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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Grampus Bounce Back to Beat Gamba

A much improved performance from Ngaoya sees them play their best game for several weeks. Despite the absence of our two established central defenders, the back line, ably lead by Takeuchi, looked surprisingly confident and assured. Masaya Sato is certainly good enough to use as a stand-in central defender, and both his and Takeuchi's side back experience means that they are quicker to move the ball upfield or down the wings.

The 4-3-3 formation employed, with Ogawa playing a more defensive role, also saw the team create many more chances than they have of late. It also Nakamura play a much better and more positive game. Although he faded a bit as an influence in the second half, it looks like this formation may well serve the team better than a more rigid 4-4-2 formation.

The first half was a fairly even affair, with both teams creating several chances. Apart from Leandro's goal after eight minutes, where Takeuchi hesitated to challenge Futagawa in the build-up, which allowed him to release Leandro through the middle, both he and Sato coped well with Gamba's probing. Although Masaya was caught out by Leandro's quickly taken strike, he read the the game well and made some timely interceptions later in the game. At the other end, Davi and Tamada both tested the Gamba defense with their ability to run at defenders. And in Magnum they found a reliable source of supply of passes, although the Brazilian still looks a bit off the pace he is getting back to full fitness and form.

The second half followed a similar pattern, apart from 10-minute spell early in the half when Gamba looked set to gain the ascendency. During this period Leandro saw a glancing header slip wide, when he should have hit the target. Fortunately, Grampus got back into the game shortly after this and Matsuyo was forced to make a fine save from a Magnum shot, which he turned onto a post. Tamada also had a great chance late in the game, bursting though after a neat flick by Magnum near the edge of the box. Grampus won the game in dramatic fashion, when Maki was presented with ball, after a wayward pass by Matsuyo, and gratefully slotted home from a tight angle.

The win sees them rise to 9th, and gives the manager a bit more breathing room to blood some more of our youngsters. Sato has proved conclusively that he has what it takes to succeed, and should set an inspiring example to some of the other youngsters struggling to break into the top team. He certainly looked an adequate replacement for the missing Bajalica, and offers the team some flexibility since both he and Takeuchi can operate as either s side back or in a more central role. All in all, it was good day to be Grampus fan, after a turbulent few days.

Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Akira Takeuchi, Masaya Sato, Shohei Abe
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Naoshi Nakamura Kei Yamaguchi (Keiji Yoshimura 78),
Magnum (Keita Sugimoto 85), Keiji Tamada (Yuki Maki 90), Davi
Scorers: Davi 45+1, Maki 90+2

Gamba Osaka
Naoki Matsuyo
Akira Kaji, Sota Nakazawa, Satoshi Yamaguchi, Takumi Shimohira
Tomokazu Myojin (Ryuji Bando 75), Yasuhito Endo
Takahiro Futagawa (Takashi Usami 85), Hideo Hashimoto, Hayato Sasaki (Lucas 71)
Scorer: Leandro 8

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