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J1 League Fuji Xerox Super Cup: Champions Yokohama F Marinos take on Emperors Cup winners Vissel Kobe

Modified 07 Feb 2020, 06:07 IST

Vissel Kobe v Kashima Antlers - 99th Emperor
Vissel Kobe v Kashima Antlers - 99th Emperor's Cup Final

The J1 League 2020 season kicks off on Saturday when champions Yokohama F Marinos play Emperors Cup winners Vissel Kobe in the Fuji Xerox Cup at Saitama Stadium.

The tournament goes by the default name of The Super Cup and can be likened to the Charity Shield in England of the Supercopa de Espana in Spain.

Yokohama will be looking to kick off their 2020 campaign with an additional piece of silverware, continuing the dominant run of form that ultimately won them the title last year.

Meanwhile a win for Kobe will go a long way in silencing some of the critics who are still not convinced of team’s ability to compete with the league’s finest.

The transfer window has been largely unspectacular in Japan with Marinos making some minor additions in attacking midfielder Kota Mizunuma from Ceresa Osaka and prolific forward Ado Onaiwu from Urawa Reds.

Kobe, owned by internet giants Rakuten, have secured the services of the 2015 J League Golden Boot winner, Douglas. However, former FIFA World Cup winners David Villa and Lucas Podolski have parted ways with the club over the break with the former hanging up his boots and the latter returning to the Turkish Super Lig.

Both sides are scheduled to play Match Day 1 of the AFC Champions League this coming week and are likely to rest key players.

Key Talking Points: Yokohama F Marinos

  • Head Coach Ange Postecoglou may be tempted to showcase new signing Onaiwu at center forward with 2019 MVP Teruhito Nakagawa and 2019 Top Goalscorer Marcos Junio completing the front three.
  • Marinos have won 5 and drawn 1 of the past 6 meetings between the two sides. Head to head record is firmly with the league champions this weekend.
  • Korean shot stopper Park Li-gyu is likely to be between the sticks but is rumored to be missing out on Yokohama’s ACL squad registration due to the 3+1 foreign player rule.

Key Talking Points: Vissel Kobe

  • Former Barcelona talisman, Andres Iniesta, may be rested for this match with Kobe’s midweek debut ACL match against Johor Darul Ta’zim in mind.
  • Since his arrival in June last year, Head Coach Thorsten Fink has won 16 of the 26 matches he has been in charge of. Vissels late run of firm has largely been attributed to the impact he has made.
  • A win would see the Kansai based side earn their second piece of silverware in the clubs history.
Published 07 Feb 2020, 06:07 IST
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