Oliveira: Nagasawa proved to be the difference
Saitama: Urawa Red Diamonds head coach Oswaldo Oliveira conceded the enforced early introduction of Kazuki Nagasawa for the injured Yosuke Kashiwagi was the key to his side picking up the 3-0 win against Beijing FC that secured the club’s place in the last 16 of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
Nagasawa came off the bench with only 13 minutes on the clock after Kashiwagi had picked up an early knock, and by the 34th minute he had scored the opener before laying the ball off for Yuki Muto to double Urawa’s lead seven minutes later.
That crucial intervention meant Urawa picked up a win that guaranteed their progress to the next round, where they will meet 2012 champions Ulsan Hyundai in the Round of 16.
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“Kashiwagi’s injury brought Nagasawa off the bench earlier than we had planned and he proved to be the difference for us,” said the Brazilian.
“He scored the first, assisted the second and was even involved in the third. It was a brilliant game for Nagasawa.”
Oliveira was delighted with his side’s overall performance against the run-away Chinese Super League leaders, while the result sealed second place behind Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Group G as Urawa progressed to the knockout rounds for the fifth time in the club’s history.
“It turned out to be a very difficult game as we expected,” he said. “We had to work hard to neutralise their strengths. We defended well throughout the match, executed our game plan.
“This game was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, against a quality side in Beijing. We had to work hard to score our goals. They are a team that have won 10 in a row in their domestic league and we have just beaten them 3-0.
“I thought our players were outstanding tonight. The game was absolutely crucial for us. Our fate in the AFC Champions League was going to be determined by it.”
Beijing FC coach Roger Schmidt admitted his side have lessons to learn if they are to challenge on the continental stage in the future.
“Urawa Reds were impressive at both ends of the pitch,” he said. “We were hoping to get out of the group so obviously we are disappointed by the result.
“We are, for the most part, a good team but we need to pay attention to details if we want to take the next step as a club.
“Urawa were more aggressive and daring here than they were in Beijing. They took their chances well and that allowed them to dictate the match. They took care of the little things and that won them the game.”
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