about it but on another day we would have deservedly taken all 3 points. Such a shame, but well done Gamba Osaka! More of the same please!

Gamba Man of the Match
There are a couple of candidates for me. I think the runners-up today were Myojin and Konno. They were our solid foundation to build upon and they seemed to give us a good balance in midfield. Konno in particular was given freedom to go forward when necessary and he got in the tackles and made some good chances. I see Myojin starting ahead of Uchida as long as he keeps up his level of performance. Yet, Hiroyuki Abe stole the show for me. He had a tough 2013 due to injuries but is a talent and a great all-rounder and showed that today. He worked hard in defence and supported Kaji well there but also had confidence going forward, assisting Endo brilliantly for our goal and not being afraid to take a shot – something we have been lacking in recent times. If he continues like this, we will be seeing the Abe we all know is there. It would be nice for him to be more clinical going forward but he was a true asset today. Excellent work by the whole team though, against the best in the land for the past two years!

Table Standing
Despite this excellent point, which should have been 3, we slip down to 11th place in the standings. Although given our tough start I think we are holding our own very well thus far and I would have expected us to be at 5 points after these games so I am not disappointed. We need to just keep plugging away but I can already see at least 4 teams worse than us in the league – so there is no reason to worry, we have done well so far!

Photo taken from Gamba Osaka’s Official Site. No copyright infringement intended. Original here.

Match Preview – 23/03/2014 – J1: Match Day 4 – Gamba Osaka v Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Yet another mouth-watering game at Banpaku awaits us as Sanfrecce Hiroshima visit town for the second J.League away day in a row having already beaten Cerezo Osaka in matchday 1. This game kicks-off at 15:00 JST and is the first Sunday game of the season.

The previous match between the two sides came towards the end of the 2012 season which saw the game finish 1-1. Yasuhito Endo gave us the lead during the second half following some fancy footwork but the defence went wandering and Kazuyuki Morisaki equalised 15 minutes before time. Sanfrecce have picked up a couple of Nabisco Cup wins at Banpaku in the last decade but have not won at Banpaku for over 10 years now.

The teams come into the game in 9th and 7th place respectively, Sanfrecce losing 2-0 in their last game which was against Urawa Reds at home, whilst Gamba tied 0-0 with Vegalta Sendai away from home. With Sanfrecce playing the in ACL, they have won just one of their 3 away games, losing the other two, with that single win as mentioned before against the Pink of Osaka…

HOME v Sanfrecce HiroshimaTakashi Usami had his first run outdoors this week after his injury picked up at the end of February so he will be back in action around mid-April which is brilliant news. Iwashita and Endo should come back into the starting eleven in place of Nishino and Futagawa respectively following slight niggles whilst Omori will probably make the bench. I expect Lins to start up front with Sato following their first goals of the season each against Vissel on Wednesday. Although Myojin was apparently brilliant against Vissel, I would expect Uchida to come back into midfield having being used as a substitute during midweek and Kurata should come back in for Yonekura. Kaji and Fujiharu will be expected to start following their rest from action, the latter missing his first game and minutes since 15th December 2012 when he sat out of a 3-2 Emperor’s Cup win over Machida Zelvia – a deserved rest. Do not doubt the power of our subs though as Yonekura, Abe, Futagawa and Myojin in particular may have their say on the result.

This game is not going to be easy at all and you would feel like a point would  be a point well-earned indeed. However, to make a statement and win our first game at Banpaku in J1 since a 7-2 mauling of Consadole Sapporo in August 2012, a victory would be a good start. A clean sheet would not go amiss either considering our last one in J1 was in a 1-0 over Vegalta Sendai in November 2011. Yeah, that long ago. But this is the team that looks like it will break those ducks sooner rather than later.

Match Report – 19/03/2014 – Nabisco Cup: Match Day 1 – Gamba Osaka 2-0 Vissel Kobe

Despite not being able to watch the game, Gamba did not disappoint today as we apparently eased to a 2-0 win over Kansai rivals Vissel Kobe in front of 8,378 fans who had braved the cold for this midweek match.

Kenta Hasegawa made more changes than I had forecast. Kaji and Fujiharu were rested completely with Hiroshima coming to Banpaku on Saturday so Yonekura and Oh Jae-Suk took their places whilst Iwashita, Endo and Omori all had slight niggles that need not have been risked – Nishino, Abe and Futagawa replaced them. Tatsuya Uchida and Kurata were rested but still on the bench and were replaced by captain for the day Myojin and Lins respectively, the latter picking up his first start in the beautiful blue and black uniform. On the bench came Kim  Jung-Ya, Yuto Uchida, Naoki Ogawa and surprisingly Yosuke Ideguchi who is still a member of the youth set-up but seems to have a bright future ahead of him, particularly having spent some of pre-season with the top team.

HOME v Vissel Kobe (YNC)First Half
Gamba started brightly and had a couple of chances through Futagawa and Lins, but both their efforts were deflected out for corners and it took Vissel 20 minutes or so to get their first decent chances in the game. The first came for Matsumura who was well denied by Yonekura and then Morioka stung the palms of Higashiguchi from 20 yards as his shot swerved in both directions on route to goal.

These couple of attempts made us respond, firstly through Lins who flicked a header backwards from a Futagawa cross but it was a simple catch for Yamamoto in-goal whilst Abe fired well wide of the target from 20 yards as we stole the ball again from the Vissel midfield and springing into the counter attack. There was not much to talk about in the first half really but there were at least signs that we were getting into some sort of a groove and were actually making chances.

Second Half
The second half could not have started any better as Lins opened his account in the 47th minute. An Oh throw in was flicked on by Konno to Lins on the edge of the penalty area and he kept moving across it with the ball whilst being under some considerable pressure by the Kobe defence and whilst falling, he pulled out a spectacular effort with his right foot from 20 yards that curved away from the despairing dive of Yamamoto and into the side-netting to make it 1-0. A superb goal whilst losing his balance – his team-mates mobbed him.

If he thought Sato would be happy for him, he was mistaken as Sato then matched his effort six minutes later. Konno nabbed the ball in midfield and broke forward and passed to Lins whose touch let the ball go but Kitamoto’s clearance/pass came straight to Sato who took his effort first time, curling it around Iwanami and beyond Yamamoto. Lovely finish which will definitely give him confidence having been criticised in the past few games. Delighted for him!

Chances were then wasted to make it 3-0 as Futagawa was played in by Abe but he was denied by Yamamoto from 6 yards whilst the Vissel defence was not helping itself, with a slow back pass cut out by Lins who went round the keeper and thought he had scored, only for Kitamoto to block his effort superbly on the line. Our final decent chance of the game came from Abe who drilled a lovely effort from 25 yards with his left foot by Yamamoto pulled off a good save low to his right.

It looked like we fully deserved the win and should have had more than two goals which is great considering we were poor against Sendai. This game allowed Hasegawa to see what the fringe players had to offer, and boy didn’t they make a statement! And another clean sheet – 3 in a row! Things might not be perfect but they look good nonetheless.

Gamba Osaka 2-0 Team Rocket!

Sato & LinsGamba Man of the Match
Having not watched the game, I can only go on what I have heard about the players from friends and fans alike, as well as Kenta Hasegawa’s post-match comments. So Tomokazu Myojin wins the race to this prestigious prize – having not played any part of our previous 3 games, he was given the captain’s armband and apparently shone with it, being the linchpin in midfield in both defensive and attacking terms. A friend said Myojin’s play meant that he could definitely be used as a main player over Tatsuya Uchida when needed and I do not doubt that one bit but whether he will start against Sanfreece on Sunday is another thing, being 36 years old. However, I am glad he did very well, just like Yonekura, Abe and Lins and am happy competition for places is high.

Table Standing
With Shimizu S-Pulse beating Vegalta Sendai 4-0 and FC Tokyo defeating Kashima Antlers 3-1, Gamba sit in 3rd place in Group A. Sagan Tosu have yet to play a game. Kenta Hasegawa said he aims to win all home games and take a point from each away game to qualify with 12 points from the group stage. A very good start towards that!

Photo taken from Gamba Osaka’s Official Site. No copyright infringement intended. Original here.

Match Preview – 19/03/2014 – Nabisco Cup: Match Day 1 – Gamba Osaka v Vissel Kobe

Gamba’s first group game in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup for seven years`is a Kansai Derby against fellow promoted side Vissel Kobe at Banpaku, kick-off time 19:00 JST. Whilst I will be able to give you a decent preview, I will not be able to watch the match so the match report might be lacking in details.

This game will be the first of the group stages of the league cup that will run until the end of May, with the top two teams qualifying for the quarter-finals along with the ACL participants. 2007 was the last time we started from the group stages but we also won the competition for the only time thanks to a solitary goal from Michihiro Yasuda against Kawasaki Frontale.

HOME v Vissel Kobe (NC)The last meeting between Gamba and Vissel came on the 20th July 2013 at Banpaku and we won that game 3-2, with Usami netting a brace on his return from Germany and Endo netting what was to be the winner. Baré and Shinichi Terda helped Gamba to a 2-2 draw against Vissel the last time we hosted them in the cup.

With Iwashita, Endo and Omori all on different training schedules this week, they will be missing against Vissel. Apart from that, Hasegawa is believed to be sticking with a competitive line-up for this match which makes sense in no small part due to the team needing to gel more in an attacking sense whilst keeping the continuity at the back. I would expect Nishino in for Iwashita, Lins in for Endo and either of Futagawa or Abe or Yonekura for Omori. Kaji could be rested to preserve his ageing legs so maybe Yonekura will slide into defence but it would be nice to see Oh Jae-Suk given a go for once. I do not think there will be as many changes as other teams might go with but you never know with Hiroshima coming on Saturday. My predicted line-up is to the side, which will probably deemed redundant and well off the mark.

So what we really need is to get the attacking style of football going against Vissel, who are also bound to make some changes. Although I cannot watch the game, I want to here some more positivity from fans rather than the negativity we got from last weekend’s result. It would be good to see the players who do get a chance to play to make a statement for their inclusion from the start on Saturday.

And of course it is a derby, so we must win!

NEW STADIUM: Donation Period Closes

After almost 2 years, the period for donations toward the new stadium finished on the 14th March and the results were released today. Gamba fell short of the ¥14 billion target by just a little over ¥1 billion. Almost ¥200 million was donated within the last couples of weeks to bump up the specifications of the stadium.

So what we do know is that the stadium will hold the intended 40,000 spectators in an all-seater stadium, containing such necessaries like toilets and electrical facilities as well as real turf. Additionally, and after much teeth gritting by myself, there will be a roof covering the entirety of the stadium which is great news considering many stadiums lack this in Japan. I myself know of the cost of having no roof at FC Gifu with the torrential downpour destroying my passport.

Current Stadium Design

The things that are not covered by the ¥1 billion shortage are such unnecessary but desirable include a VIP area, solar panels which would power a large amount of the stadium self-sufficiently and two large screens in the ground.

The club have asked for an extension of the deadline to the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau and the result will be found out by the end of the month in order to achieve the full specifications of the ground. Hopefully this will go through and then the club should be able to get the stadium it originally wanted. You can see the current design that we will roughly get to the side.

It is great that the club managed to achieve a very respectable amount of money and design thus far; even if the desired specifications are not met, we are already guaranteed a great stadium.

For more information on these designs and additional features, please check the official site’s own press release (Japanese).

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