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J1 League Match Preview: 2019 Runners-up FC Tokyo start 2020 campaign away at Shimizu S-Pulse

FC Tokyo will take on Shimizu S Pulse on Sunday
FC Tokyo will take on Shimizu S Pulse on Sunday
Modified 22 Feb 2020, 11:26 IST

After a valiant challenge for the J League title last season, FC Tokyo will start the 2020 season with an opening game away at Shimizu S-Pulse on Sunday.

The club from the capital lead the pack for the majority of last season before finally letting their form slip and being overtaken by eventual winners Yokohama F Marinos.

Manager Kenta Hasegawa has opted to reshuffle the pack and is set to implement a new, high pressure, 4-3-3 formation for the season ahead.

This match will be the debut game for new S-Pulse manager, Peter Cklamovski. The Australian was head coach and second-in-command to Ange Postecoglu at Marinos last season.

Cklamovski is expected to apply an ultra-attacking and open style of play, similar to that which enabled Marinos to achieve massive success last season.

Hasegawa is likely to receive a warm reception from the home fans. As a player, he made 207 appearances and scored 45 goals for the Shizuoka-based club. He later went on to manage them from 2005 to 2010 with mixed success.

Also Read: Kawasaki Frontale begin 2020 season at home to minnows Sagan Tosu

Key Talking Points: Shimizu S-Pulse

  • S-Pulse raised eyebrows with a surprise last-minute signing. The arrival of Brazilian forward Carlinhos adds much-needed potency to their attack.
  • Last season saw Shimizu drawn into the relegation dog fight, but they narrowly avoided the relegation play-off.
  • Their season has not kicked off in a promising manner, as they were convincingly beaten 5-1 by Kawasaki Frontale in the Levain Cup last weekend.

Key Talking Points: FC Tokyo

  • Tokyo have reinforced their attacking options with new arrivals Adailton from relegated side Jubilo Iwata and former ACL winner Leandro on loan from Kashima Antlers.
  • Captain Keigo Higashi and speedy forward Kensuke Nagai are ruled out with injury for the foreseeable future.
  • Tokyo boast the better head-to-head record between the two sides, winning 3 of the last 4 meetings.

Also Read: Kawasaki Frontale begin 2020 season at home to minnows Sagan Tosu

Published 22 Feb 2020, 11:26 IST
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