The prospect of a semi-final showdown with the legendary Argentinians is on offer to the winners of the quarter-final clash between TP Mazembe and Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
TP Mazembe-Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Osaka Nagai Stadium, Sunday 13 December, 19.30 (local time)
By comfortably dispatching Auckland City in the tournament’s opening match, Sanfrecce Hiroshima have set up a tie with CAF Champions League winners TP Mazembe. However, they will be without the services of Gakuto Notsuda, Kohei Shimizu and Kosei Shibasaki who were forced to withdraw through injury during the 2-0 win in Yokohama.
TP Mazembe, the first African team to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2010, arrived in Osaka on Tuesday and have enjoyed several training sessions on Japanese soil, though whether they are more refreshed than their opponents following their long journey from Congo DR remains to be seen.
23 – Sanfrecce Hiroshima are the youngest club remaining in this competition having been formed in 1992.
"They have quick players who like to attack and influence the game by playing positively. With the players we have out injured and with others mentally and physically drained from a hectic J.League season, it’s going to be extremely tough but we are hopeful that we can still progress to the semi-finals.”
Sanfrecce Hiroshima coach Hajime Moriyasu
“In the first match, we saw how Auckland’s lack of concentration cost them. Sanfrecce got an early lead and controlled the game from then on. We can’t make that mistake. They’re a good team, but a tired one with injuries. We’re going to have to take the game by the horns and cause them problems by attacking them.”
TP Mazembe coach Patrice Carteron