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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Gamba Ease Past Sanga in Kansai Derby

Alan's take on the Kansai Derby between Gamba and Sanga, at Banpaku on the 8th.

20,394 fans came out to fill most of the seats in Banpaku for this Kansai Derby game, with Gamba looking to a maximum three points and some goals to help them in the final run-up for the top sport, or at least an ACL spot. And, after a disappointing draw against Yokohama F Marinos in their last J.League game, this was just what the doctor ordered for the Gamba faithful.

Yasuda got his first start in a while at left back, after Nakazawa injured an ankle in training. Recent left back Takagi moved to partner Yamaguchi in the center to make room for Yasuda. Gamba started, as always, with their patient possession, but Kyoto pressured them into some early mis-placed passes and also tried to hit Gamba on the swift counter-attack. One such event occurred in the 7th minute, when a quick ball out found Yanagisawa and Diego with space to exchange passes, but Fujigaya saved from Yanagisawa. Lucas tested the Kyoto keeper at the other end a minute alter, his shot from distance proving to hot to handle but the keeper scooped it up at the 2nd attempt.

In the 16th minute Fujigaya made a smart reflex save from Sato but this was as good as it got for Kyot, until a final minute goal from Yanagisawa, but we're getting ahead of ourselves now!

Gamba continued with the possession and passing that is their trademark, but Sidiclei, in fine form was dropping deep and bolstering the defence and Kyoto survived by putting men behind the ball until a breakthrough came in the 35th minute. Lcas threaded a superb ball through to Pedro Junior, who turned and twisted Nakatani at last man before blasting past the keeper for the opening goal. Nakatani went down as he tried to turn and keep up with the Gamba forward, and played no further part in the game.

In the 38th minute, Yasuda, who had been up and down the left with enthusiasm, if not effect, cut inside and got off a shot that was saved, the ricochet flying high and Yasuda attempting a bicycle kick on the 2nd attempt, which succeeded only in setting the ball up for Lucas who slid the ball just wide of the post. So Gamba went in at the break one goal to the good, but looking for more.

In the 58th minute, Sidiclei, who had been faultless up to this point, was robbed in midfield by Lucas, the Brazilian then split three defenders with a precision pass to allow Pedro Junior to chalk up his 2nd goal of the game with a blast past the keeper from 15 yards or so. And so the floodgates opened, Endo was by now finding his rhythm in a big way and his passes were opening up space all over the park.

A minute after the goal, Sidiclei, either tiring, or still upset from his mistake - or both - earned himself a yellow card for a desperate push, the free kick from Endo coming close to adding to the score, but it was not long before Endo did influence the scoreline as the Japanese national team midfielder pounced on a loose ball in the midfield, advanced, drew a couple of defenders towards him and slipped the ball to Hashimoto on his right, who made no mistake in drilling past the keeper. 3-0 and looking good for Gamba Osaka.

And it wasn't long before Gamba made it four to the good, Endo and Lucas exchanging smooth passes before the Brazilian almost nonchalantly side-footing the ball through a gap in the defence from 18 yards out and inside the post with the keeper beaten. Perfect placement, precision passing, 4-0! And there was still time for Lucas to hit the bar from a Shimohira (on for Yasuda in the 80th minute) cross, although it was Kyoto who added to the scoreline as Yanagaisawa took advantage of a wicked bobble off Myojin as a corner came over, blasting the inviting bouncing ball into the net to make the final score Gamba Osaka 4-1 Kyoto Sanga.

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