thumbnail Hello,
Live

FIFA Club World Cup

  • December 9, 2012
  • • 10:30
  • • Toyota Stadium, Toyota
  • • Attendance: 27314
1
FT
2

Sanfrecce Hiroshima - Al-Ahly Preview: African champions aiming to reach semi-finals

Sanfrecce Hiroshima - Al-Ahly Preview: African champions aiming to reach semi-finals

Dan Orlowitz

After winning a surprise bronze medal six years ago, the Egyptian side must first top the reigning J-League champions if they wish to face Corinthians in the next stage

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

SANFRECCE HIROSHIMA

Nishikawa
Chiba, Mizumoto, Moriwaki, Aoyama
Ko. Morisaki, Ka. Morizaki
Takahagi, Mikic, Shimizu
Sato
AL-AHLY

Ekrami
Fathi, Gomaa, Najib, Mouawad
Soliman, Ghali, Ashour, Said
Aboutrika
Gedo

Al-Ahly will be looking to reach the podium for the first time in six years when they open their Fifa Club World Cup campaign against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the second quarter-final match.

While manager Hossam El-Badry has put pressure on his side by saying they intend to improve on their third-place finish in 2006, players such as Wael Gomaa have implied that with famous clubs such as Corinthians and Chelsea are set to appear in the semi-finals and there's no use fretting over an appearance in the final.

Sanfrecce got off to a slow start on Thursday night when they were held scoreless for over an hour by Oceania champions Auckland City. This season's J-League winners eventually won the match courtesy of a goal by Yoshihiro Aoyama, but Al-Ahly will almost certainly look to follow City's example and attempt to isolate captain and Japanese league MVP Hisato Sato from his team-mates.

"They're physically gifted and have great technique," Sanfrecce manager Hajime Moriyasu said of his team's Sunday opponents. Captain Sato, however, labelled the Egyptian side "undsciiplined" and indicated that they would be unable to withstand the pressure of the western Japan side's ferocious attack.

But it Sanfrecce's defensive line that will bear the brunt of the pressure in this match, as they were rarely tested by Auckland City. With neither side expected to play conservatively, there are sure to be some highlight-worthy goals.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Sanfrecce are on a three-match winning streak dating back to the J-League's 33rd round, when they clinched the title with a 4-1 win against Cerezo Osaka.

  • Over 25,000 supporters came to watch Sanfrecce's play-off win, an increase of 7,000 from last year's play-off between Kashiwa Reysol and Auckland City.
  • Midfielder Mihael Mikic s the only Croatian player currently active in the J-League's first division.
  • Al-Ahly's last competitive match was on November 18, when they beat ES Tunis to capture the African Champions League.
  • Striker Mohamed Aboutrika (pictured playing for Egypt) is two goals away from becoming the competition's top scorer. He netted three goals in his team's 2006 third-place finish.
  • Despite being the senior player on the team, Hossam Ghaly will be participating in his first Club World Cup.

Players to watch

T. Aoyama

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 26-year-old is by nature a defensive midfielder but has shown increased aggression and intuition lately for the Purple Archers. His 30-metre goal in the play-off match was virtually unblockable, and Al-Ahly players will have to mark him just as consistantly as they would Hisato Sato.

Hossam Ghaly

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The captain's role at midfield will be crucial as his passes serve as the key link between the Red Devils' defenders and strikers. The 183-centimetre Ghaly can use his height as a weapon against the shorter Japanese players, and will need to ensure that his team-mates are able to win their own aerial battles with accurate passing.

Editor's Prediction

Sanfrecce Hiroshima will be challenged far more in this match than they were against Auckland City, but in the end their possession skills, attacking abilities, and the strong goalkeeping abilities of Nishikawa should see them through to the semi-finals.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Al Ahly

Wins
0
0
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Sanfrecce Hiroshima SFR
Sanfrecce Hiroshima Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Draw
Al Ahly SC AHL
Al Ahly SC Al Ahly
57%
39%

Top 3 Predictions

Sanfrecce Hiroshima SFR
2 - 0
Al Ahly SC AHL
Sanfrecce Hiroshima SFR
2 - 1
Al Ahly SC AHL
Sanfrecce Hiroshima SFR
1 - 2
Al Ahly SC AHL

Related