【English Report】FC Gifu vs Zweigen Kanazawa by Stuart Smith
FC Gifu played the first Hakusan Derby of the year last Sunday, and despite a stirring comeback from 0-2 down, ultimately visitors Zweigen Kanazawa took the three points, by Stuart Smith.
FC Gifu starting XI: Sievers, Yanagisawa, Abe, Kai, Aizu, Nakashima, Mishima, Kazama, Aihara, De Vries, Ishikawa.
Zweigen took the lead after just 12 minutes when Ryuhei Oishi’s dangerous ball into the area was deflected in to the net, going in off the post. Kanazawa continued to press forward and had chances; Komatsu’s header hit the post and Sugiura as came close. For Gifu, it was Shohei Aihara who was the main threat, having a couple of long-range shots that went wide but as with last week’s FC Ryukyu game, the visitors were the stronger team in the first half.
In the second half, it was a much more even affair, although it was Kanazawa who added to their lead in the 53rd minute, when Oishi scored from just inside the penalty area. Gifu’s response was to bring on forward Ryoichi Maeda, and the former FC Tokyo player’s impact was instant. With his first touch of the ball, he planted a header into the bottom corner – from a fantastic Shohei Aihara cross – to give Gifu hope. As with last week, both Yuya Yamagishi and Yushi Nagashima came on to try and spark Gifu’s comeback and they both played their part in Gifu putting pressure on Zweigen, and the reward came in the 81st minute, when Maeda scored his second of the game.
A corner from Aihara was cleared only as far as Yamagishi, whose shot was headed into the path of Maeda by full back Ko Yanagisawa, and Maeda’s header beat Kanazawa ‘keeper Shirai to bring Gifu level. Gifu sensed something more, but it was the visitors that struck with a sucker punch, Shohei Kiyohara’s cross turned into his own goal by a Gifu defender.
There was still five minutes plus additional time for Gifu to strive for another equalizer, but time ran out, and Zweigen went back to Kanazawa with all three points.
After the game, coach Takeshi Oki said: “This was a see-saw kind of game. I felt the first half was similar to the previous game (against FC Ryukyu) and we just need to find a way to play better in the first half. We found it difficult to move the ball, and when we did get it down it wasn’t easy to get the ball into the dangerous areas where we can attack. We’ve got to work on that part of our game.”
Defender Yuki Aizu said: “While it was good that we came back from two goals down, to lose a game when you score two goals is a painful thing to be a part of. We can’t keep giving teams the lead. As a team, we need to think about how we play the full 90 minutes.”
Goalscorer Ryoichi Maeda told reporters: “When we got it back to 2-2, the atmosphere lifted and it was felt that we could go on and win the game. I feel that if we were a bit more balanced and a bit cooler, we might have been able to do that (instead of conceding).
Gifu’s next game comes on Sunday, when we travel to Chiba to take on JEF United Chiba.