【English Report】FC Gifu vs FC Machida Zelvia by Stuart Smith
FC Gifu welcomed FC Machida Zelvia to the Nagaragawa Memorial Center on Sunday night, but it was the visitors who left with all three points, by Stuart Smith
FC Gifu starting XI: Victor, Fujitani, Abe, Kai, Yanagisawa, Mishima, Nagashima, Ichimaru, Aihara, Yamagishi, De Vries
This starting lineup meant that Spanish goalkeeper Victor came in to replace Jan-Ole Sievers and it also meant a full debut for Takumi Fujitani as part of a three man central defence.
The visitors started on the front foot and Victor had to be alert on more than one occasion before Machida took the lead from the penalty spot through Cayman Togashi.
Gifu tried to get a foothold in the game and came close when De Vries went through on goal, but Machida ‘keeper Masuda forced the New Zealander wise and the chance went. Gifu tried pressing more as the half came to a close, but were dealt a hammer blow right on the stroke of half time when Romero Franck weaved his way through the Gifu penalty area and poked the ball underneath Victor to give the visitors a two goal lead.
Yuto Ono came on at the start of the second half for Gifu and his energy gave the team a bit of a lift but despite getting into some good positions down the flanks, clear chances were hard to come by.
Gifu did manage to pull one goal back in additional time when birthday boy Shohei Aihara pounced on a loose ball in the area but, despite some desperate pressure, they couldn’t find that second goal, and Machida left Gifu with the three points.
After the game, Gifu manager Takeshi Oki said: “We kept going until the end, but it was the first half that was bad for us. In the second half we seemed to put in more effort and the players gave it everything. I thought the three centre backs fought well, but I’ll have to review the video, especially for their second goal.”
Shohei Aihara told reporters: “It the first time to score a goal on my birthday but actually, because the team lost, it is kind of a hollow memory for me. I had to do a lot more defending playing as a wing back, so that is something I need to work on. As for the game, it will always be difficult when you are down at half time because it becomes a challenge to break down the opponents. We need to fix this issue.”
After his full debut, Takumi Fujitani said: “In the first half, we found it difficult to find our rhythm and so the game was played at Machida’s pace. In the second half, I felt if we (defenders) could have been more proactive in our passing, we could have taken the game to them a bit more. I think if we keep the ball for a bit longer, we can create better spaces to work in. I tried to show my strengths today, but ultimately the team lost. I’d like to use my strengths to help the team win games – that is my objective.”
FC Gifu travel east next weekend, when they take on Kashiwa Reysol.