2020 Japanese J1 League – Shonan Bellmare vs Urawa Red Diamonds Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is Shonan Bellmare vs Urawa Red Diamonds taking place? Friday 21st February, 2020 – 10:00 (UK)

Where is Shonan Bellmare vs Urawa Red Diamonds taking place? Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka

What television channel is Shonan Bellmare vs Urawa Red Diamonds on? FreeSports will televise some J1 League matches this season so it is worth checking their schedule

Where can I stream Shonan Bellmare vs Urawa Red Diamonds? 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 Shonan Bellmare vs Urawa Red Diamonds? Ticket information can be found on each club’s official website

THE TEAM NEWS

SHONAN BELLMARE

  • Shonan Bellmare come into this new J1 League campaign determined to do better than last season which saw them narrowly escape relegation as they scraped past a valiant Tokushima Vortis side to cement their position in the top flight for another season.
  • Head coach Bin Ukishima will have been heartened by their victory in the J-League Cup last week as they edged past Oita Trinita by a single goal and the fact they kept a clean sheet will give confidence to the manager as they look to improve on what was the second-worst defence in the league last season.
  • Midfield maestro Mitsuki Saito will be key to their hopes of an improved campaign while the club made a big investment in Norwegian international Tarik Elyounoussi who joined from AIK in January so they will look to him for goals.

URAWA RED DIAMONDS

  • Urawa Reds are coming off their worst season in several years as their 14th-placed finish was their lowest rank after having finished in the top seven places in the J1 League in each of the previous seven seasons.
  • There is genuine excitement around their 22-year-old new signing Leonardo from Albirex Niigata as the Brazilian striker has scored 28 goals in J2 League and 24 goals in the J3 League in the last two seasons, and he has already shown his impressive eye for goal in pre-season at this new club.
  • Goals were hard to come by for the Reds last year as they could only muster 34 in their 34 games so the 5-2 win in the cup last week against Vegalta Sendai – with Leonardo scoring twice on his competitive debut – will give the team confidence they can get the league campaign off to an equally good start.

THE PREDICTION

The opening match of the 2020 J1 League season sees Shonan Bellmare kick off their campaign against Urawa Reds. The visitors were hugely disappointing last season but their big cup win last weekend and some inspiring new signings has reignited the passion at the club and among their fans. The Reds significantly underperformed last season and they will be motivated to make a good start to put a marker down to demonstrate their credentials for a top six spot. They can overcome Shonan Bellmare who are likely to endure another difficult season, so expect an away victory in this opening clash.

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