AFC Champions League, Group F: FC Tokyo host debutants Perth Glory at the Tokyo Stadium
- Who will come out on top in this Group F fixture?
Group F of the AFC Champions League continues on Tuesday when FC Tokyo host A League champions Perth Glory at Tokyo Stadium.
The J-League 2019 runners up played their opening game away at Ulsan Hyundai last week in an entertaining encounter which ended 1-1.
Meanwhile, Perth Glory’s match with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua was postponed due to the Coronavirus epidemic.
Tokyo’s new 4-3-3 system has proved effective so far, providing them with the majority of clear-cut changes against Ulsan last week.
They are likely to remain unchanged, with the Brazilian trio of Diego Oliveira, Adailton and Kashima Antlers loanee, Leandro, making up the front three.
In stark contrast to the counter attacking system favored by manager Kenta Hasegawa last season, Tokyo now adopt a high press with the defensive line further up the pitch.
The front men routinely chase down opposing defenders, forcing distribution errors.
The central midfielders, likely to consist of veteran Yojiro Takahagi, Shuto Abe and Japan international Kenta Hashimoto, will regain possession in midfield and relaunch the attack.
The Gasmen also have viable options on the flanks, with speedy wingbacks Ryoya Ogawa and Sei Muroya pushing forward and delivering balls into the box when needed.
With players positioned high up the pitch, the defensive line will be naturally vulnerable to a counter attack.
Center backs Tsuyoshi Watanabe and veteran Masato Morishige must be prepared and ready to track back and nullify any danger when necessary.
Despite heading into the match as underdogs, Perth Glory boast a formidable attack of experienced and prospective players.
The AFC Champions League debutants are likely to line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with No. 9, Bruno Fornaroli, spearheading the attack.
Nicholas D’Agostino and Joel Chianese will play just behind the center forward, making up one of the most potent attacking partnerships the A-League has to offer.
Diego Castro, who has been on the sidelines with an injury, is rumored to be fit and ready to make an appearance on Tuesday. Should the Spanish veteran be available, he will likely take the place of Chianese.
If Tokyo are to identify a weak point in Perth’s set up it will undoubtedly be in their defensive line. The hosts may have too much quality in attack for Glory’s back three to handle.
That said, the reverse is also true for Tokyo given that the defence will be playing higher up the pitch than they have been used to in recent years.
The visitors may well look to exploit a jagged Tokyo defensive line and take their chances with a quick break. A counter attacking approach could be the order of the day for Perth.
This match has the makings of an entertaining fixture, with both sides holding stock in their attacking options.Published 17 Feb 2020, 04:09 IST