Saturday, November 3, 2007

Teen Fires Gamba To League Cup Glory

Teenager Michihiro Yasuda couldn’t have picked a better time to claim his first professional goal, scoring the winner in Gamba Osaka’s 1-0 win over Kawasaki Frontale in the final of the Nabisco league cup in Tokyo on Saturday.
Yasuda, 19, scored the lone goal of the afternoon in the 56th minute by redirecting a cross from Brazilian striker Bare.
Gamba’s first-ever cup title comes just two years after their disappointing penalty-shootout loss to JEF United Chiba in the final of the 2005 tournament.
Defender Yasuda, a product of the Gamba youth system, was named Man of the Match for his outstanding performance in an evenly matched affair witnessed by 41,569 at National Stadium.
“He is a very attack-minded defender,” Osaka manager Akira Nishino said of the young left back. “He is very quick, has a good attacking sense and is a fine utility player. I told him at halftime to get forward and try to score if he could, and voila!”


Comments from Kawasaki manager Takeshi Sekizuka:

“I’d like to say congratulations to Gamba and I’d also like to thank our supporters for coming out and always giving us 100 percent.
We wanted to show today everything that we had built up over the season so far.
In the first half, I think we created more of the chances and had an opportunity to go ahead. Had we scored then we would have got a grip on the game but it didn’t happen and in the second half we gave them a single sniff of goal and they capitalized. Overall we had more chances, but Gamba showed their greater experience over the full 90 minutes.”

Additional comments from Gamba manager Akira Nishino:

“My players played hard for the full 90 minutes today and I am very satisfied. I feel we have finally done it.
In the first half Frontale did overwhelm us in certain respects but we adjusted at half time and got a good goal at a good time.
Our team has grown this year, not only in attack but also in defense, and after the goal we controlled the game extremely well.
This competition has boosted our confidence in various ways. It’s brought out the strengths of our squad in the group games where we played without our national team players, and then by defeating the Urawa Reds and Kashima Antlers to reach the finals. This has all been very pleasing.
It's been an extremely interesting tournament for me as a manager. We had to make a lot of unusual changes as a team. In the league our lineup has been very consistent, but because I was forced to use so many backup players in this tournament, it's shown me Gamba has a lot of depth, a lot of options I didn’t know we had previously. Our base has grown broader this season.”

Copyright: C.G. Williams & Soccerphile

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