On Monday, March 5th, Kitchee and Kashiwa Reysol held their last official training and pre-game press conference at Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium in Kashiwa, Japan, ahead of Tuesday’s match in the Asian Champions League.
After two consecutive losses, the Bluewaves will look for better match results, especially following their lopsided 0-6 defeat to group-leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors two weeks ago. However, they have to make do without midfielder Huang Yang, who suffered a thigh injury in the league game against R&F last Monday. Fortunately, after having been absent for almost a month, Dani Cancela traveled with the team and should make his ACL debut.
According to coach Alex Chu, better weather and pitch conditions in Kashiwa should allow his team to perform better than in Tianjin. Though he admits that it remains a very difficult challenge to take on Kashiwa. With Huang out, Li Ngai Hoi could be one of Chu’s best choice for replacement. Midfielder Krisztian Vadocz, who also attended the press conference, said he was eager to play against the Japanese side as he hoped to create more scoring opportunities and show Kitchee’s improvement from the last two games.
On the other side, the hosts are also in search for their first victory in this year’s continental competition, after losing to Jeonbuk in the opening match and drawing with Tianjin. Kashiwa’s head coach Takahito Shimotaira mentioned that a win is almost imperative in order to stay in the race to qualify for the next round. He praised Kitchee as a strong team with a lot of talented players and quality forwards. However, with the home advantage, he is confident that his team should be able to score goals to claim a victory.
The Kashiwa-Kitchee showdown will kick off at 6:30pm (HKT) on Tuesday, March 6th.