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Football of the Rising Sun: J-League Promises Exciting Asian Football Matches!

Football of the Rising Sun: J-League Promises Exciting Asian Football Matches!

With all of the frantic football action happening in Europe, it’s easy to forget that there is a growing football scene in Asia as well. However, players like Shinji Kagawa, Son Heung-min and Yuto Nagatomo are testaments to the level of football being played in the East.

If you’re interested in how Asian football works, then the J-League is one of the best places to start watching football. Many of the popular Japanese players that are plying their trade in Europe got their start in this league, and it’s here where you can find the next Shinji Kagawa or Maya Yoshida.

Moreover, there are some big names that have decided to come to the Japanese top flight. Their presence alone has made the price of entry for these games worth spending on. It is always interesting to see how these big names can play against the Japanese and feel the effect their names have on the Asian game.

The SBOBET football team will be looking at some of these games that will surely pique your attention and punts. You’ll never know: maybe one of these games may become the gateway to your total fascination with the Japanese game.

Vissel Kobe vs Shimizu S-Pulse (March 17, 13:00 GMT+8)

If you’re a fan of the European game and have no clue on which club you should support, I suggest taking a look at Vissel Kobe. The second half of their 2018 season saw Barcelona and Spanish legend Andres Iniesta don Kobe’s kit and finish the year with them.

They made a lot of J-League 2019 news as well when another notable Barcelona alum, David Villa, joined Iniesta and former Arsenal hitman Lukas Podolski on a free transfer. The 37-year-old showcased his stuff to the Japanese crowd as they took down Torres’ Tosu earlier this month.

Villa may find it difficult to adjust to Japan’s very controlled and calculated culture, but Iniesta will be more than happy to help his team-mate get used to things as he went through the growing pains alone. Moreover, they will bring delight to fans who hope to see some Barcelona magic translate at the NOEVIR Stadium Kobe.

Kobe started the season well as they are now fifth in the league table. Juan Manuel Lillo should know better than underestimate Shimizu, though: the visitors finished two spots above them last season, and Koya Kitagawa is a dangerous striker that they have to watch out for.

Kawasaki Frontale vs Gamba Osaka (March 17, 14:00 GMT+8)

Kawasaki Frontale are the league’s defending champions, and they are coming off two fantastic campaigns in 2016 and 2017. It wouldn’t be weird to expect some great performances from the defending champions as they tried to complete a three-peat — a feat only done by Toyo Industries during Japan’s early years of professional football.

However, they started the season quite slowly as they started the season with three consecutive draws. While it is still early in the season, fifteenth place is the last place you would expect a defending champion to be positioned. Their bitter loss to Shanghai SIPG at the AFC Champions League only adds to the pressure.

The most noticeable difference from Kawasaki’s run of form is Yu Kobayashi’s lack of production up front. The Japan international was vital in Kawasaki’s back-to-back championship runs, and his lack of production on the offensive end has a direct correlation to the team’s struggles. He must find his scoring form against Gamba Osaka if they want to get their title defence on track.

Sagan Tosu vs Jubilo Iwata (March 17, 12:00 GMT+8)

Sagan Tosu have firmly established themselves as fixtures in the Japanese top-flight ever since making it to J1 League in 2011. While they haven’t won anything significant since their inception in 1997, they have steadily built their team and fanbase. Their acquisition in 2018 can be considered as the club’s declaration to win more.

Fernando Torres may have had a worse time at Chelsea than Kepa Arrizabalaga, but that still doesn’t discount the fact that he once stood at the top of the footballing world. The 2019 World Cup winner has scored three goals in 19 league appearances, and more will be expected out of the Spaniard as he tries to help the relegation-threatened Tosu against Iwata.

However, it would be fair to say that the J-League 2019 odds are stacked against Torres and his team. While Iwata are yet to win a league game this season, they have more than showed their mettle by snagging draws against Hiroshima and Matsumoto. If they aren’t solid at the back, they could well see themselves lose another game.






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Christian Alamodin
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