Soccer: Gamba defeat on-form Sanfrecce to end 4-game losing run

Two quickfire goals in the first half handed Gamba Osaka a 2-0 home win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the J-League first division on Wednesday, ending their four-game losing run.

Sanfrecce, who came into the game on the back of four straight wins and a six-game unbeaten run, missed the opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table, staying fourth on 30 points, seven points behind leaders Yokohama F Marinos.

Starting the game in the relegation zone, Gamba were on the back foot at Panasonic Stadium but left wing-back Keisuke Kurokawa handed them the 36th-minute lead against the run of play, flashing low into the far corner after a cross from the right flank was not cleared.

Gamba doubled the lead just three minutes later, with Mitsuki Saito sending his effort onto the post on a counter but their subsequent attack allowing 18-year-old Isa Sakamoto to pick up a loose ball and slot home on the turn from close range for his first J1 goal.

"It fell nicely into my path and all I had to do was to keep calm," said the Gamba youth product. "Before the match, the manager told me I can do it. I'm just so happy."

Sanfrecce struggled to hit the target throughout, while Kosuke Onose and substitute Hiroki Fujiharu were denied by Sanfrecce keeper Keisuke Osako and the post in the last 10 minutes for the home side.

The result lifted Gamba to 12th on 20 points, although they remain only one point above the drop zone.

© Kyodo News