AFC Champions League Matchday 3 Preview

After a much needed nine day break, Brisbane Roar are back in action tonight as Matchday 3 of the 2017 AFC Champions League sees the Roar travel to Japan as they take on Kashima Antlers.

This game brings us to the halfway mark of the Group Stage and with just one point out of six so far, a repeat of the dramatic win away to Urawa Red Diamonds back in 2015 would be a massive boost in terms of getting out of the group.

The nine day break will have no doubt freshened the side up, however things are about to get busy once again with seven games coming up over the next 34 days as the A-League Regular Season concludes and the Champions League Group Stage reaches its final stages.

What have they done lately?
Kashima find themselves in 7th place on the J-League table after three matches, picking up two wins from three. At the weekend the Antlers had a 1-0 win at home against Yokohama F. Marions, although they had to wait until the 83rd minute to get their winner from Yuma Suzuki.

In the Champions League Kashima got off to a good start against with a matchday one win over Ulsan before a shock loss away from home to Muanthong United on matchday two. Currently Kashima sit second in Group E, level on points with Ulsan Hyundai however take the tie-breaker on head to head.

For more information on Kashima Antlers, you can read of getting to know you feature here.


Expected Line-ups
John Aloisi has all but flagged his starting XI for this game due to the injuries for Tommy Oar, Thomas Kristensen and Luke DeVere in addition to those who didn’t travel to Japan for this game. In addition to Devere and Oar, Michael Theo, Dane Ingham, Nathan Konstandopoulos and Joey Katebian were left at home.

The only possible selection drama is in the front third where Manuel Arana could get a start ahead of Brandon Borrello if he hasn’t fully recovered from his injury hasn’t fully cleared. Outside of that the side seems to pick itself, with Avram Papadopoulos likely to start alongside Jade North in defence.

Brisbane Roar- Young, Hingert, Papadopoulos, North, Brown, Caletti, McKay, Holman, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Bilic, Crestani, Rowles, Pepper, Arana, Brady, D’Agostino.

As always it’s very difficult to predict the line-ups for teams in the Champions League given the lack of familiarity, so this is the side which defeated Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 at the weekend.

Kashima Antlers- Sun-Tae, Ito, Ueda, Shoji, Yamamoto, Endo, Leo Silva, Ogasawara, Doi, Pedro, Kanazaki.
Substitutes- Suzuki, Nagaki, Nakamura, Bueno, Misao, Sogohata, Abe.

Group Preview
Elsewhere tonight in Group E the two winners on Matchday Two will meet in South Korea as third placed Ulsan Hyundai play host to group leaders Muanthong United. With just three points separating the four teams in Group E this Matchday’s fixtures –which bring us to the halfway mark in the round- could be pivotal.

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