Gifu 0 – 2 Avispa
By the end of the day Avispa would officially be promoted to J1 after JEF failed to take all 3 points against a resurgent Thespa team, but the work had been done at lunchtime where in contrast to a JEF squad who wilted under the pressure, the boys from Fukuoka travelled to Gifu and completed the task set for them.
Knowing that a win against Gifu would leave them just needing 1 more win to get guaranteed promotion they started at the same fast pace they had ended the game against Tokyo with on Saturday. With Genki returned to the team he was looking to show what they had been missing and nearly opened the scoring after 5 minutes.
A great run through midfield by Kudo set the ball up for Jogo, who in turn fed Genki entering the box from the left wing. A classic Genki placed shot beat couldn’t have come closer to scoring, hitting the inside of the post.
Encouraged by this Avispa continued to attack, with Genki getting the goal which he had earlier threatened. A cross from a corner was aimed at Nakamachi (how long before teams wise up to this) to fire a first time shot at goal. Saved by the keeper, Genki was quickest to react, as he has been many times in similar situations all season, to squeeze the ball into goal and give Avispa a 9th minute lead.
Having got the lead Avispa slowed the pace and held the ball limiting Gifu’s chances to equalise, but not really threatening to add to their lead. If you look at games where Avispa have taken the lead and then gone on to win this season they are the best in the league, and when they pull possession in games like this it is easy to see why.
Going into the 2nd half Hideya came on for Kudo to show his versatility in his 3rd different position in 3 weeks, and acquitted himself well from the right wing as he had from the left on Saturday.
The game started to get a little tetchy with Avispa players starting to get booked for unnecessary challenges despite being in the elad and not needing to turn the game into a battle. As with the Tochigi game it looked like it could give Gifu a way back into the game and Kamiyama needed to be alert to make a couple of good saves.
Genki was still looking like the liveliest player on the pitch and nearly doubled the score with a long range strike from the edge of the area while pressured by a couple of defenders, and then improvised to hit the bar after the ball lobbed over the keeper from his knee having been crossed into the area by Hideya.
Predictably it was Genki who finally did double the score, although as with the first goal it was only from 1m out after an initial shot from Nakamachi. Having allowed the ball to bounce in the box the Gifu goalkeeper was then beaten to the ball by Nakamachi who brought the ball under control and hit it past the keeper on the turn. It may have been heading in without any help but Genki rushed in to complete his brace and the win for Avispa.
It looked likely that they could complete the job of promotion, but were saved the pressure of needing to try to do it against Consadole by JEF’s submission later in the afternoon.