After an underwhelming start of the season, Cerezo Osaka awaits Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Yanmar Stadium Nagai for the 3rd round of J-League in hopes to add the 2nd win of the season to their record.
Cerezo Osaka have not been playing as well as we had expected they would. After a win in the opening match of the season against Kobe (1:0), Cerezo Osaka failed to win against Nagoya (2:0), where they were seemingly powerless in the attacking end of the field. With only 2 shots on goal in 90 minutes, Cerezo Osaka have clearly shown they struggle in the offensive end. That is something they need to fix soon if they wish to finish high this season. Even in the match against Kobe, Cerezo Osaka were not as potent as they would like. While they managed to win the match, they only produced 4 shots on goal, which was disappointing, to say the least. As for their YBC Levain Cup campaign, Cerezo Osaka were defeated by Oita (2:1), due to 2 goals they conceded in the final 3 minutes of the match. Despite bad luck playing a part in their defeat, their poor performance in the attack once again proved to be a key factor that prevented them to win.
The visitors, Sanfrecce Hiroshima are coming into this match after their two league matches ending in a draw. They ended their season-opening match against Shimizu with a final score of 1:1, while there were no goals in the second match against Iwata (0:0). Furthermore, they failed to produce any goals in the AFC Champions League against Guangzhou Evergrande, when they lost 2:0. Much like their opponents, Cerezo Osaka, Sanfrecce Hiroshima fails to produce goals, scoring only 1 goal in 3 competitive matches. I might add that the only goal they scored was a great one, but at the end of the day, it was only one.
Cerezo Osaka will come into their next fixture with the full squad available, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima won’t be able to count on Hayashi and Ingasaki.
Cerezo Osaka still wait for Kakitani and Tokura to show their potential and start producing goals, which is their biggest concern ahead of the remaining matches of the season. While they struggle in the offensive end, the same can be said for their opponents, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who just like Cerezo Osaka failed to prove themselves as a strong attacking team. When two teams that struggle to score a goal or even create many opportunities to do so head against each other, it’s hard to expect to see a lot of goals. Furthermore, 4 out of the last 5 H2H matches between Cerezo Osaka and Sanfrecce Hiroshima ended with 2 goals or less. Taking all into consideration, I would be surprised if either of the team suddenly improves and starts producing goals. While both teams possess players that have got potential to do so, I was not too convinced by their recent performances, which is why I believe we will be looking at a match with no more than 2 goals being scored.
Prediction: Osaka +0.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.80 Asianodds