GUANGZHOU, CHINA – Gamba Osaka manager Kenta Hasegawa says his team will pull out all the stops to overcome China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in the first leg of their Asian Champions League semifinal on Wednesday night.
Gamba are the only Japanese team left in the competition, with 2013 champion Guangzhou having eliminated Kashiwa Reysol over two legs in the quarterfinals.
Hasegawa is hoping his 2014 domestic treble winners can produce a performance that will keep them on track for a first ACL title since 2008.
“We will put everything we have out there. We want to show who the better of the two teams is,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.
Hasegawa will not be in the dugout on Wednesday, having been dismissed from the bench in the second leg of the quarterfinals against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors.
“That will not have any real bearing on the result,” he said. “I have got a group of high quality players that can make (any necessary) adjustments to their play during the game.”
Key attacker Shu Kurata said, “It is going to be a tough game, but every player on the team will be trying to snatch a result.”
Gamba have been boosted by the return of star striker Takashi Usami, who missed the second leg of the quarterfinals due to suspension.
“Takashi for sure will play, and will play well, and we also had lots of great performances from the team that played against Jeonbuk in the quarterfinal second leg,” Hasegawa was quoted as saying by AFC.com on Monday.
Guangzhou coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted he was wary of the threat posed by Gamba but said his team was well prepared.
“Gamba are a strong team with quality players in every position,” the former Brazil coach told reporters at the news conference.
“Our preparations have gone well and we are in good shape. I think my players will carry out the roles they have been given.”
The second leg takes place at Expo Stadium on Oct. 21.
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