Sanfrecce looking to change fortunes in ACL


Sanfrecce Hiroshima will be looking to recover from a spluttering start to the season when the Japanese champions take on FC Seoul on Tuesday in their second group stage match in the Asian Champions League.

Hiroshima lost 2-1 at home to China’s Shandong Luneng in Group F last week and was then stunned 1-0 by Kawasaki Frontale in its J. League opener on Saturday.

“We have lost twice in a row so hopefully we can stop the rot,” said striker Takuma Asano.

Coach Hajime Moriyasu has arrived in the South Korean capital without J. League Player of the Year Toshihiro Aoyama and star striker Hisato Sato, who both have fitness issues.

“I am rotating the squad but hopefully we can go into this match with confidence,” said Moriyasu.

“I remember when we played here in 2014. We drew 2-2 but it would not have been a surprise if we had won given the way we played.

“I want us to go into the match with that positive image in our minds.”

Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo said, “Even if Aoyama or Sato or Kazuyuki Morisaki or (Mihael) Mikic don’t play, Hiroshima’s style won’t change.

“Whoever plays, they can play the same style of soccer so I want to think about my own team and not our opponents’ players.”

Seoul got off to a dream start in the group after a 6-0 win away to Thailand’s Buriram United.

In Group E, FC Tokyo hosts Vietnam’s Binh Duong.