Japanese giants Gamba Osaka put an end to Johor Darul Takzim’s (JDT) AFC Champions League dreams as they beat them 3-0 at the Suita City Stadium.
JDT tried their hardest, but they couldn’t cope with Osaka’s high-pressure and creativity with the ball along with their inability to penetrate the final third as Ademilson, Shun Nagesawa and Genta Miura scored for the home team.
Right from kick-off, Gamba Osaka immediately applied high-pressure towards the JDT players and it almost paid off in two minutes when a cross from left-back Hiroki Fujiharu was almost met by 20-year old midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi who escaped from Safawi Rasid on the left, but he couldn’t reach the ball.
S. Kunanlan then tried an effort outside from the right, but there was no power in the shot with Osaka goalkeeper Masaaki Higashiguchi able to catch it easily.
Then, JDT had a good chance with captain Safiq Rahim finding Safawi who had a lot of space on the left with a through ball. Safawi though, rushed his shot and the ball went wayward wide after a short run into the box.
Fazly Mazlan though was lucky to be on the pitch when after losing the ball on the left, tried to win it back but he caught Oh Jae Suk with his studs on the South Korean’s foot. However, the referee only gave him a yellow card.
Osaka kept tearing through the flanks and it paid off on the 26th minute when a cross from Yasuyuki Konno found Ademilson, who rose above the highest to head the ball in.
Brian Ferreira wasn’t going to let that get to him. Just two minutes after Osaka went a goal up, he ran through the midfield and with Akil on the run, passed the ball to him. But Miura got ahead first and Akil was penalized for a foul on the centre-back while trying to get the ball.
JDT then found themselves two down a minute later. Again from the left, Shu Kurata’s through pass got to Fujiharu, whose low cross bamboozled the defense and Nagesawa slid in first to get the ball in the net.
Brian, with the last notable chance of the half, then tried an ambitious shot from outside and it prompted Higashiguchi to dive in order to parry the ball away before catching it.
It was relatively quiet when the second half kicked off. Osaka looked Ok by holding their position and absorbing the JDT pressure. However, the game came back to life on the 69th minute.
Veteran captain Yasuhito Endo delivered a quality corner from the right and Miura, who was making his debut, rose above unmarked and headed in to put the home side 3-0 up.
And Osaka almost got a fourth through a similar situation two minutes later. Another great corner from Endo, again from the right found Konno, but he headed just wide.
JDT’s only notable chance in the second half was a free-kick from Safiq on the 87th minute, but the captain’s effort was just over.
JDT now drops down to the AFC Cup in Group F with Myanmar’s Magwe, Philippines’ Global and either Cambodia’s Boueng Ket Angkor or Laos’ Lao Toyota.