VINCI PER OSAKA Gamba Osaka fansite in English Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Osaka to the World: March 22 & 26 Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:32:28 +0000 Domingo Yasuhito Endo and Yasuyuki Konno both played a part in a disappointing pair of results for Japan.

Endo was the only one of the two to feature in both matches as Konno missed out on the 2-1 friendly win over Canada on Friday due to an illness.

Goals from Shinji Okazaki and Mike Havenaar may have given Japan the win in Doha but the performance lacked the usual spirit that Japan fans have come to expect. Canada will have been disappointed to not have won the match, let alone picked up a draw.

Konno returned to the fray today as Japan faced Jordan knowing that a draw would see them qualify for the 2014 World Cup courtesy of Oman holding Australia to a draw earlier in the day.

The first half performance was a step up from the Canada match but a goal from Khalil Bani Ateyah on the stroke of half time gave Japan work to do. Ahmad Ibrahim doubled the lead in the 60th minute to give the Samurai Blue a mountain to climb.

Japan very nearly reached the summit of that mountain in the space of two incredible minutes. Shinji Kagawa first pulled a goal back for his country and then Atsuto Uchida was felled in the box moments later to give Endo the chance to send his country to Brazil.

The set-piece expert had to put up with lasers being unsportingly pointed in his eyes as he prepared to take the kick but still struck a good penalty only to see it turned around the post by an equally good save from Amer Sabbah.

Japan were unable to find the equaliser in the remaining minutes and will now need to wait until their match against Australia on June 4 for another shot at securing their place in the finals. Before that they face Bulgaria in a friendly on May 30.

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Another day, another draw Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:05:57 +0000 Domingo Gamba drew for the fourth time in five matches after failing to see off JEF United Chiba.

Jair made the most of a half-hearted defensive effort to fire his side in front but his strike was later cancelled out by Shu Kurata. Former Gamba man Satoshi Yamaguchi almost won it with the last attack of the match but his header was stopped by a fine save from Yosuke Fujigaya.

The result means that Gamba have now extended their record of home league draws in a row to seven. Their next chance to end that run will be when struggling Tokyo Verdy visit Banpaku on April 7.

Gamba dominated early on but they were guilty of not really testing JEF United goalkeeper Masahiro Okamoto. This is starting to become a theme for 2013.

They were made to pay for their lack of a goal threat in the 18th minute when Jair opened the scoring with the away side’s first attempt on goal.

The Brazilian picked the ball up in midfield and was allowed to run straight through the centre of the Gamba back line, skipping past Keisuke Iwashita before firing a right-footed strike beyond Fujigaya.

The lead didn’t last long as Gamba were level eight minutes later. The JEF United defence blocked two Gamba efforts but failed to clear their lines. The ball fell to Kurata from the second block and he lashed a first time shot past Okamoto.

The match was building up to be a classic but began to lose momentum as the half wore on and by the time the clock had ticked over into the 61st minute goalmouth action had become extinct and the match had descended into a truly drab affair.

Fujigaya tried to ignite something when he passed straight to a JEF United attacker but the resulting shot cannoned back off the crossbar. Substitute Kempes – formerly of Osaka’s other club – turned the rebound in to give his side the lead but the referee rightly chalked the goal off as the striker had used his hand to do so.

Not a lot else happened in the remaining minutes until JEF United won a free kick deep into injury time. The ball was whipped in and Yamaguchi rose highest to head the ball down the centre but he was denied a fairytale ending as Fujigaya pulled off a fine reaction save to tip his shot onto the bar.

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Team News: JEF United Chiba Sun, 24 Mar 2013 05:15:42 +0000 Domingo Kenta Hasegawa makes one change by bringing in Takahiro Futagawa for Akihiro Ienaga.

That means that Yosuke Fujigaya continues in goal with the same back four ahead of him – Akira Kaji, Keisuke Iwashita, Takaharu Nishino and Hiroki Fujiharu.

Tomokazu Myojin and Takuya Takei will marshal the centre of the park again with Hiroyuki Abe and Shu Kurata joining Futagawa as the attacking three behind lone striker Leandro.

This means that Myojin makes his 300th appearance for the club in all competitions, becoming the 9th player to reach this landmark for Gamba. Fujiharu also reaches a landmark as he will make his 50th league appearance for the club.

There is also one change on the bench as Shoki Hirai drops out of the matchday squad and is replaced by rookie Kenya Okazaki. The other seats on the bench will be filled by Atsushi Kimura, Daiki Niwa, Tatsuya Uchida, Paulinho and Shota Kawanishi.

The match kicks off in an hour and 45 minutes from now (16:00 JST, 07:00 GMT). Live updates will be provided on our Twitter as usual. Please join us!

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Preview: JEF United Chiba Sat, 23 Mar 2013 14:11:49 +0000 Domingo Gamba round off a tough week with a home tie against JEF United Chiba.

It will be the first meeting between the clubs since 2009 and Gamba have a good record in this fixture. The two sides are fairly evenly matched in form and will both be looking to secure a crucial win.

Gamba Team News
Gamba are forced to continue without the services of Yasuhito Endo and Yasuyuki Konno as they are both still away with the national team. Takuya Takei and Takaharu Nishino are likely to continue to fill in tomorrow.

There are no fresh injury concerns so Kenta Hasegawa could field the same team if he so wishes but he may opt to freshen things up by bringing Takahiro Futagawa back in or even fielding a proper second striker. Shoki Hirai, Paulinho and Shota Kawanishi have all featured at times this season so it isn’t quite clear who – if anybody – Hasegawa views as his second best striker behind Leandro.

The Form Book
Gamba’s undefeated run stretched into a fourth match with the draw against Roasso Kumamoto but the manner in which the draw came about left a bit of a bad taste. Vissel Kobe’s defeat to Kyoto Sanga meant that the point edged Gamba closer to the top spot but at the same time they missed a great chance to go level on points at the top and instead remained in fifth place. They face another tough opponent tomorrow so another draw is not unlikely.

Last five (pre-season in brackets): (W)DWDD

JEF United Chiba started the season with defeat at home to Consadole Sapporo but have since picked up five points from three matches. They will be disappointed to have only gained draws against Tochigi and Gainare Tottori but, like Gamba, they remain in the mix near the top and the season is still young so it’s not all doom and gloom. A place in the playoffs will remain as their minimum goal.

Last five (pre-season in brackets): (W)LWDD

Last Time Out
JEF United Chiba’s last visit to Banpaku was a dark day in their history. Their fate had been sealed a few weeks earlier so when they arrived in Suita for the final round of the 2009 league season they knew that it would be their last match in the top flight for at least a year. As it turned out they are now in their fourth straight year without top flight football.

That December day was as miserable as the rest of the season for the dogs of Chiba as Yasuhito Endo scored a goal in each half to give Gamba a 2-0 win. In true Yatto style his first came from a free kick – curled around the single man wall along the ground and in at the unprotected near post – and his second came from the spot after Masato Yamazaki had been felled.

Swapping Shirts
Gamba and JEF United Chiba have shared eleven players to date with three of those players still plying their trade in Chiba. The most notable of the three is former Gamba captain Satoshi Yamaguchi. The defender made a total of 450 appearances during his eleven year spell at Gamba – a total only bettered by Takahiro Futagawa and Yasuhito Endo.

Ryota Aoki and Shohei Otsuka are the other two former Gamba men in the JEF United ranks. The former is yet to see any playing time this season but the latter made his first appearance of the season from the bench in midweek and will be looking to play a part again on his return to Banpaku.

Shu Kurata also has experience of both clubs having spent a year on loan in Chiba in 2010. He made 29 appearances for them in J2 and scored 8 goals – his first ever as a professional – but wasn’t able to help them back into the top flight.

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Crunching the Numbers: JEF United Chiba Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:09:44 +0000 Domingo Our stats-based feature returns to preview the visit of JEF United Chiba.

The numbers suggest that this one could be a low-scoring affair and may even be another 0-0.

0 Matches played by Gamba on March 24 to date. The only other days in March that they have never played on are the 2nd and the 9th.

4 Clean sheets in a row for Gamba at home to JEF United Chiba in the league. The last time they conceded in such a match was November 2005 in a 2-1 defeat that almost cost them the league title. Almost.

4 Goals scored by Yasuhito Endo at home against JEF United Chiba. He’s the only current Gamba player to have scored past them at home but he won’t be playing on Sunday.

7 Matches against JEF United Chiba in all competitions without defeat for Gamba. This is the joint most along with a run of 5 wins and 2 draws between October 2001 and July 2003.

20 Meetings between the clubs in the league on Gamba’s home turf. Gamba have won exactly half (10) of those meetings with JEF United victorious on just 6 occasions.

25 Appearances made for Gamba in all competitions against JEF United Chiba by Satoshi Yamaguchi. He’ll be hoping to make his first against Gamba since returning to his former club.

49 Meetings between the clubs in all competitions. The last came in 2009 and was JEF United Chiba’s last match in the top flight.

49 Appearances in the league for Hiroki Fujiharu. If he features again on Sunday then he will become the 59th player to make 50 league appearances for the club.

99 Clean sheets at home in all competitions following the stalemate against Yokohama FC. If Gamba make it 5 in a row at home against JEF United Chiba then they will rack up their 100th.

299 Appearances in a Gamba shirt in all competitions for Tomokazu Myojin. Only 8 players have made more appearances than him in the history of the club so he’s in line to become the 9th to reach 300.

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Gamba pegged back by Roasso Thu, 21 Mar 2013 18:41:50 +0000 Domingo Gamba threw away a two goal lead to draw away to Roasso Kumamoto.

They were ruthless in the first half and strikes from Leandro and Takuya Takei – standing in for Yasuhito Endo – gave them a commanding lead at half time. In the second half they were more toothless than ruthless allowing Daisuke Yano and Hayato Nakama to strike back for the home side and grab them a point.

The home side actually started the brightest at the rain-soaked Kumamoto Athletics Stadium but they were guilty of not making the most of their possession and chances. This allowed Gamba to ease themselves into the match and they soon had the lead.

The opener came from a period of sustained possession around the edge of the Roasso box. The eventual shot from outside the box hit Shu Kurata just inside and the midfielder reacted quickly to spot Leandro rushing in to the left, slipping the ball into his path for the striker to lift it deftly over Yuta Minami in the Roasso goal.

The home side did their best to deny Gamba to get too many more chances but the inevitable second goal finally came in the 38th minute. A seemingly harmless cross from the left was met by Chikara Fujimoto but the midfielder headed it down across the face of the goal straight into the path of Takei and he lashed home first time from just 7 yards out.

Gamba could and probably should have extended their lead before the break but even when they didn’t few could have imagined the way the second half would play out.

Credit to Roasso as they came out and immediately showed their desire to get back into the contest – first hitting the woodwork when Kazuki Saito’s low cross hit Keisuke Iwashita and smashed against the near post.

Less than 10 minutes later they had hit the back of the net. The goal came in a very unusual fashion as Yosuke Fujigaya dived well to deny a powerful header from a corner. He could only push the ball upwards, however, and former Gamba player Yano rushed in to bundle it in.

Or so it seemed at first. The replays showed that Yano got little – if anything – of the ball and it actually fell onto Fujigaya’s chest but he was unable to get a firm grasp on it due to Yano diving over the top of him and it bounced off him and over the line.

The goal added confidence to the Roasso attack and they were level just 5 minutes later – again in rather fortunate circumstances. Nakama struck a shot from 25 yards that was heading miles wide of Fujigaya’s right post but it struck the unfortunate Hiroki Fujiharu on the shin and the deflection sent it across to Fujigaya’s left with the Gamba goalkeeper helpless as he had already committed to covering the right.

The goals may have been fortunate but nobody could argue that Roasso didn’t deserve them as they had matched Gamba in all but finishing up to that point. They pushed for the winner against a shell-shocked opposition but couldn’t muster a third and then had to weather some late pressure to earn their first point at home in 2013.

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Team News: Roasso Kumamoto Wed, 20 Mar 2013 02:03:32 +0000 Domingo Kenta Hasegawa makes four changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Yokohama FC at the weekend.

Two of those changes were forced as Tomokazu Myojin and Takuya Takei replace Yasuhito Endo and Yasuyuki Konno in the heart of the midfield. Akihiro Ienaga also returns from injury to replace Takahiro Futagawa and Akira Kaji also makes his long-awaited return, replacing Daiki Niwa.

Takaharu Nishino continues in defence along with Keisuke Iwashita and Hiroki Fujiharu ahead of Yosuke Fujigaya. The rest of the midfield comprises Shu Kurata and Hiroyuki Abe with Leandro continuing as the lone striker.

Futagawa and Niwa are available from the bench should their services be needed. There is also a seat on the bench with young striker Shota Kawanishi’s name on it. Atsushi Kimura, Tatsuya Uchida, Paulinho and Shoki Hirai are the other options open to Hasegawa – three strikers should be enough if Gamba aren’t comfortably ahead late on!

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Preview: Roasso Kumamoto Tue, 19 Mar 2013 17:55:48 +0000 Domingo Gamba travel to Kumamoto looking to finally kick their campaign into top gear.

They will do so without a couple of key players but against struggling opposition that can’t buy a win at home and boosted by the timely return of a first team regular.

Gamba Team News
Yasuhito Endo and Yasuyuki Konno have departed Osaka to join up with the rest of the Japan squad so this match will give other players a chance to come into the team and prove their worth. Endo’s position is likely to be filled by Takuya Takei as he has filled the role on a number of occasions in the past and is a ready made replacement.

The player to fill Konno’s place in the defence is slightly harder to predict. Daiki Niwa had been the front runner to take over but the inclusion of Takaharu Nishino at the weekend – and the clean sheet kept with him at the back – suggests that he could be in line to reprise the role.

The return of Akira Kaji from injury is a welcome boost too and suggests that Niwa may be released from his obligation to play at right back so Kenta Hasegawa’s choice of replacement for Konno will be interesting to see.

The Form Book
Gamba remain unbeaten this season but they can’t be happy with how they have done so far considering that Vissel Kobe are setting the pace with a 100% record. Gamba already find themselves four points off that pace and need to start upping the ante if they consider themselves to be serious contenders for the J2 title. They have tended to fare better on the road than at home in recent times so this trip to Kumamoto will hopefully be a successful one.

Last five (pre-season in brackets): (WW)DWD

Roasso Kumamoto began 2013 with two home matches against Gainare Tottori and JEF United Chiba but suffered back-to-back defeats in those matches. A 2-1 win away to Matsumoto Yamaga at the weekend saw them finally get off the mark but they probably won’t be relishing a return to the Kumamoto Athletics Stadium. The home fans will want an improvement on the last two efforts but whether or not they can provide that improvement remains to be seen.

Last five (pre-season in brackets): (WW)LLW

Swapping Shirts
A total of eight players have spent time at both clubs in the past but only one of those eight played for Roasso before Gamba – Yoichi Futori. Played is perhaps not the right word as the goalkeeper never actually got onto the pitch during his three years in Suita, which followed a four year spell in Kumamoto that saw him spend a lot more time on the bench than the pitch as well.

At times the club have had up to four former Gamba men on the books but there is currently just one such player in Kumamoto. Daisuke Yano was plucked from high school by Gamba in 2003 but failed to make the grade in J1 and eventually moved to Roasso in 2006 after a spell on loan at Sagan Tosu. He helped the club gain promotion from the JFL to J2 and has gone on to become a regular fixture in the defence. He is now a veteran of the squad as one of only three players remaining from their 2007 promotion campaign.

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Rare goalless draw disappoints Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:47:46 +0000 Domingo 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.

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Team News: Yokohama FC Sun, 17 Mar 2013 05:11:35 +0000 Domingo Takaharu Nishino is handed his league debut as Yasuyuki Konno pushes up into midfield.

Nishino will be partnered by Keisuke Iwashita in the centre of the defence. Daiki Niwa continues at right back despite Akira Kaji returning from injury to take a seat on the bench, while Hiroki Fujiharu continues on the left. Yosuke Fujigaya starts behind the back four as usual.

Tomokazu Myojin drops to the bench so Konno will partner Yasuhito Endo in the heart of the midfield. The remainder of the midfield remains unchanged so Hiroyuki Abe, Takahiro Futagawa and Shu Kurata all start. The other midfield option from the bench will be Takuya Takei.

Leandro returns from the illness that kept him out last week to start as the lone forward, which means that Shoki Hirai is unfortunately dropped to the bench despite bagging a brace against V-Varen Nagasaki. He’ll be sitting alongside fellow striker Paulinho.

The introduction of Nishino is perhaps a tactic to help the youngster settle in with the support of a home crowd with him likely to fill in for Konno in the away trip to Kumamoto in midweek. The switch also has the added benefit of giving Myojin a chance to rest his old legs instead of playing three times in a week.

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