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Sunday, 25 October 2009

Gamba Send Peter to Sleep

Peter emerges from a Gamba induced slumber to give us his verdict on the recent game against the Marinos.

After Gamba’s many fine performances recently and the cracking thriller in the 2-2 draw away at Hiroshima the previous week, this game was a dud. However, since this Marinos game Gamba have redeemed themselves a bit with a 6-1 disposal of Fukuoka University in the Cup.

The game against Sanfrecce Hiroshima had been played at a blistering pace, especially in the first half, and I did make a reference in my match report that possibly in the 2nd half Sanfrecce’s Mihael Mikic had felt that pace. Bearing in mind that Sanfrecce went down 0-7 to Kawasaki Frontale in the same round of matches as this game, then it at least has to be considered that the almost frantic Sanfrecce-Gamba clash took its toll on the energy of both teams. In the absence of any other good reason for Gamba’s lack of energy in this match, I am going to put it down to their splendid 2nd-half fightback the previous week having taken more out of the team than we realised. Whatever, there was certainly nothing splendid about this performance against the Marinos.
The game was characterised by a lot of long balls and, especially for the Marinos, a fair number of long shots. There were, however, a few incidents in the 1st-half.

In the 2nd minute, Pedro Junior did well to make just enough room for himself on the edge of the penalty area to get away a clear shot, but he could only blaze it way over the bar.

In the 5th minute Fujigaya only just managed to pip a couple of Marinos players to a through ball.

In the 17th minute, Gamba scored but the game had been blown up for an offside earlier in the play. (A very close, but probably correct decision.)

In the 20th minute, after Pedro Junior had, with a bit of a lucky rebound, managed to get past the Marinos’ goalie, with the goal gaping he hit the side netting from a very narrow angle.
In the 35th minute, from a free-kick just outside the Marinos’ penalty area, Endo hit the wall.

The game was pretty uniform in both halves--again in stark contrast to the exciting 2nd-half performances of Gamba in their previous two games. At half-time most Gamba fans were pretty relaxed about the 2nd-half despite the dreary 1st-half, but this proved to be a false confidence. The 2nd-half was no improvement on the 1st--this despite Endo playing higher up the pitch.

In the 57th minute, Myojin made a good interception midway in his own half, and followed it up with a beautiful long through ball down the left channel to Lucas, who dummied his man on the corner of the penalty box and tried a goodish curling shot that was just wide of the far post.
In the 64th minute, Fujigaya had to come out of the penalty box to boot the ball into the stands as the Marinos threatened a one on one.
In the 69th minute, Daisuke Sakata, after good link play by he Marinos turned well and got away a sharp shot just wide of Fujigaya’s left post.
Match stats: Shots Gamba 8, Marinos 10 (but several quite long); GKs Gamba 10, Marinos 11; Corners Gamba 3, Marinos 6; Free-kicks Gamba 18, Marinos 28; Possession Gamba 49%, Marinos 51%.

These statistics confirm the impression of the spectator that this was a very even and uneventful game. Were there any positives? Well, both goalies played sound games (with accurate kicking), although neither was called into spectacular action. And, I suppose, as the Marinos were the away team and the match seemed a must-winner for Gamba, the game has to be considered a tactical success for departing Marinos manager Kokichi Kimura.

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