12 February 2020
Vissel Kobe and Johor Darul Ta’zim will face off in the AFC Champions League Group G opener at the Noevir Stadium during midweek.
The hosts are enjoying a purple patch, having won six consecutive matches in all competitions, although their last success came after a penalty shoot-out. What’s more, Vissel have picked up eight triumphs in their previous nine home fixtures (L1), winning the last six. Notably, they’ve scored over 1.5 goals all but two of those six wins, shutting out their opponents on four of those occasions, too. A constant first-half threat, Thorsten Fink’s players have found the net before the halftime break in four of their last five competitive home matches, scoring two or more in the past two such outings. Moreover, they’ve conceded only one first-half goal during the same six-game sequence, shipping a total of two.
On the other hand, the Malaysian visitors boast an impressive eight-game winning streak in all competitions, beating their opponents by a margin of three or more goals in half of those wins (four). In turn, Luciano Figueroa’s men have won eight of their past ten road trips (D2), including the last five, scoring over 1.5 goals in all but one of those fixtures. Particularly dangerous in the first half, the Southern Tigers have netted 15 of their previous 22 competitive goals before the break (68.18%). Equally impressive at the back, Johor have kept a clean sheet in four of their last eight outings, restricting their rivals to a maximum of one goal per match in three of the other four. Therefore, it’s not strange that they’ve opened the scoring in six of their previous eight matches.
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