AFC Champions League: Will 2015 Be Japan’s Year?

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“Although it is an advantage that we are going to play at home in the second leg, I feel our performance in the first match away to Jeonbuk is actually more important,” Osaka coach Hasegawa said, according to In the group stage, Jeonbuk Motors had their share of problems in the two clashes against Kashiwa Reysol, the other Japanese quarter-finalist, but back then, the team was different. They were led by Brazilians Edu and Eninho who left this summer. Now, Jeonbuk has other stars like Luiz Henrique, Spanish striker Urko Vera and former AFC Player of the Year, Lee Keun-ho. What they also have is dreams…big dreams. “We always go into each game with a positive feeling. The teams left in the East are all difficult teams. No matter which team we face we’ll have to beat them to win the AFC Champions League,” Korean captain Lee Dong-gook explained. And if indeed they beat Gamba Osaka, they could make yet another trip to Japan in the semi-finals, this time to face their group stage opponents, Kashiwa Reysol. Kashiwa had a great start in the J-League Division 1 second stage and won their last three domestic matches. In the AFC Champions League quarter-finals, they will face Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande. Like Jeonbuk, Guangzhou made significant changes this summer starting with the manager: in June, Felipe Scolari replaced Fabio Cannavaroand returned to the top Asian club competition after a six-year break. In 2009, Scolari propelled Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor to the quarter-finals. Now, the Brazilian wants a repeat of the 2013 performance when Guangzhou won the prestigious competition. Much like this year, the Chinese side clashed with Kashiwa Reysol in the knockout stage. Back then, they hammered the Japanese 8-1 on aggregate. Can they do it again or will 2015 be Japan’s year?

Sports Betting Tip

Expect a lot of goals in the Jeonbuk Motors – Gamba Osaka quarter-finals. The Japanese have a shaky defense with 12 goals conceded in their last seven games.Jeonbuk’s defense is also at risk if we count the game against Pohang Steelers lost 3-0. So our football prediction would be 2.5 or more goals scored in the first leg set for next week. By: Florian Gheorghe]]>