18 June 2019
Kashima Antlers and Sanfrecce Hiroshima go head-to-head at the Kashima Soccer Stadium for the first leg of their AFC Champions League last-16 tie.
The hosts have finished second in their respective group, behind Shandong Luneng – with a record of three wins, a draw, and two losses, and a +1 goal difference (S9, C8). Interestingly, all three of Kashima’s previous home games in the competition have been settled by a narrow one-goal margin, with both of their wins ending with the same 2-1 scoreline. Also, Go Oiwa’s men have endured mixed fortunes over the past few weeks (W1, D1, L1), with all of those matches featuring under 2.5 goals. However, Antlers have racked up a four-game winning streak ahead of this showdown, netting 2+ match goals in each while beating their rivals to nil on three occasions during the run.
On the other hand, the visitors have finished top of Group F, ahead of Guangzhou Evergrande. After a disappointing 2-0 away loss to the Chinese giants in the opening game, Sanfrecce have put together five straight wins, conceding just two goals while scoring nine in the process. Also, only two of Hiroshima’s six games in the group stage have produced over 2.5 goals and witnessed goals at both ends. Hiroshima’s recent struggling away from home could be a setback here, as they’ve sustained three defeats on the last five road trips (W2, L3), losing by a narrow one-goal margin each time. Interestingly, five of their previous nine away games have ended with the same 1-0 scoreline (W3, L2), while the remaining four all featured over 2.5 goals.
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