Preview: Cerezo Osaka vs. Urawa Red Diamonds – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s J1 League clash between Cerezo Osaka and Urawa Red Diamonds, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Cerezo Osaka will be looking to record back-to-back wins when they host Urawa Red Diamonds at Yodoko Sakura Stadium on Sunday evening in the J League.

The hosts will move closer to their visitors on the weekend with a maximum, while Urawa are looking to chance down the AFC Champions League places in the table.

Match preview

Urawa Red Diamonds' Shinzo Koroki celebrates scoring against Al-Hilal on April 29, 2023© Reuters

Cerezo booked their place in the fourth round of the Japanese cup on Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory over Omiya Ardija at their Osaka home under the floodlights.

The hosts had to wait until the second period to break the deadlock, however a brace from Satoki Uejo and a Leo strike completed a convincing win for Osaka.

Akio Kogiku‘s men have struggled recently in the J League, suffering back-to-back league defeats for the first time since late February.

A 2-1 loss at Sagan Tosu last week allowed the division’s chasing pack to draw closer to Cerezo, with the Osaka-based club now sitting in fifth, just five points ahead of 10th.

Since their promotion from the Japanese second tier in 2016, Cerezo have finished in the top half of the J League in all but one term, and even if 2021 the club remained well clear of any relegation fight.

Urawa head into Saturday’s clash as one of the in-form outfits in Japan, currently enjoying a 14-game unbeaten streak which stretches across three competitions.

Midweek saw the Red Diamonds squeeze past second-tier Montedio Yamagata in the third round of the cup, with Atsuki Ito netting the contest’s only goal in the 64th-minute.

Maciej Skorza‘s men also have remarkable long-term form, having only lost once since the beginning of March – a spell which included a historic AFC Champions League final win over Saudi Pro League giants Al-Hilal.

The three-time Asian champions are in the process of chasing down the top three in the J League, with Urawa sitting in fourth, currently six points behind league leaders Yokohama F Marinos.

Cerezo Osaka J1 League form:

Urawa Red Diamonds J1 League form:

Team News

Al-Hilal's Odion Ighalo in action with Urawa Red Diamonds' Alexander Scholz and Marius Hoibraaten on April 29, 2023© Reuters

Cerezo are expected to make a few changes to the side which lost at Sagan Tosu in their last league match, meaning the likes of Mutsuki Kato and Belgian Jordy Croux could be dropped to the bench.

Wednesday evening’s goalscorer Uejo and midfielder Hikaru Nakahara are the most likely candidates to be introduced into the hosts’ lineup as they search to find their form in the J League once again.

Urawa have no such problems with momentum or form currently, however Skorza could look to freshen up his attack after they drew a blank against FC Tokyo last time out, with Jose Kante possibly set to earn a start.

Veteran Shinzo Koroki could be the forward player to make way on Saturday – the 36-year-old is the club’s all-time record goalscorer having netted over 150 times for the Red Diamonds.

Cerezo Osaka possible starting lineup:
Yang; Maikuma, Shindo, Toriumi, Funaki; Croux, Kida, Kagawa, Capixaba; Leo, Kato

Urawa Red Diamonds possible starting lineup:
Nishikawa; Ogiwara, Schloz, Hobraten, Ohata; Ito, Iwao, Okubo, Yasui, Sekine; Koroki

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We say: Cerezo Osaka 1-3 Urawa Red Diamonds

Cerezo recorded a decent victory in the cup on Wednesday, however the visit of Urawa to Yodoko Sakura Stadium will be a much harder assignment for the hosts.

The Red Diamonds look set to continue their assault on the J League’s top three, and we believe they will make it 15 games unbeaten in all competitions on Sunday evening.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

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