2015/7/25 Vissel Kobe 1-2 Gamba Osaka
Vissel Kobe took to the field in their 20th Anniversary black shirts looking for a win to the seal the occasion. The match began well for the home team, Marquinhos firing a cross/shot from the right that evaded everyone in the 5th minute and then Leandro forcing a save from the Gamba keeper in the 10th minute, after his shot was deflected.
But this early pressure did not tell and Vissel went behind to a long distance effort from Gamba captain Yasuhito Endo in the 12th minute.
The home team continued to look for goals and Kazuma Watanabe came close with a near post header from a corner in the 17th minute.
Vissel manager Nelsinho was forced into reconsidering his formation when Takahito Soma was sent off midway through the first half - a straight red card from the impulsive referee on a tackle that may have seemed violent, but replays seemed to show Soma trying to pull out of the challenge after mis-timing, and/or stumbling?
Despite the loss of Soma, Vissel pushed for the equaliser and were rewarded on the final kick of the half, Takahiro Masukawa volleying home Watanabe's header back across the goal after a deep corner from Jung Woo-Young. 1-1 at half time, all to play for!
Michihiro Yasuda had come on as left back in place of Shohei Takahashi, as Vissel juggled their formation after the loss of Soma, but it was Gamba who came out attacking in the second period and, after Kaito Yamamoto had done enough to keep out the marauding away team for 20 minutes, Takashi Usami beat the Vissel custodian in the 77th minute to give the points to Gamba.
Masatoshi MIhara raised the home fans' hopes momentarily as he came close to grabbing a dramatic last gasp equaliser but Vissel's ten men went down valiantly and 2nd Stage hopes took a blow but the team will be looking to halt Sanfrecce's momentum on Wednesday night in Kobe, and pull closer to the top of the division! Be there!
Team - Yamamoto, Iwanami, Masukawa, Sho.Takahashi (Yasuda, 41), Shu.Takahashi, Soma, Jung, Morioka, Marquhinos (Mihara, 57), Watanabe, Leandro (Ishizu, 80)
45+3' Takahiro MASUKAWA