Kawasaki Frontale - Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Sanfrecce Hiroshima are another team we have been keen to stay on the right side of and ahead of their weekend home game with Vegalta Sendai I wrote .....
Four straight wins in all competitions for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, through which they have scored ten goals , two or more in each. They are up to fourth in the table and with the top two meeting in Saitama, they have a great opportunity to close in on one, or both with a fourth straight home win over Vegalta, who are without a win in six, including losing their last four.
Last weekend I previewed Sanfreece's home match with SSP.....I feel a visit to Hiroshima where the hosts have scored six road goals in the last week, including two at highflying FC Tokyo, who were previously unbeaten and who have scored 11 in the last four h2h meetings is the last thing they need right now. Tactically, Sanfrecce were spot on in the capital, took huge confidence from that and having followed up in midweek, want to now reproduce those performances in front of their home supporters who have been very loyal through a difficult start to the season.
They won 2-0 and have since followed up at Yokohama and are strongly favoured to win this. After consecutive J-League titles they came up short last year, claiming to have been exhausted by the schedule, with two demanding Champions League campaigns, no such worries this year and they are very committed to another domestic title. They have shared the goals around this season, but the two main front men, Douglas and Sato both scored in midweek and look to be developing a potent understanding, Sato is a veteran now , but has been one of the most prolific J-L strikers for more than a decade and like most front men, tends to be very streaky and one goal usually follows another. With Vegalta struggling on the road , defensively and in this fixture and with probably the quick turnaround, they look up against it today and with two home games next week, their focus could quickly switch to those if and when they fall behind today.
They eased home 2-0 there and have the chance to move to within a point of first place in the table with a sixth straight win, they have lost just one of seven h2h metings with Frontale, who have conceded six goals in their last two starts, including at four home to Reysol and are turning into flat track bullies, collecting just two points from five starts against top half teams, 12 from 15 versus bottom half sides. The team from just south of the capital are coming off a 2-1 defeat to rivals FC Tokyo in the derby game on Saturday, where they led for 50 minutes , before being reduced to ten men with 30 to go and conceded twice, that is a tough way to lose and a lot of effort to expend for no reward. That match was played on the hottest day of the year by some way and how it played out will have taken a big toll.Now they face another another top team, the third inside seven days and that is a big ask, against an opponent at the very top of their game. Shintaro Kuruyama is suspended for the hosts after his red card , the left back has had a good season, when he plays, Frontale have conceded 8 goals in 694 minutes ( one every 87 mins), without him, six in 116 (one every 19) ! Visitors for me, handicap start is a bonus.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima +0.25 ball 2.00 asian line/Sportmarket.