【English Report】FC Gifu vs Omiya Ardija by Stuart Smith
On a hot and sweaty night in Gifu, FC Gifu kept their first clean sheet since March, but couldn’t find a goal themselves as they drew 0-0 with promotion chasing Omiya Ardija, by Stuart Smith.
FC Gifu starting XI (back row, from left): Kai, Tsukagawa, Fujitani, De Vries, Sievers, Junior Barros; (front row, from left): Baba, Yanagisawa, Ichimaru, Kawanishi, Takeda (c)
Junior Barros and Kenji Baba, on loan from Ventforet Kofu and Oita Trinita respectively, made their debuts for the club, while Kou Yanagisawa came back into the starting lineup as a replacement for the suspended Masanori Abe.
The first half was a very even affair with both teams having chances. Genki Omae and Akimi Barada with the best ones for Omiya, Junior Barros looked the most threatening for Gifu. In the second half it was Gifu that made more of the running, but despite chances for Ryan De Vries, Yanagisawa and Baba, Gifu just couldn’t finish off one of their chances and eventually had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Post game, manager Makoto Kitano said: “A big thank you to the supporters. In the last five minutes we really went for the winner because we wanted to give our fans a victory, but unfortunately we couldn’t find it. We made some tactical changes during the game, putting two men up front because we wanted to be in a position where we had strikers in goalscoring positions more often. We have to be satisfied with the clean sheet we got today, and we have to prepare for the next game.”
Afterwards, captain Tadashi Takeda said: “It was our first clean sheet since the Kagoshima United game (in March) so we have to be happy with it. We realize that we have to more clean sheets if we are to win more games and climb the table. It was a difficult game full of personal battles, but I think we were strong.”
Debutant Kenji Baba said: “It has been around three months since I played a full game, so of course I felt a bit tired out there. There were times when I just couldn’t run – it can’t be helped I suppose. However, even at my age of 34, I still felt the enthusiasm and joy of actually being out on the pitch and playing. I plan on being a full part of this team and helping them move forward.”