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J1 League | Gameweek 20
Jun 26, 2024 at 11am UK
Kyoto Nishikyogoku Stadium

Kyoto Sanga
2 - 2

Misao (36'), Kawasaki (47')
Hara (57')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Hosoya (42'), Savio (90+6')
Sekine (34')

Preview: Kyoto Sanga vs. Kashiwa Reysol - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's J1 League clash between Kyoto Sanga and Kashiwa Reysol, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams fighting to end tough runs in the bottom half of the J1 League table will do battle on Wednesday, as Kyoto Sanga welcome Kashiwa Reysol to the Sanga Stadium by Kyocera.

The hosts find themselves 19th after a dismal first half to the campaign, three points adrift of safety, while their visitors have dropped to 13th spot following four straight defeats of their own.

Match preview

Kyoto Sanga FC head coach Cho Kwi-Jae on March 29, 2024 [Imago]© Imago

Kyoto Sanga will kick off the second half of their J1 League season on Wednesday with the aim of narrowing their gap to safety, having endured a tough start to the 2024 campaign in Japan's top flight.

Following a 13th-placed finish last year and the expansion of the division to 20 teams, the Purple Sanga currently find themselves 19th at the halfway mark, having amassed just 14 points from their opening 19 outings, winning just three while suffering 11 defeats.

The most recent of those three victories did come in mid-June, putting an end to a seven-match winless streak which produced just two points, as Temma Matsuda and Yuta Toyokawa fired them to a 2-0 triumph with first-half goals, but Cho Kwi-jae's side failed to build on that in the following trip to fellow strugglers Sagan Tosu at the weekend.

Aiming to make it back-to-back three-point hauls for the first time this term, the Purple Sanga remained level until the 58th minute Ekimae Real Estate Stadium, only for Marcelo Ryan to fire the hosts into a two-goal lead with a brace before Yoichi Naganuma put the game out of sight and wrapped up a 3-0 win 14 minutes from time.

Such a result saw them fall three points behind Saturday's hosts and adrift of safety after 19 outings, and they will now set out to kick off an improved run and a climb up the table with an important return to winning ways on home turf on Wednesday.

In their way stand a visiting side who will also bid to end a slump in their form on Wednesday, having quickly dropped towards the bottom end of the division in recent weeks.

After finishing just four points and a single place above the J1 League's only relegation spot last year, Kashiwa Reysol enjoyed a more encouraging start to the new top-flight campaign, moving onto 21 points from 14 outings with back-to-back 2-1 wins at home to Shonan Bellmare and Consadole Sapporo in mid-May.

Their form has since taken a sharp dip, though, and the gold-and-black now travel to Kyoto having failed to win any of their five league matches since, firstly holding Kawasaki Frontale to a draw before suffering four straight defeats heading into Wednesday's meeting.

Following 4-0, 2-0 and 2-1 losses to Yokohama F Marinos, Avispa Fukuoka and Gamba Osaka respectively, Masami Ihara's side most recently hosted Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Saturday and again came away empty-handed, losing by a single goal at the Kashiwa Hitachi Stadium having failed to find a leveller after Douglas Vieira put their visitors ahead on the half-hour mark.

As a result of their tough run, Kashiwa Reysol now find themselves 13th at the halfway stage of the J1 League season, four points behind 12th-placed Yokohama F Marinos and five outside of the top half, and they will be desperate to arrest their slide towards the relegation zone with a much-needed rebound victory on Wednesday.

Kyoto Sanga J1 League form:

Kashiwa Reysol J1 League form:

Team News

Cho Kwi-jae may opt to make several changes to his Kyoto Sanga starting XI after the weekend's 3-0 beating at the hands of Sagan Tosu, with Kazunari Ichimi, Marco Tulio and Ryogo Yamasaki all fighting to come into the attack after entering the fray from the bench in that game.

It was Taichi Hara who got the nod to lead the line in that game, while Yuta Toyokawa tops their scoring charts with four goals in 15 J1 League appearances so far this term.

Mainstays Sota Kawasaki and Daiki Kaneko will bid to keep their places in the midfield of their 4-3-3 setup, while Toichi Suzuki may take Kyo Sato's place on the left-hand side of the back four.

After their 1-0 defeat to Sanfrecce Hiroshima last time out, Kosuke Kinoshita should return and lead the Kashiwa Reysol line from the start on Wednesday, having settled for a substitute appearance at the weekend with a team-high tally of six league goals so far this term.

Matheus Savio is a key man in support of the front two, having contributed three goals and four assists of his own in the J1 League, while Tomoki Takamine and Sachiro Toshima will both hope to keep their places in the engine room after being brought off at the weekend.

Key defender Tomoya Inukai is set to remain sidelined by an injury, meaning Hiroki Noda should again join Taiyo Koga at the heart of a back four.

Kyoto Sanga possible starting lineup:
Gu; Fukuda, Miyamoto, Y Suzuki, T Suzuki; Kawasaki, Kaneko, Hirato; Toyokawa, Tulio, Ichimi

Kashiwa Reysol possible starting lineup:
Sasaki; Sekine, Noda, Koga, Rodrigues; Yamada, Takamine, Toshima, Savio; Hosoya, Kinoshita

SM words green background

We say: Kyoto Sanga 1-1 Kashiwa Reysol

Wednesday's game promises to be a hard-fought one between two sides keen to arrest poor runs of form in the J1 League.

While the visitors have enjoyed the stronger season thus far, their confidence has taken a hit from four straight defeats, and we envisage both sides settling for a share of the spoils in Kyoto.

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

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5Sanfrecce HiroshimaHiroshima241010443251840
6Cerezo OsakaCerezo2491053226637
7FC Tokyo2410683532336
8Avispa Fukuoka249872322135
9Tokyo Verdy2481063236-434
10Urawa Red DiamondsUrawa249693934533
11Yokohama F MarinosYokohama2495103737032
12Nagoya GrampusNagoya Grampus2494112729-231
13Kashiwa ReysolReysol247893036-629
14Kawasaki FrontaleKawasaki2461083535028
15Albirex Niigata2477103237-528
16Shonan BellmareShonan Bellmare2467113438-425
17Kyoto Sanga2467112238-1625
18Jubilo Iwata2466123040-1024
19Sagan Tosu2472153144-1323
20Consadole SapporoConsadole2436152147-2615

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