2009-10-17 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-2 Gamba Osaka
Posted by stefanole on 2009/10/27
It was a tale of two halves at the Big Arch, as Sanfrrecce squandered a two-goal lead to draw with Gamba Osaka 2-2.
The result means that Sanfrecce have failed to win in their last four matches, a run which makes their hopes of an ACL place look increasingly unrealistic.
Sanfrecce’s defensive woes increased further, with Moriwaki’s suspension and Stoyanov’s continued absence meaning that Makino was the only regular defender in the lineup. He was joined by midfielder Nakajima and rookie Yokotake in an improvised backline that, unsurprisingly, conceded goals.
Despite this, Sanfrecce started the brightest and looked like they had they measure of the visitors. A first half of ever-increasing pressure from the home team culminated in yet another well-weighted and delivered ball from winger Mihael MIKIC. His floated cross was met by the head of AOYAMA Toshihiro, who looped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
MAKINO Tomoaki scored Sanfrecce’s second just before half time. Kashiwagi’s crossfield ball was well-controlled by Hattori, and Takahagi laid off Makino to score a goal almost identical to the one he scored against Urawa.
There were some very good signs in the first half, that Sanfrecce might have finally gotten over the malaise which has seen them slide slowly into mid-table. The half-time whistle was very unwelcome, as I was fearful that Gamba would be given the chance to reorganise and mount a more serious challenge in the second half. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened, and Sanfrecce played right into the opposition’s hands.
The first Gamba goal was, frankly, pretty embarrassing. Gamba attempted to walk the ball into our net, in a style reminicent of Arsenal at their worst. The intercepted ball was fumbled by Nakabayashi however, and it found its way out for Hashimoto to fire through roughly five defenders plus Nakabayashi.
The next was an equally embarrassing goal to concede, if not more so. A through-pass was intercepted by Mikic, but instead of getting the ball clear, he passed it straight to Endo. Three defenders stood and watched as Endo picked out a pass to Sasaki, who found himself free on goal as Hattori totally misjudged the flight of the ball.
Gamba could have gone on to win the game, as Nakajima repeated the trick he pulled against Yokohama and headed a goal-bound shot off the line. Takagi also had a header from an Endo free kick hit the post. But Gamba’s best opportunity to close the game out fell to Bando, who was played through one-on-one with Nakabayashi. Instead of shooting at goal though, he decided he would try to fall over the keeper and get a penalty (and he was probably hoping for a red card too). That plan was foiled though as Nakabayashi got a glove on the ball before Bando could fall over him. I’m sure observant Gamba fans must be wondering why Bando’s confidence is so low that he preferred to run into Nakabayashi rather than just shoot at goal.
Sanfrecce appeared to be hoping that the period of Gamba pressure would just be a phase, but as the constant pressure stretched beyond the twenty minute mark it became increasingly obvious that Gamba were going to come away with at least a point from the match. Kashiwagi did not turn up at all in the second half, and was substituted out.
A defeat in this match would probably have seen myself and my fellow supporters give up on the idea of sneaking into an ACL place. As it was, the result was merely a stay of execution.
22,180 (Previous average 15,142*, J-League average 19,278**)
AOYAMA 42′ (1-0)
MAKINO 45′ (2-0)
Hashimoto 64′ (2-1)
Sasaki 73′ (2-2)
MORITA (YOKOTAKE 67′)
TAKAYANAGI (KASHIWAGI 77′)
OKAMOTO (KAZU 90′)
KAZU (YC, 70′)
STOYANOV still MIA.
*Average home attendance for Sanfrecce for total of preceding games in J1 in 2009.
**Average attendance for J1 in the 2008 season.