Shanghai SIPG vs Kawasaki Frontale
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 6 March 2019
Kick-off: 12:30 CET
Reigning Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG are about to start their fourth… adventure in the AFC Champions League. Last season, in their third appearance, they qualified for the last 16 (they beat Frontale in Kawasaki, and drew with them at home), but there, Kashima Antlers surprised them. Defeat, 3-1, in Japan, two-goal deficit, which they couldn’t cover in the return leg at home. They did win, but “only” 2-1. The new CSL season just started, they faced city rivals Shanghai Shenhua, and they looked… scary, winning 0-4(!). A week earlier they had won the Super Cup, beating Beijing Guoan 2-0. Portuguese Vitor Pereira has been their coach since December 2017. Hulk, Oscar, Elkeson, their Brazilians need no introduction.
Japanese clubs have looked… timid the last 10 years, not signing big names from abroad, with the recent exception of Vissel Kobe (Lukas Podolski, Andrés Iniesta, David Villa). Kawasaki Frontale decided to invest money in signing Brazilian striker Leandro Damião, a guy who, based on his talent and abilities, could and should have had a much bigger career. Truth is, he has been quite unlucky, getting injured several times. Last year he was fantastic at Internacional, helping them win a Copa Libertadores group stage ticket, but spent a good part of the season sidelined, or playing with pain. He scored for Frontale two weeks ago, in the Super Cup match against Urawa Red Diamonds, the only goal of the game. They are the reigning J1 League champions, and this is their 7th appearance in the AFC Champions League. Last season they disappointed, finishing the group stage without a single victory (three draws, three losses).
Previous five matches:
Shanghai Shenhua vs Shanghai SIPG 0-4
Shanghai SIPG vs Beijing Guoan 2-0
Shanghai SIPG vs Dinamo Brest 1-1
Midtjylland vs Shanghai SIPG 2-2
Tianjin Tianhai vs Shanghai SIPG 3-2
Kawasaki Frontale vs Kashima Antlers 1-1
Kawasaki Frontale vs Tokyo 0-0
Kawasaki Frontale vs Urawa Reds 1-0
Kawasaki Frontale vs Tokyo Verdy 5-0
Kawasaki Frontale vs Mito Hollyhock 4-5
Shanghai SIPG’s next game is on Saturday, again at home, versus Jiangsu Suning (Chinese Super League). Frontale are visiting Yokohama F. Marinos on Sunday (J1 League).
Shanghai SIPG vs Kawasaki Frontale: Head to head Stats
Shanghai SIPG hosted Kawasaki Frontale – first time ever – last season, in the AFC CL group stage. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Shanghai SIPG vs Kawasaki Frontale: Prediction
I like the hosts’ chances of starting their group campaign earning their first three points.
Shanghai SIPG vs Kawasaki Frontale: Betting Tips
SIPG’s win pays 1.90. Combined with “over 2.5 goals” that goes up to 2.88.