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J1 League | Gameweek 19
Jun 22, 2024 at 11am UK

0 - 1

Hosoya (81')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Vieira (33')

Preview: Kashiwa Reysol vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's J1 League clash between Kashiwa Reysol and Sanfrecce Hiroshima, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Kashiwa Reysol are set to host Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Sankyo Frontier Kashiwa Stadium on Saturday in Japan's J1 League, and could reduce the gap to their opponents to five points.

The home side are 13th in the table with 22 points and are eight clear of the relegation zone, while the visitors are in fifth place with 29 points and are five from the division's AFC Champions League playoff spot.

Match preview

 Kota Yamada (Gamba) Football / Soccer : Japanese 2024 Meiji Yasuda J1 League match between Gamba Osaka 2-1 Kashiwa Reysol at the Panasonic Stadium Suita in Suita, Japan JUNE 16, 2024[IMAGO]© Imago

The hosts will be somewhat pleased that after 18 league matches they have already accumulated 22 points considering they only collected 33 points in the entirety of the 2023 campaign.

While some might point out that Reysol only played 34 league games last year and that they will play 38 in 2024, they are still averaging nearly 1.22 points per game this season compared to 0.97 last term.

Having said that, the home side did average 1.38 points in 2022 and 1.53 in 2020, but considering this is just their fifth season back in the top flight and that they finished second-last in 2023, a 13th-placed finish could be seen as a good achievement.

Despite the potential for a good season, Reysol's recent form in all competitions has been poor, with just one win in their last seven matches in which time they conceded 11 goals and scored just three.

Their league form has also been worrying given they have lost their last three games and have failed to win their last four, including a 4-0 loss against 12th-placed Yokohama F Marinos and a 1-1 draw against 14th-placed Kawasaki Frontale.

Masami Ihara (Reysol) Football / Soccer : Japanese 2024 Meiji Yasuda J1 League match between Gamba Osaka 2-1 Kashiwa Reysol at the Panasonic Stadium Suita in Suita, Japan  JUNE 16, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

In fact, the home side have only won five top-flight games all season and have just 11 victories in their last 62 league games.

Manager Masami Ihara previously worked as an assistant at the club between 2019 and 2023 but took charge of the team in May last year, replacing Nelsinho Baptista.

At his current side Ihara has led his team to 16 wins, 17 draws and 14 defeats, and this season at home Reysol have won, drawn and lost three times each.

Opponents Hiroshima come into the game having been beaten last time out against Yokohama F Marinos, a game that they lost 3-2 despite leading 2-1 until the 87th minute.

To add to this, Hiroshima had been reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute and to lose the game so late on will no doubt have felt cruel.

 Michael Skibbe (Sanfrecce), Football / Soccer : 2024 J League match between Sanfrecce Hiroshima - Kawasaki Frontale at Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan APRIL 28, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

Otherwise, the away side's form heading into Saturday's clash has been excellent, and prior to their defeat against Yokohama F Marinos they had won seven of their previous eight, including an 11-2 victory against Baleine Shimonoseki in the Emperor Cup.

Their recent league form has also been good and they won three of the last five matches, though leading up to this they did fail to win any of the previous six games.

The visitors are averaging 1.6 points per game this season and this is slightly less than the 1.7 they recorded in 2023.

Manager Michael Skibbe was appointed in January 2022 and has led Sanfrecce to two third-placed finishes, overseeing 60 wins, 27 draws and 28 losses.

Skibbe will hope his side can improve on their away record if they are to reach the AFC Champions League playoff spot this season, especially considering they only have the eighth-best away record in the division and have drawn seven of their 10 away league games.

Kashiwa Reysol J1 League form:

Sanfrecce Hiroshima J1 League form:

Team News

Sanfrecce Hiroshima team group, Mannschaftsbild, Totale Football / Soccer : 2024 J1 League match between Yokohama F. Marinos 3-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima at NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Football Stadium, Kanagawa, Japan JUNE 19, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

The hosts will be without centre-forward Hidetaka Maie, who continues to recover from a cruciate ligament injury.

Reysol will also have to cope with the absence of centre-back Tomoya Inukai, who is still recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered on 2 June.

Midfielder Kota Yamada was forced off with an injury in his side's last outing against Gamba Osaka, and it remains to be seen if he will recover in time for Saturday's game.

Visitors Hiroshima will be unable to call upon centre-back Taichi Yamasaki as a result of a cruciate ligament injury that has kept him out of action since early March.

Elsewhere, midfielder Makoto Mitsuta will also be absent for Sanfrecce due to the second yellow he picked up in Wednesday's loss against Yokohama F Marinos.

More positively, centre-back Sho Sasaki should come back into contention after serving a suspension last time out after he had accumulated too many yellow cards.

Kashiwa Reysol possible starting lineup:
Ichimori; Handa, Nakatani, Fukuoka, Kurokawa; Dawhan, Suzuki; Yamashita, Sakamoto, Welton; Usami

Sanfrecce Hiroshima possible starting lineup:
Osako; Shiotani, Nakano, Higashi; Arai, T. Matsumoto, H. Matsumoto, Shichi; Ohashi, Sotiriou, Kato

SM words green background

We say: Kashiwa Reysol 1-3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Considering that Reysol have struggled for form recently and have lost their last three league fixtures, it is fair to say they could struggle on Saturday.

Although opponents Hiroshima did lose last time out, they have still scored 15 goals in their last five league games and could prove to be too strong for their hosts.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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