Vissel realistic about 'unknown' campaign, says Vermaelen
Saitama: Thomas Vermaelen has insisted Vissel Kobe will kick off their first-ever AFC Champions League campaign on Wednesday with no expectations on how far they can advance despite the club’s status as one of the biggest spending teams in Japanese football.
Kobe face Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta’zim at Kobe Wing Stadium in the club’s first-ever appearance in the competition after Vissel won the Emperor’s Cup last year to qualify for the continental championship.
With former Barcelona stars such as Vermaelen and Andres Iniesta among their expensively assembled ranks, expectations on Kobe to make a significant impact on the tournament are high.
Yamaguchi strike steers Vissel Kobe to Japan Super Cup
Saitama: Hotaru Yamaguchi scored the decisive penalty as Vissel Kobe claimed the Super Cup for the first time in the club’s history with a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win over J.League champions Yokohama F Marinos at Saitama Stadium in Japanese football’s season opener on Saturday.
Yamaguchi’s successful spot-kick came after the game had ended in a 3-3 draw at the conclusion of 90 minutes and a string of missed penalties from both sides took the shoot-out deep into sudden death.
Kobe, who take on Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday, never trailed throughout the course of the game and add the Super Cup to the Emperor’s Cup title they won at the end of last season.
Vissel Kobe seal debut ACL appearance with Emperor's Cup win
Tokyo: Vissel Kobe were crowned Emperor's Cup champions for the first time on Wednesday, inaugurating the new National Stadium with a 2-0 victory over Kashima Antlers following a pair of fortunate goals.
The star-studded club took the lead off an own goal by Kashima defender Tomoya Inukai in the 18th minute, then doubled the advantage when the ball ricocheted into the net off striker Noriaki Fujimoto 20 minutes later.
Postecoglou confident Marinos will be ready for Jeonbuk
Saitama: Ange Postecoglou will lead J.League champions Yokohama F Marinos into their 2020 AFC Champions League campaign this week in Korea Republic hoping his team have rid themselves of their pre-season lethargy.
Marinos make their return to the continental championship for the first time since 2014 when they face two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Group H, which also features Sydney FC and Shanghai SIPG, on Wednesday.
They do so off the back of a penalty shootout loss in the Japan Super Cup on Saturday against fellow AFC Champions League participants Vissel Kobe after the pair shared a 3-3 draw at Saitama Stadium.
Bill relishing debutants Chiangrai United's #ACL2020 challenge
Chiang Rai: Chiangrai United striker Bill admitted he cannot wait to get started ahead of the Thai champions maiden AFC Champions League tie against Australia's Melbourne Victory on Tuesday.
It may have taken him until his 35th year, but veteran striker Bill had arguably the most successful season of his career in 2019 when he fired Chiangrai United past the usual heavyweights in Thailand to the club's first league championship.
Top scoring for the side with 14 goals, the Brazilian and his teammates edged defending champions Buriram United by virtue of a superior head-to-head record and with it earned a debut appearance in the AFC Champions League. The significance of which Bill is only too aware.
Kuala Lumpur: Seventy-eight days after Al Hilal SFC defeated Urawa Red Diamonds in Saitama to lift the 2019 AFC Champions League trophy, the latest edition of the competition gets underway with four clashes across Groups A and B on Monday.
The reigning champions are in action in Dubai, while one debutant will make their AFC Champions League group stage bow on the same day as things kick-off in full speed in the West Zone.