With Japan national team midfielder Hotaru Yamaguchi and South Korea goalkeeper Kim Jim-hyeon both on international duty Kazuya Yamamura started for the first time in three league games as a holding midfielder, while Kenta Tanno, who had come on for Kim after he suffered a knock in the previous game against Kamatamare Sanuki, was in the starting XI in the league for just the second time in his career. Meanwhile, Keiji Tamada returned up front for the first time in two games and Hiroyuki Takeda was on the bench for his first involvement with the top team.
Despite the rainy weather forecast the game was played under the a blue sky and in a temperature of 32.7℃, although there was a fairly strong wind which Cerezo struggled playing into early on. However, they were able to break the deadlock in the 19th minute, when Yamamura headed home a cross from Kenyu Sugimoto. One of the game’s key players produced a result early on to enable his team to take the initiative.
Cerezo tried to increase their threat after the first goal, but just as in the previous game against Shimizu S-Pulse they weren’t able to shift up through the gears easily. The second goal did finally come just before half time, however, as Sugimoto converted with his head after a Maruhashi free kick from the left. That took the captain to 12 goals for the season and broke the tension in the stadium heading into the interval.
Cerezo’s players braced themselves again during half time and attacked Gifu right from the start of the second half, which soon led to the third goal of the game. Maruhashi was again in involved and broke down the left hand side with a one-two before crossing into the area, where Tamada was waiting to convert yet another header from close range.
At 3-0 it looked like game over, but Cerezo dropped their guard and in the 68th minute Gifu’s Naoya Okane headed home a corner from substitute Junichi Paulo Tanaka. Then, just one minute later, Leo Mineiro stole the ball from in front of keeper Tanno and scored another. Gifu had narrowed the lead to just one goal.
That produced a negative atmosphere which began to spread around the stadium, and Cerezo sent on Noriyuki Sakemoto in order to try and regain the momentum. He showed good penetration and led the team forward, while the other substitutes Ricardo Santos and Ryuji Sawakami also did well to hold the ball up in the opponent’s half. In the end Cerezo manage to keep hold of the 3-2 lead take the three points. On the same day 2nd-placed Matsumoto Yamaga FC (68 points) drew with Fagiano Okayama, meaning the gap between them and Cerezo was shortened to just two points.
J2 League Section 35 FC Gifu 3 - 2 J2 League Section 35