J.League Match Preview: Gamba look to resume title push against F·Marinos

J.League Match Preview: Gamba look to resume title push against F·Marinos

Gamba Osaka’s nine-match unbeaten streak is over, but they are still right in the thick of the title race and they’ll look to continue their push for the crown on Saturday at 19:00 JST when they take on Yokohama F·Marinos live on JLeague.co and broadcasters around the world.

Gamba fell to first place FC Machida Zelvia last week, 3-1. They took an early lead but were undone after a 33rd-minute red card to Riku Handa turned the match upside down.

Despite the loss, the Black and Blue aren't too bruised; with just five points separating them from the top of the table, their first J1 crown since 2014 is still very much in play.

This week's visitors know about what it takes to compete for the title, having finished first or second in each of the last three years. Unfortunately, this season hasn’t gone quite as well for F·Marinos, with the Tricolor struggling defensively and sitting in the bottom half of the table.

Still, there are some signs of this team's brilliance. Striker Anderson Lopes is as good as ever, with 12 goals on the season to rank second in the league, and he leads an attack that is fifth in J1 in goals. When the Tricolor get going forward, they are a legitimate danger and it gives them hope that they can start resembling the powerhouse we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Yokohama if they can sort out their problems at the back.

Gamba don’t have those problems, having conceded the second-fewest goals in the league. It’s a back line that has keyed their rise up the table and Takashi Usami has given them just enough up front to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in J1.

Will Gamba get back to their winning ways and resume their title push? Or will F·Marinos look like the team of years past to knock out a title contender?

Find out live on JLeague.co!