A season opener away, facing the defending champions was a tough fixture for Gamba Osaka; however, they dealt very well with Yokohama F.Marinos and managed to snatch a 2-1 victory.
“We thought about how to beat F.Marinos both in defensive and offensive phases. I don’t need to go into details, I think we showed it during the game.”
As manager Tsunayasu Miyamto said in his post-match comments, Gamba’s plan worked out smoothly.
Shu Kurata’s first goal in the 6th minute came from an opponents’ mistake which was a result of Gamba’s high pressing. Shinya Yajima’s second goal in the 34th minute was created by beating Yokohama’s high line through a long pass and sprint from the midfield.
They were both good examples of how to overcome Yokohama. Miyamoto’s smart planning and the players’ excellent execution both deserve praise.
The presence of Yasuhito “Yatto” Endo, who tied the J1 record of most appearances (631 matches), was also important. Playing at the bottom of the midfield, he soothed down the game when Yokohama were dominant, while also directing Gamba’s attacks.
Miyamoto praised his performance after the game. “I thought Yatto could slow down the game and he did exactly that. We needed Yatto mainly for creating time to prepare for attacking. I thought it would be difficult for him to play the whole 90 minutes, but he did well. He controlled the game using his experience”
The 40-year-old midfielder will remain an important player for Gamba Osaka this season.