Gamba held but claim J-League title as Reds lose

by admin on January 29th, 2019

filed under 深圳桑拿网

Gamba, who were languishing in the relegation zone at the mid-season break, drew 0-0 at bottom club Vortis, opening the door for long-time leaders Urawa Red Diamonds.

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Urawa failed to take advantage of the opportunity, however, slumping to a 2-1 home loss against Nagoya Grampus, despite taking an early lead, and gifting the title to Gamba.

Gamba finished the season with 63 points, one better than Urawa and three ahead of Kashima Antlers, who were also in with a chance of snatching the title on the final day but were beaten 1-0 at home by Sagan Tosu.

“I’m just glad we’re champions in the end,” Gamba manager Kenta Hasegawa was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. “It would’ve been better had we won today, though. It’s great we could win the league in our first year back from J2.”

Gamba’s second title following their 2005 success was the second leg of a possible treble, with the League Cup already secured and second tier Montedio Yamagata awaiting them in the final of the Emperor’s Cup next Saturday in Yokohama.

Such a feat seemed beyond comprehension when the J-League halted in May for the World Cup in Brazil, with newly promoted Gamba looking like they were heading back down.

However, the arrival of forward Patric made the difference in the second half of the campaign. The Brazilian scored nine goals as Gamba racked up 15 wins in 19 matches to haul themselves above the faltering Reds with one match to go.

Gamba, who went top last week on goal difference with a win over Vissel Kobe as the Reds conceded a late strike to draw at Tosu, were overwhelming favourites on the final day.

Vortis had managed three wins all season but showed spirit to hold Gamba at bay and even threatened an unlikely win against the nervous visitors.

With Tomoaki Makino putting the Reds ahead against Nagoya in the second minute, Gamba knew they needed to win, but as they struggled so did the Diamonds.

Nagoya’s Yusuke Muta scored a 72nd minute equaliser before Kensuke Nagai grabbed a last-minute winner to stun the Reds and hand Gamba the title.

At the bottom of the table, Shimizu S-Pulse held Ventforet Kofu to a goalless draw at home to avoid the drop with Omiya Ardija joining Gamba’s great rivals Cerezo Osaka and Vortis in getting relegated.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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