The biggest game of the season so far sees Gamba travel south to take on cross-city rivals Cerezo “The Pigs” Osaka in what promises to be an explosive and fascinating game at the Nagai Stadium, the game kicking-off at 14:00 JST. Both teams will be looking for the win that can move them to respective better places in the league.
The furore that followed Diego Forlan to the bad side of Osaka has seen the side stick themselves near the top of the table, winning 3, drawing 1 and losing 2 – interestingly, being able to score in just one home game so far, like Gamba. They lost their last outing to Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 with former Gamba man Leandro netting the decisive goal between the sides. The team seem to be finding ACL commitments hard to juggle.
The last game between these two rivals came in the Emperor’s Cup in 2012 where we went to the final after being Cerezo 2-1 along the way, with team-hopper Akihiro Ienaga giving us a deserved win in extra-time after Endo’s early goal was cancelled out by Kakitani. In the league in 2012, Cerezo won the first match 2-1 thanks to a 90th minute winner and then squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with an Akihiro Sato double in terrific rain dragging us back from the brink.
Kenya Okazaki scored twice on Monday in a training match against Kwansei Gakuin University and could be set for a place on the bench in what will be his first experience of the Osaka Derby if he makes it onto the field. Takashi Usami has started physical training and will be back before we know it which is of course great news. Koki Yonekura is the only other absentee and probably will not feature until after the World Cup break.
One of the biggest rumours this week has been Takaharu Nishino getting his first league start of the season and in J1 in place of Daiki Niwa, the man who has been substituted in the last two games in order to throw more attacking players on. He has been somewhat poor in the last few games but nothing in comparison to Iwashita, but we all know that he is a solid starter whilst Hasegawa is at the helm. I would be very happy to see Nishino start. Our biggest probably has been in the attacking midfield area, where many of the guys have been well off form and off pace in the early stages of the season – Kurata, Futagawa, Abe, Omori, Lins and Sato have all had too many downs and too few ups. Hasegawa will have to pick 4 from them and stick with them. Many fans want to see Lins play as the lone striker and that might just happen with Sato really rusty, which is a shame but we need everyone at 100% for this game.
Osaka is Blue and Black. Always has been and always will be. But more importantly, this game will give us either confidence or fear depending on the result. A win would really raise the morale in the squad and would hopefully get us back on track after a decent start in the league and cup. We cannot afford to lose this game with a winnable game against Omiya Ardija coming up. We have to brave, courageous and determined against this 5th place team. We have to take our chances and finally score a goal otherwise Cerezo will destroy us.
俺達が大阪さ 青と黒 俺等だけ