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Saitama: Kawasaki Frontale go into the second leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final with Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday eyeing a first-ever last four appearance after running out 3-1 winners in last month’s first leg.

Urawa Red Diamonds

Urawa start the second leg at Saitama Stadium in a similar position as they were in for the Round of 16 tie with Jeju United, when they reversed a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 on aggregate after extra-time. 

The 2007 winners’ recent form, though, has not been good, having won only once in their last five games in all competitions including a 2-1 home defeat in the J.League to Kashiwa Reysol at the weekend.

 

Despite being a distant second best in the first leg against Kawasaki, Yuki Muto’s away goal could prove crucial, although the striker is suspended for the return fixture after picking up a booking.

But Urawa are among the tournament’s top scorers and with Shinzo Koroki, Tadanari Lee and five-goal leading hitman Rafael Silva within their ranks, the Japanese side have the firepower to make it an uneasy night for their opponents.


Kawasaki Frontale

The 3-1 first-leg victory made it five wins on the bounce in the AFC Champions League for Kawasaki, who are one of only two teams – the other being Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal – who have yet to be beaten on the continent.

Captain Yu Kobayashi gave the hosts a first-half lead before Elsinho doubled the advantage shortly after the interval and, although Urawa pulled one back, Kobayashi’s late header ensured a two-goal cushion ahead of the second leg.

Unlike Urawa, Kawasaki have been in fine form of late and Saturday’s 3-0 win over Yokohama F. Marinos kept them second in the J.League standings.

Top scorer Kobayashi, who now has six goals, will again be key while Kengo Nakamura pulls the strings behind him and Eduardo Neto provides the steel that may well be needed in the centre of the park on Wednesday. 


Ones to watch: First leg stats


 

Suspensions: Yuki Muto (Urawa Red Diamonds)

Urawa Red Diamonds vs Kawasaki Frontale
Venue: Saitama Stadium, Saitama
Kick-off: September 13, 19:30 UTC+9

Photos: Lagardère Sports

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