2020 Japanese J1 League – Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Kashima Antlers Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Kashima Antlers taking place? Sunday 23rd February, 2020 – 05:00 (UK)

Where is Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Kashima Antlers taking place? EDION Stadium

What television channel is Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Kashima Antlers on? FreeSports will televise some J1 League matches this season so it is worth checking their schedule

Where can I stream Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Kashima Antlers? If the match is televised on FreeSports, Premier Sport subscribers will be able to stream the match live via Premier Player. Alternatively, Bet365 customers can stream the match live on their website

Where can I get tickets for Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Kashima Antlers? Ticket information can be found on each club’s official website

THE TEAM NEWS

SANFRECCE HIROSHIMA

  • Sanfrecce Hiroshima finished the J1 League in sixth place last season and that is something they will be desperate to improve upon as they will look to close the gap on the top teams and improve on the 45 goals they scored in their 34 matches in 2019.
  • They eased to victory in the cup last weekend as they beat newly-promoted Yokohama 2-0 with their Brazilian forwards Douglas Vieira and Leandro Pereira scoring the goals and that duo will be key to their hopes once again this term.
  • Recent signing Ezequiel was their major investment in pre-season joining from Botafogo, but he did not feature last week in the cup and his availability for this match is unknown so they may go with the same set of players from last weekend.

KASHIMA ANTLERS

  • Kashima Antlers were in the title race right until the final few weeks in 2019 when they took just four points from their final four matches to lose ground on eventual champions Yokohama F. Marinos so they will be fired up to make a title push once again this time around.
  • Having finished in the top three in the last four J1 League seasons, including their triumphant 2016 campaign, Kashima Antlers will be keen for another big season although they got 2020 off to a poor start losing the Emperor’s Cup final to Vissel Kobe on 1st January to Melbourne Victory in an AFC Champions League play-off, and then again in the J-League Cup last weekend to Nagoya Grampus.
  • The club have invested heavily in bringing Brazilian creator Juan Alano and forward Everaldo to Kashima and they will expect plenty of goals from the duo but it may well take them time to settle and adapt to new surroundings and team-mates.

THE PREDICTION

This is one of the ties of the opening round of J1 League matches as both Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Kashima Antlers are capable of competing in the top six. Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s pre-season has been relatively settled unlike that of the Kashima Antlers. The visitors have had various competitive matches to contend with and have struggled in them so far after so much expectancy following a good campaign last term. They have made plenty of changes to their squad including their new Brazilian signings but they are yet to gel, so that has to work in the favour of the settled hosts in this opening game.

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