SUITA, OSAKA PREF. - Veteran Yasuhito Endo scored the winner with his first goal of the season as Gamba Osaka came from behind to secure a 2-1 home win over Jubilo Iwata on Friday in the J. League.
Gamba, who had lost their last five games in all competitions at Suita Stadium, went behind to Yuki Kobayashi’s fortuitous free kick but Ademilson’s neat finish drew them level just before the break, and the 36-year-old Endo struck home the winner from inside the box to lift them up to eighth.
“We hadn’t been able to win here so I’m glad we managed to win one way or the other,” Endo said. “It came after hard work from everyone, and I want to ride on this win.”
Gamba manager Kenta Hasegawa said, “Yatto (Endo) played well in attacking midfield, we’ve had trial and errors and today we saw some good breaks. We had games where we couldn’t make those chances in the first place, so it’s a positive we could show some.”
Kobayashi’s cross narrowly missed two Jubilo teammates in the box after 14 minutes, but the midfielder scored his second goal in two games and third of the season when his low free kick from the right three minutes later caught out Masaaki Higashiguchi and sneaked through at the near post.
Gamba had Takashi Usami firing straight at Jubilo ‘keeper Naoki Hatta before the forward sent a great first-time pass to Endo, who was denied in a one-on-one.
Gamba’s Patric and Jubilo’s Adailton both steered their powerful headers over from close range, and Kobayashi saw two left-footed efforts fizz wide from 18 metesr for Jubilo, before Gamba leveled seconds before the break.
Usami combined with Endo again on the right before pinning a pass to the middle for Ademilson, who spun past a defender and shot through the legs of Hatta also for his third of the campaign.
Brazilians continued to have cracks after the break as Adailton and Ademilson fired wide from outside the box at both ends, before Usami, who scored 19 league goals last season but has just two so far this year, cut in from the left and forced Hatta into a diving save on the hour.
Endo grazed the bar with his free kick from the edge of the area, but calmly slotted home the winner in the 66th minute after Patric flicked on a long ball for the Gamba captain to latch onto.
“I was unmarked and Patric did well to flick it behind. I managed to keep my composure,” said Endo.
Kobayashi provided a pinpoint cross in stoppage time as Jubilo went in search of the equalizer, but defender Kentaro Oi couldn’t make a proper contact despite being unmarked, and Iwata slipped to ninth and level with Gamba on 16 points.
“We conceded two stupid goals,” Jubilo manager Hiroshi Nanami said. “We presented them with three points. We had players just standing in the opposition’s box (during attack).”
Two other matches on the night both ended in scoreless draws as FC Tokyo was held at home by Sagan Tosu, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima also drew a blank at home against resurgent Kashiwa Reysol.