Preview: Hiroshima vs. Yokohama FC - prediction, team news

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Preview: Hiroshima vs. Yokohama FC - prediction, team news

Sports Mole previews Sunday's J1 League clash between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Yokohama FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Sports Mole previews Sunday's J1 League clash between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Yokohama FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima will be looking to close in on the top three in the Japanese J1 League when they play host to relegation-threatened Yokohama FC at the Hiroshima Big Arch on Sunday.

The two teams are seeking to return to winning ways after being eliminated from the third round of the Emperor's Cup by lower-league opposition.

Match preview

Sanfrecce Hiroshima have extended their winless run in all competitions to six matches after suffering a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to second-tier side Tochigi in the third round of the Emperor's Cup on Wednesday.

After reaching the final of the tournament last year, second-half goals from Koki Oshima and Yuki Nishiya condemned Viola to an early exit this time around and their fifth defeat in six games.

Michael Skibbe's side now turn their attention back to the J1 League where they currently sit seventh in the table after 20 matches, nine points behind third-placed Nagoya who occupy the final AFC Champions League qualification spot.

Sanfrecce enter Sunday's fixture having failed to win each of their last three home games, but they have beaten Yokohama FC in their last two home meetings by an aggregate score of 8-1, including a 3-1 victory in the J. League Cup group stage in March.

However, Yokohama FC got their revenge in the reverse fixture in May as a first-half goal from Yuri Lara secured a narrow 1-0 victory – neither team successfully progressed out of Group C, though.

Since then, Shuhei Yomoda's side have won only two of their last nine games in all competitions, and they most recently suffered an embarrassing 1-0 loss to fourth-tier outfit Kochi United in the Emperor's Cup third round on Wednesday.

Yokohama FC have alternated between defeat and a draw in each of their last five J1 League matches and they find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th place, only one point above basement club Shonan Bellmare.

Picking up points away from home has proven challenging for Yokohama FC so far this season, as they have only accumulated five points from their first nine league fixtures on the road, the joint fewest in the division along with Kashiwa Reysol.

Yokohama FC last won a J1 League away game at Sanfrecce two years ago when midfielder Keijiro Ogawa scored his first and only goal to date for the club in a slender 1-0 victory.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima J1 League form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Yokohama FC J1 League form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Sanfrecce are still having to cope without attacking duo Pieros Sotiriou and Makoto Mitsuta who are recovering from respective muscle and ligament injuries, while Tsukasa Shiotani is doubtful and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.

After being rested against Tochigi, striker Douglas Vieira will be hoping to force his way back into the first XI alongside Brazilian compatriot Ezequiel, but he is set to face competition from Swiss forward Nassim Ben Khalifa for a starting spot in the final third.

As for Yokohama, captain Gabriel has been sidelined since February with an ACL injury and remains in the treatment room, while Caprini has missed the last three games with a hamstring problem and is not expected to recover in time for Sunday's game.

The visitors are set to line up with the same 3-4-2-1 formation as the hosts, with top scorer Koki Ogawa – who has six goals to his name this season – expected to operate in an attacking triumvirate with Ryoya Yamashita and Marcelo Ryan.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima possible starting lineup:
Osako; Nakano, Sasaki, Araki; Koshimichi, Higashi, Notsuda, Kashiwa; Morishima, Ezequiel; Vieira

Yokohama FC possible starting lineup:
Brodersen; Yoshino, Iwatake, Moraes; Yamane, Lara, Inoue, Hayashi; Ogawa, Yamashita, Ryan

SM words green background

We say: Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 Yokohama FC

Both teams will be desperate to end their poor runs of form and return to winning ways as they endeavour to climb the J1 League standings.

Yokohama FC can take confidence from their most recent victory over Sanfrecce, but we believe that the hosts have the firepower in attack to help them claim all three points.

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

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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