The Central Coast Mariners will host Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Matchday Two of the Asian Champions League tomorrow night, and for those of us (like me) who aren't too sure who they are, or what to expect, here is some fast facts about our Japanese opponents.
Formerly the Mazda Soccer Club, Sanfrecce are based in Hiroshima, a large city in south Japan. The club has a rich history within the Japanese top flight, J-League 1, and are the current reigning champions of the league after defending their title from two season ago (meaning they are currently back-to-back champions).
They are managed by Hajime Moriyasu, a man who served the club as a player for 14 years between 1987 and 2001. He has been at the helm since 2012, and has been behind both of Sanfrecce's two titles.
Captain of the club Hisato Sato, a lethal striker, has played 282 games for Hiroshima since linking up with them in 2005. In that time he has converted 146 times for the purple and white, averaging over a goal every two games.
The player to watch for mine will be Japanese international midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama, a midfielder who will be wearing the number 6 jersey tomorrow night. Though a defensive midfielder by trade, he has proved his eye for goal can be speculative yet also accurate, as shown by the clip below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLNZ7ToAnJo *credit to @SmellTheWorld and YouTube.
Leave your thought below as to how you think our Mariners will go at home to the might of Sanfrecce Hirsohima, and tell us where you think the game will be won and lost on the park.
ACL Matchday Two: Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Tuesday 11 March 2014
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford