Yokohama FC held Gamba to their first goalless draw at Banpaku in three years.
Gamba played well but looked sluggish in the final third and were guilty of not doing anywhere near enough to threaten the Yokohama goal. This was a sharp contrast to last week when they bombarded the V-Varen Nagasaki goal.
Shoki Hirai had arguably Gamba’s best chance with the final attack of the match but failed to connect to Hiroyuki Abe’s tantalising cross to round off a rare off day for the Gamba attack.
Kenta Hasegawa changed a winning side by bringing young centre back Takaharu Nishino in for his league debut, dropping Tomokazu Myojin to the bench and switching Yasuyuki Konno into midfield. He also – perhaps harshly – dropped Hirai to the bench in order to bring Leandro back into the team.
Gamba had started the match as the brighter of the two sides and they threatened to score the opening goal the most in the first half. Konno went closest with a half volley from 30 yards, which curved goalwards but was thwarted low down by Yokohama goalkeeper Takahiro Shibasaki.
Abe, Shu Kurata and Leandro all saw good chances go begging for Gamba with a tame effort from former Gamba man Shinichi Terada the best that the visitors had mustered. The teams returned to the dressing rooms with no breakthrough in sight.
The second half was much of the same with a bit of Yokohama pressure towards the middle. Gamba weathered the mini storm and both sides then seemed to get more content with the scoreline as the match progressed despite Hasegawa introducing Paulinho and Hirai.
The referee seemed intent to prolong the contest for as long as possible when he chose to add an inexplicable five minutes on and Gamba almost used the time to steal the three points when Abe broke forward and put the ball across the face of the goal. Hirai was closest to it but his boot made no contact and that was that.
The result meant that Gamba had kept their first clean sheet at home since late 2011 but didn’t have a lot to celebrate as they also recorded their first home stalemate since the clash with Albirex Niigata in March 2010. The draw – Gamba’s sixth in a row in home league matches – leaves them four points adrift of league leaders Vissel Kobe.
|1. Yosuke Fujigaya|
|4. Hiroki Fujiharu|
|5. Daiki Niwa|
|6. Shu Kurata|
|7. Yasuhito Endo|
|8. Keisuke Iwashita|
|13. Hiroyuki Abe|
|15. Yasuyuki Konno|
|26. Takaharu Nishino|