Kitchee, Cerezo Osaka (JPN) set for AFC Champions League 2021 Group J showdown

2021-07-08

Kitchee and Cerezo Osaka (JPN) are due to meet up on Friday afternoon in Buriram Stadium, Thailand, for a crunching, top-of-the-table battle, in the AFC Champions League 2021 Group J. The all-important fixture will kick-off at 18:00 (HK local time).

Entering the final match day of the AFC Champions League 2021 Group J, Kitchee finds itself occupying second place in the group with three wins, one draw, one loss and ten points from five matches. Despite dropping 1:2 to Cerezo Osaka earlier in the group stage, all Kitchee needs to do, to claim top spot in Group J, is to win against its Japanese counterparts by two goals or more on Friday afternoon. There is no reason for Kitchee to hold back in the final group match, thus the Shek Mun side is going to empty the tank and throw everything that it has against Cerezo Osaka in the epic battle.

As a matter of fact, Kitchee has been in rather fine recent form, despite going through a hectic AFC Champions League schedule – staying undefeated in three games on the trot. While legendary marksman Dejan Damjanovic saw his goal-scoring streak halted at four games in the previous fixture, the evergreen striker still boasts undeniable skills and class, making him the most obvious attacking threat in the Kitchee lineup.

At the back, the always reliable Helio Goncalves was forced to leave the previous game midway due to injury and remains questionable for the upcoming fixture. If Goncalves is forced to miss Friday’s game due to injury, a glaring void will need to be mended in the Kitchee backline.   

Cerezo Osaka currently tops the AFC Champions League 2021 Group J and leads second-place Kitchee by three points. The J.League side only needs to stay undefeated on Friday to claim first-place in Group J and to advance to the next round.

In fact, Cerezo Osaka has been in sensational form in the AFC Champions League 2021 Group Stage, staying undefeated through its five group fixtures so far. Tatsuhiro Sakamoto has performed exceptionally well for Cerezo Osaka in the tournament by scoring two goals and creating lots of danger down the flank. Brazilian defender Thiago Pagnussat has handed in consistently strong performances on both ends of the pitch with three goals and lots of important tackles. Pagnussat’s play on Friday afternoon will indeed be crucial to Cerezo Osaka’s winning chances.

Photo source: Kitchee