2018/4/8 Gamba Osaka 0-1 Vissel Kobe
Gamba Osaka 0-1 Vissel Kobe
VIssel Kobe went over the near neighbours Gamba Osaka in this J1 battle and came home with all three points, thanks to a late, late (late!) goal from Shuhei Otsuka - is the 95th minute late enough for you?!
Jung Woo-young again started as a centre back alongside Hirofumi Watanabe, and these two were flanked by full backs So Fujitani and Theerathon. Naoyuki Fujita and Hirotaka Mita anchored the midfield, with Lukas Podolski calling the shots from all over the park.
The game saw both teams looking for goals, and Gamba Osaka belying their bottom place - just one point so far this season - with some ball play that tested the visitors. Kim Seung-gyu was forced to save from Yasuhito Endo within the first minute, and then tipped a Shun Nagasawa shot over the bar minutes later.
At the other end Mita saw his shot deflected and on the way in before the 'keeper got down to it, 0-0 at the break.
The second period went much the same way with chances at both ends, and the two goalkeepers keeping the scores level. Yuta Goke almost got the breakthrough minutes after the restart, when he redirected a wayward shot with his heel from close range, but Masaaki Higashiguchi in the home goal was wise to it.
Lukas Podolski then saw a 53rd minute pinpoint free kick saved briliiantly as Vissel started to turn the screw, but minutes later there was drama at the other end as Hwang Ui-jo found space to curl a shot that hit a post with the relieved Kim watching helplessly.
Mita then saw what we all thought was the final chance of the game cleared off the line, as his downward header was desperately poked away by the Fabio on the line, but Vissel were not done and there was time for Otsuki to force a fine save from the 'keeper, on a header from a corner, before he finally won the match for Vissel!
And so, deep into added time, with the referee looking at his watch and the crowd starting to leave, Fujitani raced on to a through ball from Fujita, giving his all as he overlapped and he managed to pull the ball back into the centre of the area where Otsuki shaped his body and slipped the ball past the helpless 'keeper with the inside of his left foot! Game over! 1-0! Three points!
Team - Kim, Fujitani, H.Watanabe, Jung, Teerathon, Fujita, Mita, Goke (Mihara, 65), Podolski, Otsuki, Tanaka (K.Watanabe, 70),
90'+5 Shuhei OTSUKI