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Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Melbourne Victory
2019 Asian Champions League, Group stage, Matchday 2
|Venue: Hiroshima Big Arch|
|Match time: Fulltime|
|Sanfrecce Hiroshima||Melbourne Victory|
Keisuke Honda will play his first match in Japan for more than a decade when the Melbourne Victory travel to play Besart Berisha’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 9pm (AEDT).
After leaving the Victory in 2018, Berisha joined Hiroshima, but has struggled to make an impact in the JLeague and didn’t play during their opening group stage match last week.
Hiroshima, in their first Champions League campaign since 2016, lost to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande 2-0 away from home in their opener, and while they weren’t poor, they weren’t on the same level as their opponents.
Still, as far as Champions League’s go, this is a tough one because of the travel distance, and they will be aiming, as most clubs do, to win their home matches.
The club finished second last year in the JLeague behind Kawasaki Frontale, and a lot of that squad has stayed the course.
For the most part, Hiroshima have had a reasonable amount of success, and the last time they didn’t play the top division of Japanese football was 2008.
Their run towards the top last season was mostly built off their defence, but Brazilian import Patric had almost half their goals for the season, so if they do go forward, expect him to be trying to break down the Melbourne defence.
Despite having Honda, alongside players like Ola Toivonen in the squad, the Victory have really struggled in front of goal in their last month or so.
The Victory haven’t won any of their last five outings, which includes a dreadful 3-1 loss at home to Daegu FC in their ACL group stage opener.
The onus is now on Melbourne to try and pick up victories away from home, and while Honda might feel at home tonight, the rest of the team won’t, as they try to put an awful overseas record behind thm.
The Victory must start well, shutting out the crowd and forcing Hiroshima to play a style which won’t suit them, if they are a chance tonight.
The visitors must also be willing to get back and defend counter attacks strongly, which is aided by Lawrence Thomas in front of goals, but it might all be in vain if they can’t shut down Patric.
Sanfrecce lost away, but they are going to be a tough team to beat at home, with plenty of pace, an ability to get it wide, and a solid defence. The Victory’s form line has been pretty ordinary recently, but I’ll back the Australian outfit to hang onto a tough draw.
Hiroshima 1 – Melbourne 1.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this critical ACL game from 9pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 9pm (AEDT)
Venue: Hiroshima Big Arch
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo sports
Betting: Hiroshima $1.72, Victory $3.75
Referee: Ali Sabah (Iraq)
Sanfrecce Hiroshima (squad)
6. Toshihiro Aoyama (c), 1. Takuto Hayashi (GK), 21. Tyotaro Hironaga (GK), 34. Hirotsugu Nakabayashi (GK), 38. Keisuke Osako, 2. Yuki Nogami, 3. Emil Salmonsson, 4. Hiroki Muzomoto, 5. Kyohei Yoshino, 7. Gakuto Notsuda, 9. Besart Berisha, 10. Patric, 13. Akira Ibayashi, 14. Tsukasa Morishima, 15. Sho Inagaki, 16. Daiki Watari, 17. Taishi Matsumoto, 18. Yoshifumi Kashiwa, 19. Sho Sasaki, 20. Douglad da Silva Vieira, 22. Yusukue Minagawa, 23. Hayato Araki, 24. Shunki Higash, 25. Hiroya Matsumoto, 26. Ayumu Kawai, 27. Kohei Shimizu, 30. Kosei Shibasaki, 33. Takuya Wada, 40. Hayao Kawabe, 44. Rhayner Santos Nascimento, 50. Soya Yakahashi
Melbourne Victory (squad)
21. Carl Valeri (c), 1. Matthew Acton (GK), 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 30. Matthew Sutton (GK), 2. Storm Roux, 3. Corey Brown, 4. Keisuke Honda, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Kenny Athiu, 8. Terry Antonis, 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. James Troisi, 11. Ola Toivonen, 13. Birkan Kirdar, 14. Thomas Deng, 15. Raul Baena, 16. Josh Hope, 17. James Donachie, 19. Rahmat Akbari, 23. Jai Ingham, 24. Elvis Kamsoba, 25. Anthony Lesiotis, 27. Aaron Anderson, 28. Benjamin Carrigan, 29. Thiel Iradukunda, 31. Brandon Lauton, 32. Jack Palazzolo, 33. Yazid Said